Xerox 3D printer installed on a Navy ship
The ElemX was placed on the ship earlier this month in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and sea trials begin immediately. The installation is the latest step in the US Navy’s strategy to use additive manufacturing (AM) to increase fleet operational readiness. It also builds on the U.S. Navy’s relationship with Xerox Elem Additive that began with the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, which received the very first installation of the ElemX in 2020.
“The military supply chain is one of the most complex in the world and putting the ElemX on USS Essex means sailors can now circumvent this complexity and print parts when and where they need them,” said Tali Rosman, Managing Director of Elem Additive. “We are proud to continue our partnership with the Navy to help them advance their additive manufacturing capabilities and implement their long-term vision.”
The ElemX takes advantage of Xerox’s liquid metal AM technology which uses standard aluminum wire. Unlike other metal 3D printing technologies, there are no hazardous metal powders with ElemX and no need for special facility modifications or personal protective equipment to operate the machine. The printer also requires minimal post-processing and therefore offers a faster turnaround time. This ability to produce reliable spare parts on demand reduces reliance on complex global supply chains for deployed forces.
To withstand the varying sea states and environmental challenges faced by US warships, the ElemX was installed in an industrial shipping container to make it more robust. Currently at sea aboard USS Essex, trials have already begun to establish operational guidelines and technical feasibility studies to determine applications and use cases. A team aboard USS Essex will design and print shipboard items and provide feedback to the NPS and Commander Naval Surface Force Pacific (COMNAVSURPAC).
The ElemX 3D printer was released in February 2021, and since then Elem Additive Solutions has expanded its operations, including opening an Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence in Cary, North Carolina. The ElemX is a safer and simpler metal 3D printer that addresses supply chain resilience for transportation, aerospace, defense, and industrial manufacturing. Designed to simplify the supply chain process, ElemX is the ideal option for spare parts, repairs and low volume production parts.
This release does not imply endorsement of Xerox or its products by the Naval Postgraduate School, Department of the Navy, or Department of Defense.