RICHMOND, Va. –
Leaders from various military aviation components, as well as representatives from Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, DLA Troop Support and DLA Headquarters, met Jan. 13 to exchange ideas, initiatives and developments in manufacturing focused on additive manufacturing for hard-to-source and obsolete parts.
Safety guidelines and limitations on DSCR due to the pandemic, limited in person attendance the advanced manufacturing collaboration meeting in Conference Room 108 of the DLA Aviation Operations Center on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia.
Many attendees, including Army Maj. Gen. K. Todd Royar, commanding general of the Army Aviation and Missile Command in Huntsville, Alabama, attended virtually. Overall, a little more than 30 people participated.
Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, is a process used to create a physical object by layering materials one by one based on a digital model. Unlike subtractive manufacturing that creates its final product by cutting away from a block of material, additive manufacturing adds parts to form its final product.
DLA Aviation Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. David Sanford kicked off the meeting, stressing that additive manufacturing capabilities and capacity are rapidly expanding across the defense industrial base complex.
“As more parts become available through additive manufacturing, DLA Aviation is in a unique position to pull together our joint partners and develop an approach on how these parts should be catalogued and made available to the joint forces, he said.
Sanford went on to say that the Office of the Secretary of Defense is also leading many efforts and each service is looking into the cataloguing piece, but the opportunity is there to leverage each other’s work to advance the ball, which will improve readiness capabilities for the joint forces.
Army Col. Darren Buss, chief of the Army Customer Facing Division within DLA Aviation’s Customer Operations Directorate, said the services are continuing to pursue advanced manufacturing initiatives to overcome any readiness concerns and hard-to-make items.
“What we hope to accomplish is to try and determine where the gaps are in the policies, procedures and processes to pursue advanced manufacturing, mainly flight critical safety items,” he said.
Buss said those items are such parts as bolts, nuts and washers that holds an aircraft engine in place.
Sanford said this was the first in a couple of planned meetings and that there is still some work to be done to develop recommendations for the services to provide to OSD.