Multiple modernization projects are in the works at the Rock Island Arsenal – Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center, funded for more than $45 million. One of those projects is the Jointless Hull Large Format Tool, the world’s largest 3D metal printer, which is expected to be operational by spring. A commemoration event was held at its future site on October 24. It will be capable of printing components as large as 20-ft. by 30-ft. by 12-ft. and is designed to improve military vehicle protection by eliminating the seams in the hull, which are naturally the weakest part of a vehicle.

Maj. Gen. Darren Werner, commanding general, U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, gathers with industry partners from Ingersoll Machine Tool, Siemens Digital Industries, MELD Manufacturing, LIFT and ASTRO America, following the Jointless Hull commemoration event at Rock Island Arsenal – Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center, Oct. 24. Rock Island Arsenal – Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center develops, manufactures and delivers readiness solutions through conventional and advanced manufacturing processes for the U.S. Army and Department of Defense systems globally. (U.S. Army photo by Debralee Lutgen/RIA-JTMC) (Photo Credit: Debralee Lutgen)

“Today is not only a celebration of one of the Army’s centerpiece modernization efforts, but also the beginning of an endeavor to ensure the survivability of America’s fighting force,” said Maj. Gen. Darren Werner, commanding general, U.S. Army Tank-automotive & Armaments Command.

With a $20 million investment in the Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence located at RIA-JMTC, it made sense to add this printer to its capabilities, according to Edward Flinn, Director of AM CoE. Another $11 million was invested to fund this project.

“The Jointless Hull is an advanced manufacturing capability unique to the Army that does not exist anywhere else in the world,” said Marta Tomkiw, executive director of Systems Integration & Engineering at U.S. Army Development Command Ground Vehicles Systems Center. “This novel machine gives the Army a one-of-a-kind cutting-edge technology placing the Army at the forefront of manufacturing technology and capability development.”

The RIA-JMTC has supported the U.S. Army in every major conflict since the Spanish-American War by producing protection solutions for soldiers worldwide, including aluminum howitzers, superbazookas and add-on armor solutions

“Rock Island Arsenal has always answered the nation’s call, from serving at the forefront of artillery production in the World Wars to producing essential components for ventilators and testing kits during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rock Island Arsenal has proven that it’s capable of modernizing to meet today’s challenges,” said Sen. Dick Durbin. “I cannot think of a more fitting home for the world’s largest 3D metal printer, which will have even broader impact than just the battlefield. I look forward to seeing the cutting-edge technology that comes from Rock Island’s new assignment.”