Monday, Sep 12, 2005 5:00 AM

BURLINGTON, MA - The nature of warfare requires military tacticians to know the lay of the land in advance to protect troops, a capability increasingly enabled by 3D printing technology and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Army Corps has obtained the ability to produce durable solid 3D models quickly, easily and inexpensively from digital geospatial information. The Corps purchased the Z Corporation Z®810 3D Printer to create color models of cities, mountainous areas and other complex terrain around the world in support of military operations and related applications. The new printing technology cuts weeks of labor from the construction of topographic models and displays details that other technologies cannot match.

"When you look at a topographic feature on the ground, you see it differently than you do when looking at the contour lines on a map that depict the feature," said retired Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jeffrey Popp of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center's (EDRC) Topographic Engineering Center. "A 3D model allows you to visualize the terrain without actually being there."

The Z Corp. Z810 3D Printer transforms digital geospatial files into detailed 3D color models in as little as two hours. The same task takes weeks or more using sand tables, manually assembled models or other traditional approaches. The Z Corp. Z810 System produces models that are lightweight, easily transportable and durable enough for repeated use in operational environments. The highly detailed models increase users' understanding of complex geospatial features and are of particular value in developed areas.

"We're seeing a growing number of users in the geographic information systems (GIS) realm use our printers to better visualize landscapes for applications from military planning to hydrological analysis, site selection, emergency services and civil engineering," said Z Corp. President Tom Clay. "We're honored to see the U.S. Army use our products to improve the safety of troops worldwide."

The Z810 System is the fastest and least expensive way to create large terrain models. Its unsurpassed color capability accurately represents land, water, buildings and other terrain features. The Z810 System is also used in non-military applications such as manufacturing to produce product prototypes for design review, form and fit testing, and casting.

About the Army Corps of Engineers

The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is made up of approximately 34,600 civilian and 650 military members. Its military and civilian engineers, scientists and other specialists work hand in hand as leaders in engineering and environmental matters. Its diverse workforce of biologists, engineers, geologists, hydrologists, natural resource managers and other professionals meets the demands of changing times and requirements as a vital part of America's Army.

About Z Corporation

Z Corporation develops, manufactures, and markets the world's fastest, high-definition 3D printers — machines that produce 3D physical prototypes of real-world objects with the speed, ease, and affordability of 2D desktop printing. Leading manufacturers, Fortune 500 companies, and centers for research, including Sony, Fisher-Price, Adidas, Canon, NASA, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, BMW, Porsche, Ford, DaimlerChrysler, Harvard, MIT and Yale, rely on Z Corp.'s printers to produce prototypes as part of the development of a broad range of world-class products and technologies. Z Corp. systems are not only the fastest 3D printers on the market but also offer the only color 3D printing capabilities. Z Corp. holds patents on its proprietary 3D printing materials and equipment and licenses others from MIT, where the company's technology was originally developed.

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