Sailors 3D-Print Critical Component at Sea Using Johns Hopkins APL-Installed Hybrid Manufacturing System

Sailors on board the USS Bataan (LHD 5) recently used the first hybrid manufacturing system permanently installed aboard a naval surface ship to fabricate a component and deliver critical repairs while at sea. The part, a stainless steel sprayer plate used to repair one of the ship’s de-ballasting air compressors, was made and installed in less than five days with support from Naval Sea Systems Command’s Technology Office (NAVSEA 05T) and Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) engineers — turning the Navy’s Afloat Additive Manufacturing concept into reality.

“[The sprayer plate] is designed to disperse lubricating and cooling oil on the helical gears, as well as the bearings behind the helical gears, and it was all fully manufactured on the ship,” said Machinery Repairman 1st Class Cory Hover. With the air compressors repaired, the ship’s ballasting system, which provides much needed stability, was operational once again, and the Bataan avoided a costly and inopportune return to port for repairs.

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