Hydraulic systems are essential to Marine Corps aviators, especially when lifting heavy components during aircraft operations. Two hydraulic mechanics from Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 29, Marine Cpl. Habtamu Sharew and Lance Cpl. Juan Herreragonzalez, decided the hydraulic line maintenance process needed an upgrade.
Together, the team came up with a new way to shape and form hydraulic lines. After entering their idea into the 2016 Marine Corps Logistic Innovation Challenge, the counsel picked this hydraulic plea out of a sea of over 300 entries to move on to the next round, along with 18 other forward-thinking hopefuls.
“With us, we had the idea for a long time, but when the Marine Corps came out with the Innovation Challenge, that was our opportunity, and it paid off,” Sharew said.
The Marine Corps partnered with numerous Department of Defense laboratories to include additive manufacturing and 3D printing features to the hydraulic lines. After working closely with Army engineers, the team developed a 3D-printed, flexible tube. This malleable device can be shaped on site, replicating the dimensions of a fixture that needs replacement. Once copied, the 3D-printed tube can be brought back to the shop in order to create a physical replica.
The Innovation Challenge aims at fostering new, creative solutions, and maturing those concepts into field-worthy designs. The success of adding 3D printing technology into hydraulic systems reinforced the competition’s main purpose. To learn more, check out the video below.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense, 3D printing • additive manufacturing • stereolithography