Shipboard Advanced Metal Manufacturing Machine

Navy SBIR 22.1 - Topic N221-040
NAVSEA - Naval Sea Systems Command
Opens: January 12, 2022 - Closes: February 10, 2022 (12:00pm est)

N221-040 TITLE: Shipboard Advanced Metal Manufacturing Machine

OUSD (R&E) MODERNIZATION PRIORITY: General Warfighting Requirements (GWR)

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials / Processes

OBJECTIVE: Develop a shipboard, advanced metal manufacturing system for Navy expeditionary environments with a closed-loop feedback system adaptable to operational conditions.

DESCRIPTION: Currently, Additive Manufacturing (AM) equipment suitable for afloat use is limited. The current capabilities were installed to support the development integration requirements for AM equipment, but is currently only limited to polymer machines. Current metal AM technologies are designed for the lab or machinery spaces shoreside, and have not been configured for the harsh shipboard environment. The inclusion of a metal AM capability shipboard would drastically improve ship self-sufficiency and increase readiness. There are increased needs for AM afloat as it is explicitly identified in the COMNAVSEA Campaign Plan 3.0 as a technology focus area. This SBIR topic directly supports efforts to integrate AM into the Fleet and support a more self-sufficient ship. In addition, the Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority 2.0 requires that the Navy maximize its use of AM to fabricate "hard to source" or obsolete parts, reduce cost, field more effective systems, and reduce reliance on vulnerable supply chains through production at the point of need. Current metal AM technology can be classified under powder bed fusion (PBF), direction energy deposition, material extrusion, sheet lamination, or hybrid processes. These processes all have their benefits and limitations from a part production standpoint. At this time, these metal AM system installations are typically expected to be on the shop floor in industrial or lab settings. There is an interest to integrate these metal AM systems in more expeditionary settings to increase warfighter readiness and increase the Navy's distributed manufacturing capabilities and self-sufficiency. The operational conditions within these expeditionary settings include ship motion, ship vibration, shock, ventilation, and electromagnetic interference (EMI). In order to successfully install metal AM equipment and enable adequate operation of the equipment, the machine must not experience severe degraded performance under these conditions. Testing of these conditions in the lab environment should occur to determine system performance under shipboard environmental conditions. These tests should be comparable to the MIL-STDs mentioned below. The Navy is seeking a system that has optimized tool pathing and programming built-in, is able to additively build parts, and is capable of subtractive finishing said parts, all within the same unit. The machine must be able to be disassembled, to become a hatch able unit, and be able to additively manufacture as well as subtractive cut hard alloys, such as high carbon and stainless steels. The system must have a built-in sensor package to be able to monitor aforementioned operational conditions, perform in-situ monitoring of each build to inform part certification, and establish a report for each build capturing all the processed sensor data, print parameter information, and AM equipment health data. In addition, part removal is generally a post-printing machining event that uses specialized equipment, generally not available shipboard. This unit must demonstrate ease of part removal from the build plate. The solution should also have modular and scalable configurations to enable manufacturing of large parts, on the order of 5ft x 5ft x 5ft, and small parts, around 5 in x 5 in x 5 in. The design must address effects the expeditionary environment may have on the machine so that it can operate while deployed. The design must be able to perform at the same performance standard as current hybrid AM equipment on the market as it pertains to geometric complexity for laser DED manufacturing processes.

This SBIR topic will address the current shipboard mitigation requirements associated with shipboard integration and performance of metal AM. The product developed from this topic could result in the establishment of a Navy vendor for shipboard AM equipment. In addition, the current modifications, costs, and qualification to Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) equipment would no longer be required if the system was designed around the shipboard environment. Additive manufacturing has the potential for major readiness impacts for the Fleet, improving self-sufficiency and reducing the reliance on the supply chain.

The product will be assessed against the MIL-STDs listed below:

  1. MIL-S-901D, Amended with Interim Change #2, Shock Test, H.I. (High Impact); Shipboard Machinery, Equipment and Systems, Requirements for
  2. MIL-STD-167-1, Mechanical Vibration for Shipboard Equipment (Type I - Environmental and Type II - Internally Excited)
  3. MIL-STD-461F, Requirements for the Control of Electromagnetic Interference Characteristics of Subsystems and Equipment
  4. MIL-STD-740-2, Structure-borne Vibration Acceleration Measurements and Acceptance Criteria of Shipboard Equipment

PHASE I: Develop a conceptual design of a modular, advanced metal manufacturing unit that can additively fabricate and subtractive machine different alloys, including, but not limited to high/low carbon steels, stainless steels, titanium, and various aluminum series as described in the Description. Show feasibility through analysis, modelling, simulation, and testing. Additionally, consideration to the on-board sensor packages should be identified to support in-situ monitoring of the build process, responsive feedback loops based on print conditions and monitoring, as well as operational envelope awareness to provide corrective action during a build when necessary. Finally, the logistics support trail required to sustain the technology should be identified as part of the conceptual design. Special considerations to consumables, HAMZMAT concerns, maintenance processes, and ancillary equipment requirements should be provided. Provide concepts for safety and equipment environmental (noise, structural vibration, heat output, habitability, etc.) management protocols to ensure safe operation of the sailors during general quarters and equipment operation.

The Phase I Option, if exercised, will include the initial design specifications and capabilities description to build a prototype solution in Phase II.

PHASE II: Build and deliver a prototype advanced metal manufacturing system optimized for Navy expeditionary environments. The prototype should be characterized using environmental shipboard testing standards as a guide such as vibration (MIL-STD 167), shock (MIL-STD 901), and EMI (MIL-STD 461), and static angle testing. The prototype should demonstrate the ability to additively build the part and subtractive finish the part all within the same unit. The included sensor package should perform in-situ monitoring of each build to inform part certification and establish a report for each build capturing all the processed sensor data, print parameter information, and AM equipment machinery health data. Logistics support requirements, operations and maintenance manual, training, and installation/facility requirements must be provided. The equipment will be installed at a stateside Navy research and development location to be determined.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Develop production ready advanced metal manufacturing system optimized for Navy expeditionary environments in at least the smallest and largest configurations as mentioned in the Description. The equipment must be able to operate in the shipboard environment (machine shop or welding spaces) and be able to additively build the part and subtractive finish the part all within the same unit. The unit must meet all requirements stated within the Description. Shipboard installation guide, operations manual, maintenance manual, training, and logistics supply support packages must be included with the unit(s). This machine should have operational conditions established and tracking of the operational conditions to facilitate at-sea printing part certification. A sensor suite must be included to perform in-situ monitoring of the builds, environmental assessment of the ship space conditions (motion/vibration) to inform operation envelope fabrication restrictions, and a "health assessment" of the printed part. Considerations should be given for reducing the logistics footprint required to support the unit and minimize the reliance on the supply chain.

The results of this SBIR topic will transition to the NAVSEA AM program and will be installed in a shipboard advanced manufacturing lab. It will develop technical authority guidance for qualification and certification in the afloat environment. A Phase III will focus on additional capabilities and acquisition of the system for installation on additional ships under the afloat AM program of record. Commercial applicability of this system could be found in the offshore drilling industry and commercial shipping industry.


  1. Zi-jue, Tang et. Al, A Review on in situ monitoring technology for directed energy deposition of metals, "The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology (2020)", Vol 108, 3437-3463, 2020
  2. Everton, Sarah K. et al, Review of in-situ process monitoring and in-situ metrology for metal additive manufacturing, "Materials and Design", Vol 95, 431-445, 2016
  3. DebRoy, T et al, Additive manufacturing of metallic components—Process, structure and properties, "Progress in Materials Science", Vol 92, 112-224, 2018
  4. Donghong, Ding et al, Wire-feed additive manufacturing of metal components: technologies, developments and future interests, "International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technologies", Vol 81, 465-481, 2015

KEYWORDS: Additive metal manufacturing; 3D printing; shipboard Additive Manufacturing; optimized tool-pathing and programming; self-sufficient metal manufacture.


The Navy Topic above is an "unofficial" copy from the overall DoD 22.1 SBIR BAA. Please see the official DoD Topic website at for any updates.

The DoD issued its 22.1 SBIR BAA pre-release on December 1, 2021, which opens to receive proposals on January 12, 2022, and closes February 10, 2022 (12:00pm est).

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