EBAM Technology Saves Time and Cost in Submarine Component

Sciaky’s Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing technology reduced the time and cost to produce a titanium variable ballast tank for a submarine manufacturer.

Sciaky's Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM) technology helped International Submarine Engineering (ISE) Ltd. cut significant time and cost from the production of a titanium variable ballast (VB) tank versus the traditional forging process used by the company’s previous supplier.

The engineers and project management team at Sciaky put together a plan to produce a new titanium VB tank for ISE using Sciaky’s patented EBAM 3D printing process. Making the switch to the EBAM process helped ISE reduce production time from 16 weeks to 8 weeks, as well as reduce overall costs as compared to retooling with a new forging supplier. In addition, the VB tank created with Sciaky’s EBAM process passed the same vigorous qualification testing as the tank previously created with the forging process. ISE now plans to 3D print other critical titanium parts with Sciaky’s EBAM process.

The titanium VB tank is a sub-system of ISE’s Arctic Explorer autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) class of vehicles. ISE previously built two Arctic Explorers for Natural Resources Canada/Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) to map the sea floor underneath the Arctic ice shelf. The Arctic Explorer is the largest of the Explorer AUV class, measuring over 7 meters (nearly 23 feet) long and weighing more than 2,000 kilograms (4,409 pounds). The AUV’s VB system enables it to park on the sea floor or hold itself on the underside of the ice during missions. Rated to 5,000 meters (roughly 3.11 miles) depth, the Arctic Explorer is designed to remain underwater between missions for extended periods of time.

The VB tank 3D printed with Sciaky’s EBAM process will be installed onboard a new Arctic Explorer AUV that is scheduled to be delivered to the University of Tasmania in the spring of 2017. This new Explorer AUV will be deployed in Antarctica after trials and training operations.