Additive ManufacturingDefenseDistributed ManufacturingIndustrial Additive Manufacturing

Rheinmetall presents Mobile Smart Factory for the battlefield

To be used for mobile production of spare parts in Battle Damage Repair

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At an event organized by the European Defence Agency (EDA), Rheinmetall presented the Mobile Smart Factory, a new solution for mobile production via 3D printing of spare parts for military vehicles.

The Mobile Smart Factory (MSF) delivers metal 3D printing and postprocessing capabilities and is fully integrated into Rheinmetall’s IRIS (Integrated Rheinmetall Information System) digital ecosystem.

The MSF consists of two 20-foot mobile shipping containers, one serving as an office container and the other as a production container. The office container houses an air-conditioned workstation and storage space. A polymer printer and a handheld scanner for quality control are also part of the office container. The production container is equipped with a Metrom P700, a 6-axis hybrid machine from Metrom. This machine is not limited to wire arc additive manufacturing (WAAM) technology. An integrated CNC milling facility also enables on-site finishing and postprocessing. The combined welding and CNC capability gives Battle Damage Repair personnel additional options for repairing and overhaul. This is why the MSF also lives up to its name of “Mobile Smart Factory”.

During the first half of 2023, Rheinmetall acquired the decentralized manufacturing division of Bionic Production GmbH. The business divisions of the startup Bionic Production, previously majority-owned by Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA AG), were acquired by Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH and Autoflug GmbH. The acquisition process was completed within the first two quarters of 2023.

While Autoflug GmbH is expanding the areas of 3D printing contract manufacturing and blockchain technology, Rheinmetall is continuing the decentralized manufacturing segment by advancing the Mobile Smart Factory container solution.

Rheinmetall presents Mobile Smart Factory for the battlefield to be used for mobile production of spare parts in Battle Damage Repair

The machine can produce components with a maximum size of 700 mm in diameter and 450 mm in height. All weldable wires and polymers can be used. The metal deposition rate is up to 600 cm3/h (cubic centimeters per hour).

What makes the Mobile Smart Factory unique is its integration into the IRISplatform. As an OEM of military vehicles, Rheinmetall understands the importance of secure data exchange and lifelong product monitoring of printed parts, including quality assurance. The cloud-enabled IRISplatform enables the fully integrated operation of the IRISwork and IRISfleet software applications with the MSF, meeting IT security standards up to NATO Restricted.

IRISwork provides operators and maintenance personnel with access to technical documentation and spare parts catalogs, while IRISfleet is a fleet management tool that documents the installation of a specific printed part on a specific vehicle. IRISfleet stores all relevant information about the printed part and keeps a digital product passport to ensure system security. IRIS technology also includes access to remote support from industry, engineers, quality assurance, etc.

The collaborative multitenant IRIS platform enables the armed forces and defense industry to integrate partners into a secure network, providing rapidly deployable additive capabilities for the modern battlefield.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites and, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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