AMFG and Babcock International To Advance Military Operational Readiness Through Additive Manufacturing Under MOD-led Project TAMPA
The consortium is set to tackle part obsolescence within the land and marine sectors; AMFG’s software, allowing Babcock to additively manufacture non-safety-critical spare parts in a digital thread capacity, will be equipped to significantly increase platform availability, critically improving the operational readiness of UK front line commands.
To combat this, the employment of additive manufacturing to produce essential parts has been identified as a promising solution in recent years, offering high design flexibility and cost effectiveness. Most significantly, as a process requiring little setup and tooling, a large number of AM build files can be stored in a digital inventory and produced on-demand on the same machine, powerfully streamlining the route to production for spare parts. In implementing AM, it is crucial that these benefits are capitalised on to the highest degree possible.
As a consortium, the funding granted through Project TAMPA to AMFG and Babcock will enable this vital AM implementation and optimisation, with Digital Thread Working Group (DTWG) industry co-chair Daniel Turner leading the initiative on AMFG’s side. By way of AMFG’s end-to-end MES, Babcock’s additively manufactured part production will leverage a digital thread to pivotally increase throughput. Specifically, Babock will be able to digitally store data and learnings acquired during the spare part production process, which can thereafter be referenced when creating workflows for subsequent parts. Furthermore, the platform will supply Babcock with a means to reverse engineer and validate components.
By virtue of AMFG’s platform, a production process which regularly spans months can be reduced to mere weeks in duration. Having secured endorsement from the MOD, the consortium is slated to importantly accelerate the production and fitting of non-safety-critical spare parts, in turn bolstering the readiness of the UK’s defence force.
Reflecting on the gravity of Project TAMPA within the context of platform availability, Paul Powell, Group Head of Innovation at Babcock International, commented: “TAMPA is a brilliant opportunity to explore the digital thread within an MOD environment. Combining Babcock’s defence support experience with AMFG’s workflow expertise presents a real chance to achieve the end goals of the TAMPA framework, which is to prove the viability of providing a broad capability to address the significant threats to defence supply chains and defence operations presented by increasing obsolescence.”
FCG’s additive manufacturing lead Col Dan Anders-Brown also emphasises the initiative’s significance on a national scale: “The industrial manufacturing base of our nation is critical to the success of future military operations and additive manufacturing plays an increasingly crucial role in defence, boosting availability of parts for front line commands globally. This is a vitally important area for our Armed Forces and one which has the potential to transform how we run defence logistics.”
He added: “From ensuring parts are much more readily available to Front Line Commands to reducing our overall global carbon emissions, additive manufacturing offers to many benefits now and in the future and we look forward to continuing this work with Defence Support and working closely with our industry partners to unlock the full potential and capability of this exciting technology.”