“AMATEURS talk strategy, but professionals talk logistics.” That military maxim’s latest consequence is the adoption by the world’s armed forces of three-dimensional (3D) printing on the front line. It will be a while before weapons robust enough for military use can be printed on demand (though civilian ones can be, see article). But if it is a question of replacing a small but crucial component that has broken—the modern equivalent of reshoeing a horse—then making what is needed to order in this way has huge potential. Moving replacement parts through a long supply chain to a far-flung ship or base can take weeks. And, if a war is on, such convoys make tempting targets. Yet it is unrealistic to keep a full range of spares near the front line. Far better to produce what is needed, when it is needed.
Having access to a printer can even encourage innovation. For example, the USS Harry S. Truman, an American aircraft-carrier, took two 3D printers on her most recent tour of duty in the eastern…Continue reading
Source: New feed