NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Expanded capabilities are allowing a naval manufacturing facility in North Charleston to supply the United States Navy with on-demand parts that can be shipped anywhere in the world.
The team of manufacturers are using 15 3-D printers, laser etchers and water jet carvers to make parts for naval vessels or custom pieces of equipment.
“We’re able to cut parts. We’re able to do that very quickly. The beauty of what we do here is that we’re able to turn things around in a matter of hours or days versus weeks or months,” said Aaron Ross, the Senior Competency Manager for Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic (NIWC).
The NIWC Atlantic has to build most of the parts from scratch. The team instantly starts working on a project the moment it comes in.
“A lot of times we have to take something that we just have a picture of or maybe an example of and we’ve got to reverse engineer that, figure that out and use some of our processes,” said Ross.
Commanding Officers in the fleet are singing the praises of the program, which supplies bases from the south east to the Middle East.
“It’s really exciting it’s great to see the growth in the command and how that’s spread out into the community as well as the capability we’re providing the sailor. We’re at the cutting edge providing them what they need right now. It’s really exciting to help my shipmates who are out there as commanding officers,” said Captain Nicole Nigro, the Commanding Officer of NIWC Atlantic.
The next mission for the center is to have sailors in the fleet learn how to engineer these parts on their own from bases across the globe.
“It’s not just hitting print on a 3-D printer you need to understand how to the technical aspects of design,” said Ross.