A 3D-printed titanium cable guard has been transitioned to production by General Dynamics Land Systems and will be printed at GE Additive’s production facility in Pittsburgh. It will be the first 3D-printed metal production part installed on a U.S. ground combat vehicle.
Cincinnati, OH – GE Additive announced today that it has been awarded a contract by General Dynamics Land Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics. GE Additive Print Services will support General Dynamics with part qualification, production, post processing and inspection of additively manufactured components. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
General Dynamics Land Systems is developing applications for additive manufacturing on its combat vehicle platforms and is looking to GE Additive to help accelerate incorporation of this promising technology. General Dynamics and GE Additive are working together to identify applications in which additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, can provide value through weight reduction, performance optimization and lead time reduction.
General Dynamics recently worked with GE Additive to transition a titanium cable guard to production. This one-piece titanium component was designed by General Dynamics to replace an 18-piece welded steel component, yielding an 85% weight savings compared with the existing part. The cable guard will be the first additively manufactured metal production part on a U.S. ground combat vehicle, paving the way for similar applications to follow.
Teams from General Dynamics and GE Additive are focused on detailed process development activities to ensure a seamless transition from prototype to production. This involves creating a standardized build plate orientation, as well as support structures and quality control plans to deliver an efficient and repeatable production process.
The cable guards will be additively manufactured for production on GE Additive's Arcam EBM Q20plus machines, which are well-suited to titanium alloys because the process takes place in vacuum at elevated temperatures, eliminating residual stress and providing superior material properties.
Path to Industrialization
“General Dynamics is always looking for innovative technologies to enhance our products, and additive manufacturing holds real promise in the near term. We’ll continue teaming with leading suppliers such as GE Additive as we uncover additional applications for this exciting technology,” said Jason Deters, a specialist in Process & Technology Development at General Dynamics.
“The GE Additive team has been a great partner during this transition, and we’ve benefited from their expertise on the specific design and qualification requirements for additive-manufactured production components,” added Bill Vanslembrouck, a specialist in Advanced Products & Technology at General Dynamics.
“We’re honored to be working with General Dynamics at this important inflection point in its additive strategy. My team excels at getting organizations from prototype to production as efficiently as possible,” said Chris Schuppe, general manager at GE Additive, AddWorks.
“To do that, we add value by keeping the business case front of mind, building on our additive production experience and offering our customers multiple technology modalities,” he added.