DVIDS – News – USS Essex First Ship to Participate in Naval Postgraduate School 3D Printer Research


PEARL HARBOR (July 8, 2022) – The Navy Postgraduate School (NPS) has partnered with Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMNAVSURFPAC) to facilitate the installation of a 3D printer on the amphibious assault ship Wasp-class USS Essex (LHD 2) during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022. Essex is the first ship to participate in initial 3D printer testing and evaluation under underway conditions to determine viability printer at sea.

As a proponent of improving the overall readiness of any combat organization, Lt. Cmdr. Nicolas Batista, Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department (AIMD) Officer on board Essex, said: “Having this printer on board will essentially speed up, improve and increase our combat readiness.

Batista said this 3D printer is one of the fastest printers on the market, capable of fabricating and printing aluminum up to 10″ by 10″. Many common components can be created on the ship to include heatsinks, cases, fuel adapters, air purge valves, valve covers and more.

“The capabilities of the 3D printer will enable Essex to become more self-sufficient,” Batista said. He said innovative operational concepts such as this 3D printing capability will be great additions in the future for every ship.

The next step in evaluating the printer will be to provide training to sailors who will be using the equipment. As someone who enjoys hands-on learning, Roxanne Barrera Aviation Structural Mechanic 3rd Class expressed her excitement to be one of the first Sailors to receive this training.

“I was honored when my chain of command asked me to be the first sailor aboard the USS Essex to undergo training for this 3D printer. I just want to learn how to operate it and share [the knowledge] with other people.”

While Essex had the ability to make small items needed on the ship, Jonah Waage, Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class, said: ‘We have never been able to do anything with the precision and complexity that this new 3D printer will provide, which is important as it will help save our Navy time and money in the long run.

Batista said Commander Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMNAVAIRPAC) and Commander Naval Air Systems Command (COMNAVAIRSYSCOM) have also initiated efforts to establish an AIMD Work Center, uniquely designed for the AM concept, and strive to achieve the necessary aircraft parts manufacturing capacity with a 3D printer.

“Additive Manufacturing (AM) has become a priority and it is evident that AM will provide a better position in combat efforts across the fleet and improve expeditionary maintenance which contributes to our surface competitive advantage.”

During testing and evaluation at sea, a team aboard Essex will create various on-board aluminum features with the 3D printer and provide feedback to NPS and COMNAVSURFPAC on the results.

Essex is ported to Pearl Harbor and participating in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022.

For more information on the USS Essex, follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/USSESSEX, or visit https://www.surfpac.navy.mil/lhd2

Date taken: 07.10.2022
Date posted: 07.10.2022 22:39
Story ID: 424703

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