Xerox appears to be closer to the commercial release of the liquid metal 3D printer it has been working on since acquiring the startup Vader Systems. The company released a new video that also released the name of the upcoming system for the first time: ElemX. The Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) will be the first to receive a Xerox ElemX Liquid Metal Printer as part of a collaboration to advance research in additive manufacturing
The Xerox solution gives NPS faculties and students the opportunity to explore new ways the technology can enable on-demand 3D printing of metal parts and devices.
“The military supply chain is one of the most complex in the world and NPS has a firsthand understanding of the challenges manufacturers are facing,” said Naresh Shanker, Xerox chief technology officer. “This collaboration will help NPS advance the adoption of 3D printing across the US Navy and provide Xerox with valuable information to provide flexibility and resilience in the supply chain to future customers.”
With access to the latest additive manufacturing equipment, NPS faculty and students will use the ElemX printer to complete theses and develop new functionality for the Navy and Marine Corps.
“As the applied research division of the Department of the Navy, NPS combines student operating experience with education and research to provide innovative skills and develop innovative leaders with the expertise to use them,” said Ann Rondeau, retired vice administrator of NPS. “This collaborative research with Xerox and the use of their 3D printing innovations is a great example of how NPS uniquely prepares our military students to explore novel approaches to creating, crafting, prototyping and manufacturing capabilities anywhere.”
“From the Age of Sail to the Atomic Age, seafarers have repaired things at sea so they could accomplish the mission,” she continued. “This partnership is about the Navy’s strategic ability to have seafarers on ships who, through creativity and technology, are able to advance their operations at sea. By working together, NPS and Xerox are helping build a navy for the 21st century. “
The Xerox ElemX printer uses inexpensive aluminum wire to create end-use parts that can withstand tough operational demands. This ability to produce reliable replacement parts on demand reduces the dependency of deployed forces on complex global supply chains and also addresses the hidden costs of traditional manufacturing.
“The NPS Alumni Association and Foundation supported the introduction of the ElemX liquid metal printer at NPS because Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines can solve their problems where they are when problems arise,” noted the retired US Marine Corps Col. Todd Lyons, vice president of the NPS Alumni Association and Foundation. “By providing the right digital tools and the liquid metal printer, we have suddenly helped transform not only the supply chain, but how the Department of Defense (DoD) thinks operationally about the supply of war.”
“This is a way to bend the cost curve so the Department of Defense doesn’t spend a thousand dollars for every dollar a competitor spends,” he added.
“Global supply chains make industries such as aerospace, automotive, heavy machinery, and oil and gas vulnerable to external risks,” said Tali Rosman, vice president and general manager, 3D printing, Xerox. “Our goal is to integrate localized 3D printing into your workflows. NPS’s real-time feedback provides us with actionable data to continuously improve ElemX.”