The Applied Science & Technology Research Organization of America, or ASTRO America, is pleased to announce being awarded first place in the Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) Innovation Contest at AMUG’s annual conference. This honor reflects the exceptional work of the U.S. Army’s Jointless Hull Project team, which is building the largest metal 3D printer in the world, and includes ASTRO, MELD Manufacturing, Ingersoll Machine Tool, and Siemens.

Our winning team was recognized for the novel production of a large metal military vehicle hatch (see image above) that was created on a MELD-developed 3D metal printer. The AMUG Advanced Concepts award recognizes individuals and their companies for outstanding work in additive manufacturing (3D printing).

ASTRO America is currently managing the U.S. Army’s Jointless Hull Project to develop and deliver a hull-scale tool using metal 3D printing technology. This metal printer will be able to develop single, jointless combat vehicle hulls at a near net size of 30ft x 20ft x 12 ft in size. It has the potential to revolutionize the military tank industry as monolithic hulls for combat vehicles have well-established advantages – 73% of DoD vehicle losses are due to underbody blasts; the overwhelming majority of those are due to failures in seams, joints, or welds – monolithic hulls will improve survivability.

Traditional manufacturing processes are not adaptable to jointless combat vehicle hulls. This additive manufacturing, or 3D metal printing project will provide improved production speeds, reduced production costs, reduced vehicle weight, greater vehicle performance and increased survivability.

The Jointless Hull Project is being contracted through LIFT, the Detroit-based, Department of Defense-supported national manufacturing innovation institute while the Michigan-based U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Ground Vehicle Systems Center, Ground Vehicle System Center (DEVCOM GVSC) is directing the technical program. The Army’s Rock Island Arsenal – Joint Manufacturing Technology Center (RIA-JMTC), the Army’s manufacturing center of excellence, is also a key partner on this project and will ultimately serve as the location for the operation of the new additive manufacturing platform. ASTRO America has already kicked off the project with an Industry Day featuring both prospective machine vendors and leading vehicle builders.

About ASTRO America:

ASTRO America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that advances Defense R&D to transition meaningful manufacturing technology into production.

ASTRO America convenes key segments of the Defense industrial base to advance qualification of key manufacturing technologies. Our stakeholders are members at every tier of the supply chain, accelerating adoption of cutting-edge production tools, efficiently and repeatedly.

We support U.S. Government agencies, driving transition of applied research to matured defense-related production. We are doing this through federally sponsored contracting, cooperative research, and other transactions.

Find out more: