Containerized Additive Manufacturing Platform Could Revolutionize Military Parts Procurement and Logistics

Snowbird Additive Mobile Manufacturing Technology

Caroline Brown is the Marketing Director for Snowbird Technologies


As global supply chain, shipping, and raw materials markets continue to fumble, essential entities such as defense forces are left vulnerable to operational downtime and security breaches when they can’t quickly and efficiently repair or replace parts of important machinery.

Florida-based original equipment manufacturer — Snowbird Technologies — is innovating to fill a gap in the parts supply chain to military bases and remote locations, as well as other industrial markets.

Critical spare parts distribution is a paramount concern for defense forces around the globe. Long delays, wrong or missing parts, and inconsistency in material availability leave systems non-operational, potentially weakening perimeters and leaving troops in unfavorable circumstances. With more than three decades of designing, building, and distributing environmental control units to the U.S. military, Snowbird Technologies understood the toll that an unreliable parts procurement and logistics system could take on critical defense infrastructure. Their solution — Snowbird Additive Mobile Manufacturing Technology — or SAMM Tech.

SAMM Tech is a containerized, end-to-end, large-format 3D printer built into a standard ISO shipping container. The system features a metal wire-directed energy deposition (DED) 3D printer and a cutting mill for post-processing, enabling parts to be finished. SAMM Tech can print a wide range of materials from carbon steel and titanium to plastics and composites. It is a complete mobile additive and subtractive manufacturing platform.
The U.S.-patented gantry technology allows for components as large as 4.5 cubic feet to be produced in the platform, a feature that no other mobile printer can boast. That’s what sets SAMM Tech a part as it makes its entrance into the military market this April at the 2023 Sea Air Space Show in National Harbor, Maryland.

The defense sector is no stranger to additive manufacturing and was one of the first industries to understand its value. As the global economy continues to struggle with supply chain and freight demands, additive manufacturing is a solution that offers quick, durable interim and end-use parts to be produced onsite, on demand, in any place in the world. A unit like SAMM Tech can be shipped, unloaded, and loaded as easily as any other shipping container to military bases, remote sites, and mobile fleets around the globe. Its self-sufficient design includes the materials needed to print and produce components. The SAMM Tech software is compatible with most 3D printing programs and scanning systems, promoting easy integration and operator training. The system runs off a standard 3-phase 480 V industrial outlet, allowing it to be delivered in ready-to-use form.

Not only does SAMM Tech provide the capability to produce inventory, but it eliminates the need to maintain large quantities of inventory, parts, and components physically on-hand.

Just like other Snowbird Technologies product lines, SAMM Tech is a ruggedized unit meaning it’s designed to work outdoors in any environment or terrain. The climate controlled interior ensures that intricate hybrid manufacturing can take place without defects. An operator enclosure features the control panel and monitors, all protected from the elements. Shipping container doors provide an opening to the print bed and system platform, allowing for easy access and maintenance. Its durable characteristic makes SAMM Tech ideal for any military or industrial setting in the world.

Ultimately, SAMM Tech is designed to support the people and equipment of critical defense infrastructures. The goal for military forces is to improve expeditionary maintenance and positioning for successful warfighting efforts. The availability and sustainability that an AM platform such as SAMM Tech brings to the market will do just that.

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Caroline Brown is the Marketing Director for Snowbird Technologies