Army Eyes Full Operational Capability for Illinois 3D Printing Facility in 2021

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The U.S. Army plans to continue operations at its new additive manufacturing hub at Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., ahead of the facility’s certification for full operating capability in 2021, National Defense Magazine reported Tuesday.

The Army also wants to perform limited testing activities to evaluate 3D-printing capabilities and their capacity to constantly produce components for faulty equipment.

In addition, the service wants to establish a “digital thread” that integrates the operations of units, depots and arsenals to streamline the delivery of 3D-printed parts.

“I want to be able to influence and react to readiness drivers that are needed on the battlefield in timely manners,” noted Gen. Gus Perna, head of Army Materiel Command, during an event in Washington, D.C. “Three years ago when I started on this adventure, I would tell you that industry was way ahead of us. My personal opinion is that the United States Army — based on support from Army senior leaders — has caught up.”

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