Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT January-March 2017 Contents A TECHNOLOGY ROAD MAP FOR AM
As the result of rapid growth in AM capabilities over the
past several years and the Army’s increasing interest and
need in using AM to improve readiness, the Army estab -
lished an AM community of practice (COP) in 2014. The
COP, with representatives from across the Army enter-
prise, meets quarterly to share information, coordinate
projects and activities and leverage resources, ultimately
avoiding duplicating efforts, improving AM and promot-
ing its use across the Army. COP meetings also serve
to identify capability gaps in AM and provide recom-
mendations to Army leadership regarding areas where
additional research and development are needed.
The Army recently completed an AM technology road
map, which was sponsored and managed by ManTech.
The project, which began this year, includes RDECOM,
program executive offices, the acquisition community
and Soldiers, and provides strategic guidance across the
Army materiel and life cycle management communities.
The road map has four key areas that are critical to
using AM efficiently and effectively:
• Materials: what needs to be done to develop,
mature and capture associated data for materials
used in AM.
• Design: how to develop and use advancements in
the CAD and engineering fields for AM products, and
how to best use the capabilities.
• Process: what AM processes can be used to make
AM parts, and what process capabilities are needed.
• Value chain: the most efficient and cost-effective
way to use AM and the infrastructure required to sup -
The AM technology road map will be used to inform
industry and academia on how the Army plans to use
AM, as well as issues that need to be addressed. The
Army’s road map, along with individual AM road maps
from the Navy, the Air Force, the Defense Logistics
Agency and the U.S. Special Operations Command,
were integrated into an overarching DOD-wide AM
plan that was rolled out in December 2016.
“I don’t know of any other time when organizations
across the Army and DOD came together to develop a
road map that involves everyone from the requirements
community to the user community and all the way to
the sustainment community,” said Andy Davis, ManTech
— MS . ARGIE SARANTINOS-PERRIN
Material property and process data are paramount to the
qualification and certification process of any part, whether
produced by AM or traditional manufacturing. In tradi-
tional manufacturing, most processes (e.g., casting) and the
properties and tolerances of the materials used (e.g., steel)
are universally understood, documented and accepted.
However, with AM, new processes and materials are being
developed rapidly, and information about the performance
of the parts that are produced is often insufficient. Man-
Tech is making investments through several projects to
create the capability and infrastructure required to capture,
store and share this data across the A rmy.
“We hand off the data that we have collected after we mature
technologies to a certain level,” said Davis. “Then we look
at the materials and what we want to do with them and
find a program office that has potential applications and
timelines that we can support.”
AM is an exciting area of research and one that prom-
ises dramatic results in the not-too-distant future. With
a sophisticated AM printer nearby, Soldiers deployed in
remote outposts around the world will be able to “print”
virtually everything they need, from food to shelter to
If a Soldier gets burned, a 3-D map of his injury will deter-
mine what types of cells should be printed and exactly
where the cells need to go in order to grow new skin. Before
a platoon moves to a new location, Soldiers will recycle any
waste, making cleanup quick and easy. Without a cumber-
some logistics process, the Army will be able to provide
more capabilities at a lower cost. Parts will be printed on
the spot, eliminating the shipping process.
While there is much work to do, AM is gathering speed. In
time, AM will not only make Soldiers’ lives easier, but also
change how the Army conducts business.
For more information, go to www.army.mil/rdecom.
MS. ARGIE SARANTINOS-PERRIN is a public affairs
specialist for Camber Corp., providing contract support to
RDECOM. She holds an M.S . in professional writing and a
B.A . in mass communications from Towson University. She
has 11 years of public affairs experience supporting DOD.
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