What was the last thing you printed? While for many of us it’s likely to be a work document or a pile of handouts, the research engineers at the Wärtsilä Hub for Additive Manufacturing (WHAM) has moved into another dimension – printing critical engine components and leading the way in 3D printing utilisation.
3D printing, the more well-known name for the additive manufacturing process, promises to revolutionise component production. It is already being used in industries as diverse as aerospace and healthcare and is a key element of the on-demand economy, where components are manufactured only when needed, reducing warehousing costs and cutting down delivery times. It can also make manufacturing easier, cheaper and faster, opening up the opportunity to produce components on-site, eliminating the need for transportation and therefore reducing transport-based emissions.
WHAM, the Wärtsilä Hub for Additive Manufacturing, is now using 3D printing to create a critical metal component for Wärtsilä engines that has been successfully tested at full output. Work has been done in partnership with global engineering company Etteplan, and the success of the testing clearly demonstrates that 3D printing is ready for a wider range of applications in the marine industry.
“We were confident enough to put the part in the engine and the results spoke for themselves – the engine always tells the truth,” said Andreas Hjort, General Manager, Smart Design. “The design freedom of 3D printing is opening up a number of opportunities to add value, in terms of both new products and improving the performance of existing ones.”
After forming a collaboration to deliver maritime spare parts using 3D printing, thyssenkrupp and Wilhelmsen have onboarded Yinson to their 3D Printing customer program. Services provided will include solving pain points such as long lead time, part obsolescence and poor part performance.
Thyssenkrupp and Wilhelmsen are collaborating on leveraging on thyssenkrupp’s deep expertise in AM alongside Wilhelmsen’s in-depth maritime expertise and direct ongoing experience in understanding the needs of vessel fleet managers.
Based on current data, maritime fleets spend approximately $13 billion a year on spare parts. With 50% of these vessels being older than 15 years, the availability of parts are limited. This makes the fulfillment of orders for maritime spare parts costly and complicated, and in fact, supply chain overheads involved may oftentimes far outstrip the cost of the part itself.
When Wärtsilä Marine Solutions took the decision to utilize additive manufacturing to create a vital component for an inert gas system, initial production prototypes displayed an unexpected characteristic. In this new field, with new potential, DNV GL’s established expertise was on hand to help. Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, has the potential to transform the maritime equipment supply chain. With the adoption of technology enabling printing in metal, vital spare parts and system components can now be printed on demand in locations around the world, including on vessels themselves. The result is dramatically reduced lead times, costs, labour needs, stock requirements and environmental impact, as well as the complete disruption of traditional business models.
And that’s just the supply side. The impact on manufacturing capability is just as radical. Suddenly the constraints of traditional processes can be broken, with machines bringing previously impossible designs to life through the precise application of layer upon layer of metals. For the frontrunners in maritime manufacturing, such as Wärtsilä Moss AS, it represents a special kind of magic.
The U.S. Navy’s Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) has approved the first 3D printed part, a prototype drain strainer orifice (DSO) assembly, for shipboard installation.
“This install marks a significant advancement in the Navy’s ability to make parts on demand and combine NAVSEA’s strategic goal of on-time delivery of ships and submarines while maintaining a culture of affordability,” said Rear Admiral Lorin Selby, NAVSEA Chief Engineer and Deputy Commander for Ship Design, Integration, and Naval Engineering.
Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE:HII) reports that its Newport News Shipbuilding division has partnered with 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE: DDD) to develop additive manufacturing technologies expected to accelerate the adoption of metal 3-D printing in naval shipbuilding.
The joint effort is expected to support future qualification and certification programs necessary to implement this advanced manufacturing technology for the U.S. Navy and further revolutionize how shipbuilders build the next generation of warships. It is also part of a significant technological transformation underway at Newport News called integrated Digital Shipbuilding (iDS).
3D printing for the maritime and energy industries is the focus of NAMIC’s 5th additive manufacturing summit later this month.
Taking place in Singapore, the Maritime and Energy AM Summit is organized by the country’s National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC), an organization focused on developing a collaborative and innovative ecosystem for additive manufacturing.
At the event 3D printing experts will gather to discuss operationalising AM, how 3D printing is revolutionising the energy industry, the future of advanced manufacturing and other related topics.
I caught up with two of the experts presenting work at the NAMIC AM summit to learn more.
Additive Manufacturing (AM) is emerging as a preferred term for what most us call 3D printing. Be that as it may, using the deposition of material to build up a part, rather than machining material away — could soon be used to rapidly make large parts for the marine and offshore industry.
LR (Lloyd’s Register) recently held a qualification workshop for Keppel Marine and Offshore and the Singapore Centre for 3D Printing at Nanyang Technological University to map out a safe, sustainable and quality-driven approach to additive manufacturing (AM) of metallic parts intended for rugged environments, such as shipping and offshore oil and gas production.
Qualification is a critical step towards certification and adoption of industrial products made by AM. The workshop focused on a broad range of knowledge and skills required to demonstrate competency in AM and to meet industry quality and safety regulations and standards.