Xerox and the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), a public graduate school operated by the United States Navy, today, announced a strategic collaboration to focus on advancing 3D printing research which has the potential to drastically transform the way the military supplies its forward-deployed forces.
As part of a Collaborative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA), NPS was the first to receive an installation of the Xerox ElemX 3D printer – a Liquid Metal Printer, on the university campus in December. The Xerox solution will provide NPS faculty and students with hands-on exploration of new ways the technology can deliver on-demand 3D printing of metal parts and equipment.
According to Xerox Chief Technology Officer Naresh Shanker, “The military supply chain is among the most complex in the world, and NPS understands first-hand the challenges manufacturers must address. This collaboration will aid NPS in pushing adoption of 3D printing throughout the U.S. Navy, and will provide Xerox valuable information to help deliver supply chain flexibility and resiliency to future customers.”
With access to the latest additive manufacturing equipment, NPS faculty and students will use the ElemX 3D printer to conduct thesis research to develop new capabilities for the Navy and Marine Corps.
Xerox ElemX 3D Printer
Above: Introduction of Xerox ElemX™ Liquid Metal Printer/Video Source: Xerox/YouTube
The Xerox ElemX 3D printer uses cost-effective aluminum wire to fabricate end-use parts that can withstand the rigors of operational demands. This ability to produce reliable replacement parts on-demand reduces the dependency on complex global supply chains for deployed forces and also addresses the hidden costs of traditional manufacturing.
Speaking on the 3D printing research collaboration with Xerox, NPS President Retired Vice Adm. Ann Rondeau said, “As the Department of the Navy’s applied research university, NPS combines student operational experience with education and research to deliver innovative capabilities and develop innovative leaders with the knowhow to use them. This collaborative 3D printing research effort with Xerox and the use of their 3D printing innovations is a great example of how NPS uniquely prepares our military students to examine novel approaches to create, make, prototype and manufacture capability wherever they are.”
She added, “From the age of sail to the nuclear era, sailors have been fixing things at sea so they can complete the mission. This partnership is about the strategic ability of the Navy to have sailors on ships with the capability through creativity and technology to advance their operations at sea. Through collaboration, NPS and Xerox are helping build a Navy for the 21st Century.”
“The NPS Alumni Association and Foundation supported bringing the ElemX 3D printer to NPS because it will enable soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines to solve their problems where they are, when problems occur,” noted retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. Todd Lyons, vice president of the NPS Alumni Association and Foundation. “By providing the right digital tools and the liquid metal printer, all of a sudden we’ve helped transform not just the supply chain, but how the Department of Defense (DoD) thinks operationally about supplying war.”
“This is one way to bend the cost curve so that the DoD is not spending a thousand dollars for every dollar that a peer competitor spends,” he added.
Tali Rosman, vice president and general manager, 3D Printing, Xerox concluded by saying, “Global supply chains leave industries like aerospace, automotive, heavy equipment, and oil and gas vulnerable to external risks. Our goal is to integrate localized 3D printing into their operations, and the real-time feedback from NPS gives us actionable data to continuously improve the ElemX 3D printer.”
The Collaborative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) does not imply endorsement of Xerox or its products by the Naval Postgraduate School, the Department of the Navy, or the Department of Defense.
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