Newly-listed metals technology manufacturer AML3D (ASX: AL3) has secured a contract with shipbuilder and prime defence contractor Austal (ASX: ASB) to co-develop components for maritime defence applications.
Under the terms of the design and development contract, AML3D will utilise its Adelaide-based wire additive manufacturing (WAM) expertise to optimise an existing personnel lifting device for installation onto naval vessels constructed by Austal.
The proposed next-generation device will be a light and ergonomically-friendly solution with enhanced load-bearing capabilities.
It will aim to showcase AML3D’s technology platforms and validate the company’s capabilities in the local and global defence markets.
Delivery of the optimisation and structural engineering design and development contract is expected by end October, after which the parties hope to move onto a separate manufacturing contract.
AML3D managing director Andrew Sales said the Austal contract aligns with a goal to apply WAM to a range of future shipbuilding applications.
“To be identified by Austal as a leading Australian innovator is a testament to our technology platform,” he said.
“It provides a good opportunity to significantly expand our presence in the Australian and global marine sector.”
Austal is believed to have voiced an interest in exploring WAM’s robotic capabilities for large-scale ship module constructions.
“This is an initial step towards a much bigger goal to incorporate additive manufacturing methods into Austal’s business,” Mr Sales said.
Austal has designed and constructed more than 100 defence vessels for operators around the world since 1998, including the Royal Navy of Oman’s 72m high-speed support vessels delivered in 2016.
AML3D has been working to accelerate the global adoption of its WAM technology, which combines advanced welding science, robotics technology metallurgy and CAD software design to produce an automated 3D printing system operating in a freeform environment.
The company’s 400 square metre factory houses two state-of-the-art commercial robotic production cells which can work on all weldable metals and alloys including titanium, nickel alloys, stainless steels, carbon steels, aluminium and bronze.
Last month, AML3D announced it would collaborate with Perth-based additive manufacturing house AdditiveNow to push the adoption of WAM to a global customer base in the energy, chemicals, oil and gas and mining industries.
Under the terms of the collaboration, AdditiveNow will expand its additive manufacturing consulting service to include components which can be manufactured more efficiently with WAM than traditional methods of casting, forging and fabrication.
AML3D will provide AdditiveNow customers with metallurgy, design and advisory services relating to WAM’s product performance and manufacturing efficiencies, with the mutual goal to reduce physical inventory and improve agility by manufacturing on demand.