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The 3D printing of ammunition is an innovation that is driven by the need for product security, improved performance and cost reduction. The production of ammunition is an intensive process that necessarily requires safety measures. That means that production, storage and transport may not cause unnecessary risks to those involved or to third parties.
In addition, work is constantly ongoing into improving performance and flexibility. 3D printing has the potential to play a major role in this. The formability of the manufacturing process allows for greater performance levels using less material, and for integrating flexibility.
The production process is also safer, which means that in the distant future, it will be possible to print ammunition on site, according to demand. As a result, the logistical footprint will be reduced, and ultimately, the Ministry of Defence will benefit from lower costs.
At present, the Ministry of Defence has no 3D printers, but that will surely change in the foreseeable future. TNO also envisages other developments in the future, such as the printing of the housing using energetic material and in-built sensors.
At DSEI, the demonstration can be seen at TNO stand N9-110.