Jan. 30 (UPI) -- For the first time, Huntington Ingalls Industries has delivered a 3-D-printed metal part to the U.S. Navy for installation on an aircraft carrier --- a piping assembly for the USS Harry S. Truman.
The company's Newport News Shipbuilding division in Virginia is now integrating additive manufacturing into the design and fabrication of components for nuclear-powered warships, the company announced after the delivery.
The part was presented to Rear Adm. Lorin Selby, Naval Sea Systems Command's chief engineer and deputy commander for ship design, integration and naval engineering, aboard the Truman at Naval Station Norfolk on Tuesday.
"We are pleased to have worked so closely with our Navy partners to get to the point where the first 3D metal part will be installed on an aircraft carrier," Charles Southall, Newport News' vice president of engineering and design, said in a news release. "The advancement of additive manufacturing will help revolutionize naval engineering and shipbuilding. It also is a significant step forward in our digital transformation of shipbuilding processes to increase efficiency, safety and affordability."
Th company said 3D printing could lead to cost savings and reduced production schedules for naval ships and their parts, including castings and fabricated parts such as valves, housings and brackets.
Last year, HII installed a ProX DMP 320 high-performance metal additive manufacturing system at its Newport News facility after approval of the additive manufacturing -- or 3D printing -- process by Naval Sea Systems Command. Rigorous printing of test parts ensued.
The Truman, a Nimitz-class ship, returned to its homeport on Dec. 16 after an 8-month deployment in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations to support NATO allies and European and African partner nations, as well as to maintain U.S. national security interests in the area.
In August, the Truman completed a refit and rest visit for maintenance, training and certification upkeep.
Earlier this month, a metallic 3D-printed part was installed on an operational F-22 Raptor at Hill Air Force Base in Utah for the first time.