Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding division recently received approval as a vendor to provide some additive manufacturing components to Naval Sea Systems (NAVSEA) platforms.
The certification enables NNS to use additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, to fabricate pipefittings or other potential components for use on aircraft carriers, submarines and other NAVSEA platforms.
In 2018, NAVSEA approved the technical standards for 3D printing after extensive collaboration with HII and industry partners that involved the rigorous printing of test parts and materials, extensive development of an engineered test program and publishing of the results.
The first 3D-printed metal part, a piping assembly, was delivered to the U.S. Navy for installation on the NNS-built USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) in January 2019. Since then, NNS has received approval for several other metal 3D printed parts on U.S. Navy ships of varying criticality.
This most recent certification is for stainless steel (316/316L grade) additively manufactured pipefittings. NNS is also pursuing approvals that will enable broader use and implementation of additive manufacturing across the naval enterprise. The highly digitized process could lead to cost savings and reduced production schedules for naval ships.
NNS is the only builder and refueler of nuclear-powered U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and one of just two shipyards building nuclear-powered submarines for the Navy.