The maritime sector is one of the more overlooked segments in 3D printing, with only a handful of companies really taking advantage of the opportunities there. A new business involved in 3D printing for naval uses has made itself known, Austal Australia, who, along with its partners, AML3D (ASX:AML) and Western Australia’s Curtin University, has 3D printed an aluminum personnel recovery davit. The device has been verified by DNV, the world’s largest classification society at its Global Additive Manufacturing Technology Centre of Excellence in Singapore.
According to international and naval specifications, Austal, AML3D and Curtin University produced a three-meter-long crane, also known as a davit, designed for personnel recovery. The assembly was then tested to support over two times its intended working load. This was followed by non-destructive and destructive testing. The testing process included microanalysis of the microstructure of the aluminum parts, with mechanical and corrosion properties compared to those of traditional marine grade materials.
German multinational engineering group Thyssenkrupp has obtained certification for its supply of metal 3D printed products. The company’s Approval of Manufacturer certificate is the first ever to be awarded by leading quality assurance and risk management firm DNV GL. With the accreditation, the recently opened Thyssenkrupp TechCenter Additive Manufacturing is now approved for application in maritime and other industrial sectors.
“Producing components that have the same level of quality as conventionally manufactured parts and fulfil class requirements is key,” comments Geir Dugstad, Director of Ship Classification & Technical Director of DNV GL – Maritime, “At DNV GL, we are very pleased to certify that the Thyssenkrupp TechCenter Additive Manufacturing has demonstrated its ability to reliably produce metallic materials using additive manufacturing,”
The maritime industry may not yet be at the same stage as, say, the aerospace or automotive industries in terms of additive manufacturing adoption, but there have been some tangible steps on the parts of shipping companies, ship manufacturers and port authorities to explore and accelerate the use of maritime additive manufacturing applications. On the marine side, as well, additive manufacturing is increasingly being used to produce custom or small batch components for yachts and sailboats.
As with any new technology adoption, the maritime and marine segments are currently experiencing a lot of “firsts” with 3D printing. As part of our AM Focus this month, we’re going to take a look at some of the most exciting and boundary-pushing announcements in the intersecting maritime and AM sectors.
3D printer and market darling Titomic is sailing ahead with a plan to print ship parts for Fincantieri — one of the biggest naval vessel producers on the planet.
Melbourne-based Titomic (ASX:TTT) — which is up around 1125 per cent on last year’s IPO price — is in the “metal additive manufacturing” game.
Its 3D printing technique, Titomic Kinetic Fusion, can build metal parts to customisable shapes for use in a whole range of sectors, from aerospace to sporting goods.
The technology, which was co-developed at CSIRO, can produce parts up to 30 times faster than conventional hardware and can join dissimilar metals together to produce one structure, without the need for welding or joining.
Naval Group, a French industrial group focusing on naval defence and marine renewable energy, and Centrale Nantes engineering school have successfully 3D printed their first full-scale propeller blade demonstrator using the Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) process.
This large, geometrically complex blade weighing over 300kg was produced under the framework of the Joint Laboratory of Marine technology, which aims to create qualified naval innovations for application in military shipbuilding.
The production of this propeller is part of longer roadmap to provide greater efficiency for ships at sea by improving performance-based areas such as propulsion and stealth.