This session will present the U.S. Army’s history of employing expeditionary additive manufacturing (AM) at the point of need including proven benefits, current state, and recent advancements.
Attendees will learn about what the U.S. Army has done thus far regarding deploying AM to be soldier-operated at the point of need and what we have learned from these experiences. Impacts on Army readiness backed by logistics data will be discussed. Additionally, the current state and recent advancements will be presented to inform attendees about the direction the Army is going to continue pushing expeditionary AM capabilities at the point of need. Areas of focus will be on the challenges faced by placing equipment in austere printing environments. How the Army has addressed these challenges thus far, and what they are doing to "future proof" their expeditionary manufacturing kits for the coming years. Some of the challenges include staffing issues, making sure units are trained on the equipment and the software, identifying equipment that can withstand the robust environmental requirements and how to avoid recreating part data when network reachback is limited or not an option.
- Discuss the history of the U.S. Army's expeditionary manufacturing program known as R-FAB
- Identify the unique challenges the U.S. Army faces deploying advanced manufacturing equipment to austere environments.
- List the steps the steps that the U.S. Army has taken to mitigate the risks associated with the challenges.