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UMaine 3D-printed vessels attract Maine senators

Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Angus King attended an event at the University of Maine on Friday to celebrate its production of the world's largest 3D printed vessels.
Credit: University of Maine

ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center unveiled its latest milestone achievement with its 3D printer Friday. The university created the world's largest 3D-printed prototype logistics vessels for the U.S. Department of Defense. 

University leaders said this groundbreaking achievement in composite manufacturing was made possible by collaborating with the Marine Corps Systems Command's Advanced Manufacturing Operations Cell and the UMaine Composites Center.

The larger of the two vessels can simulate the ship-to-shore movement of 20-foot containers with equipment and supplies. The second vessel can transport a Marine rifle squad with organized equipment and three days of supplies. The two prototypes can also be connected to maximize transport capabilities.

The university said the landing craft utility vessels could take more than a year to produce using traditional materials and methods. The UMaine Composites Center printed and assembled just one of the vessels in a month, using the school's 3D printer, which is the world's largest polymer 3D printer. 

U.S. Senators Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, I-Maine, attended Friday's event at the campus in Orono. The senators were joined by leaders from the U.S. Department of Defense and UMaine officials.

While at the event, the senators also discussed President Biden's Supreme Court Justice nomination and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Collins said she received a call from Biden this morning to share his decision to nominate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to be the next Supreme Court justice. Collins said she hopes to see a dignified, thorough vetting of the nominee with courtesy and civility.

"She has impressive academic credentials. She is an experienced judge, but I will wait to make a decision until I have observed her hearing read her decisions and major writings. And most important of all is the meeting I will have with her in my office," Collins said.

King agreed with Collins that he approached the nomination with an open mind. The senator said he is eager to learn about the contribution she can make to the court.

"My initial impression is that she has a wide variety of experiences that would seem to make her well-qualified. She was a public defender, she's been a district court judge and appellate court judge and has an outstanding academic record," King said.

Both senators also agree there will likely be more sanctions against Russia and President Vladimir Putin and believe that is how the country's invasion of the Ukraine should be handled. 

"There are additional sanctions that can be imposed, particularly dealing with the financial sector. To me, Putin's aggression, his violating the sovereignty of a democracy, his willingness to murder innocent people, calls for the greatest possible sanctions against him," Collins said. 

"I think President Biden has been strong and forthright, and he has let the world know what's going on and what the responses will be in a step by step and calibrated way. There are more serious sanctions that can be imposed, and I suspect over the next few days they will be," King said.

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