Disruptive technologies have kept the Department of Defense on its toes for decades, and now as additive manufacturing—otherwise known as 3-D printing—matures, SAIC has adopted the technology to offer new, smarter solutions.
Using 3-D printing, SAIC can develop prototypes rapidly and iterate through several design evolutions within a week, rather than the several months it takes with traditional manufacturing. For customers, 3-D printing reduces cost and shortens project timelines while allowing quick prototype enhancements to reduce size, weight, and power (SWAP) of components.
"3-D printing is here, it's disruptive, and it's going to change everything that we do from engineering to production. It allows us to provide our customers, especially the U.S. Army, with game changing solutions faster," said Matt Peterson, SAIC solutions architect. "For the Army, we are using 3-D printing for their platform integration needs to help reduce cost and development timelines while increasing performance."
A large enterprise printer located in SAIC's Charleston, South Carolina, facility, 3-D prints prototype components faster and cheaper.
SAIC's large scale enterprise printer can now manufacture many of the hardware pieces that it integrates for customers, quickly and accurately. 3-D printing presents many new design options, including the ability to customize material, combine parts, and utilize all new part geometries. For the Army, SAIC is using rapid prototyping to upgrade vehicles and platforms, such as tactical vehicle C4ISR integrations.
SAIC's 3-D printing lab in Charleston, South Carolina, prints plastics. Partnering with companies across the country and with Virginia Tech can meet customers’ needs outside of the lab's abilities, like printing metal.
"Every time you print something, you can make it better after you hold it, use it, or play with it. When the object shifts from digital to reality, it becomes obvious what tweaks you need to make," said Peterson. "It's not just the prototyping element in every project that we do anymore, there are increasingly opportunities to use this technology for production."
This model of a U.S. Marine Corps assault amphibious vehicle (AAV) was 3-D printed for the customer by SAIC.