3YOURMIND Partners with US Army to Digitize Inventory for M113 Armored Vehicle Parts

By on May 27th, 2024 in Corporate, news

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The US Army’s M113 armored personnel carrier [Source: Spc. Tyler Kingsbury / Wikimedia]

3YOURMIND struck an interesting deal with the US Army.

The Berlin-based company provides a service that can automatically analyze parts, specifically the CAD files that describe those parts. It can automatically determine whether the part design is compatible with known 3D print manufacturing processes and materials.

Why do this at all? The data collected could contribute to a “digital inventory”. This is the opposite of a “physical inventory”, where there’s a warehouse full of parts. Those parts would have been built in anticipation of future need, so they simply sit and wait for use. For years. And perhaps they are never used at all. Physical inventories can therefore be quite expensive.

Digital inventory, on the other hand, can be very efficient: the 3D designs for the parts are stored online, and printed on demand. There is no physical warehouse, only a printer and a database.

There’s only one catch: the parts must be printable. Unfortunately parts made over past decades that are still in use were often designed without 3D printing in mind. As a result the part inventories for a machine have a mix of printable and non-printable parts. Even worse, you don’t really know which are which, and it’s expensive to have someone review all of them.

Enter 3YOURMIND, which does all of this automatically. When the parts are classified, it’s then possible to reduce the physical inventory to only those parts that are not printable.

3YOURMIND has marketed this service for several years, but now they have a rather notable new customer: the US Army.

Now, before you get excited and start thinking about the US Army’s trillions of parts, they have to start small. The project involves the M113 armored personnel carrier, and the experimental project is with the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC). They’re looking for ways to optimize the maintenance of older vehicles like the M113, which are still in widespread use.

3YOURMIND explains:

“With the help of Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research (WSU-NIAR), GVSC has successfully reverse-engineered and developed a digital twin for the M113. GVSC will use 3YOURMIND to evaluate the M113 data and identify candidate parts which can be produced with AdvM technologies for the purpose of adding additional production methods that further fortify Department of Defense (DoD) supply chains.”

They plan on working with 10,000 parts in this first segment of the work. It should result in a very good understanding of which parts can be used with additive manufacturing.

There are some big implications here. If this proves successful, it could be implemented on a much wider basis for many more aging military systems. That would reduce costs for the US Army, make their equipment more effective, and of course, provide a trainload of business for 3YOURMIND.


By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!