Maritime Industry

The maritime industry, which comprises shipping companies, ships manufacturing, and port authorities, has slowly begun to undergo a digital transformation. In 3dpbm‘s analysis, the maritime industrial sector is intended as encompassing all navigation-related applications, including marine industry products such as sailing boats and yachts, and above or underwater energy applications (both fossil and renewable).

Automation is gaining increasing interest across the maritime industry while IMO puts the issue of autonomous ships high on the agenda, stepping up efforts toward their adoption. Also, advanced software and simulation capabilities are emerging and maritime connectivity improved. Not until very recently, however, did the digital transformation in the maritime industry apply to manufacturing – and specifically to additive manufacturing processes.

There are multiple reasons why AM was slower to enter maritime industry manufacturing processes and they depend largely on the type of ships. For example, in the yachting industry, AM already proves ideal for a large number of parts – even small parts – due to the very small zie of batches required. However, operators in this industry are traditionally very slow to adapt to change. Recently, with some pressure from LFAM composites hardware system manufacturers such as Ingersoll, Thermwood and Caracol, operators in the yachting industry have begun to explore the opportunities for large format mold production using AM.

There are of course exceptions, especially in what we consider marine (rather than maritime) applications. This segment, which includes racing boats (especially in America’s Cup, where technological advancements and weight containment are major issues), as well as luxury yachts. This segment has already begun opening up to these technologies for the production of small part batches or custom components. In some mainly exploratory cases, composite (CFR or GFR) materials have enabled additive manufacturing of very large parts using materials that provide sufficient chemical and environmental resistance to be used in the tough marine environment. In one case, even an entire submarine hull was 3D printed in a joint project involving ORNL and the US Navy.

In the transportation industry, thus in seaport and large ships applications, the biggest limit was part size. As new DED, WAAM and blown powder processes have enabled faster additive production of much larger parts, a slew of new applications have emerged to enable direct and cost-effective production of marine parts such as propellers, submarine ballasts and several other parts.

Yet another key application of AM for the maritime industry is on-demand part replacements. In this case, AM has shown to be applicable both within onshore shipyards/ports and directly on-board large ships such as – but not limited toaircraft carriers that have to spend a long time at sea.

Finally, 3D printing, even with concrete-based materials, has proven useful for building underwater structures and even help rebuild coral barriers and more recently for on-location production of large wind turbine towers. These applications fit more within the realm of construction 3D printing, however, they have already shown enormous potential. Below you will find the latest updates on most relevant news and application cases for AM in the maritime industry.

  • Queen of the Netherlands officially inaugurates MX3D bridge

    After just over 2 years of suspense (since the metal 3D printing phase was completed), the MX3DBridge has finally being placed and inaugurated in the city center of Amsterdam. The company finalized it and tested the sensor network. The event is so momentous that Queen Máxima of the Netherlands participated…

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  • Shell turns to 3D printing for offshore spare parts production

    After first adopting 3D printing for new design prototyping and tooling, energy giant Shell is now increasingly implementing AM for spare parts, especially in very hard-to-reach areas such as its offshore platforms. Spare parts printing, leveraging metal PBF technologies, enabled Shell 3D Printing to move to a digital supply chain…

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  • Addressing key challenges in composite AM for maritime parts

    While wood is an excellent, anisotropic material and still used in modern shipbuilding, many other materials have since made their appearance, including metals, polymers, and composites. As in other fields, the racing segment provides glimpses of how ships could be made in the future. In the America’s Cup, by many…

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  • AML3D BAE Systems Maritime Australia

    AML3D developing AM R&D facility with BAE Systems Maritime

    Just a day after announcing its new headquarters in South Australia, metal AM company AML3D has revealed its plans to establish a Research and Development facility within the upcoming Factory of the Future at the Tonsley Innovation District in Adelaide. The Factory of the Future—currently under development—is spearheaded by Flinders…

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  • WAM Technology Centre

    AML3D to open state-of-the-art WAM Technology Centre in South Australia

    AML3D, an Australia-based specialist in large-scale metal additive manufacturing, is preparing to unveil a new facility for its patented WAM (Wire Additive Manufacturing) technology. The multi-million-dollar site—the WAM Technology Centre—is based in South Australia and will be showcased this Friday, July 9 at an event for customers and industry members.…

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  • How Canada’s MAMCE is reshaping the marine and energy sectors

    The Marine Additive Manufacturing Centre of Excellence – MAMCE – consists of a dedicated research and development team within the Faculty of Engineering at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. Named Canada’s most entrepreneurial university by Startup Canada, UNB includes over 20 research institutes and centers and generated over…

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  • CRP Technology to present Windform materials at MarineAM

    CRP Technology will be attending the inaugural edition of the MarineAM conference with an online presentation with Q&A dedicated to the advantages of the PBF process and Windform composite materials for marine equipment. Note that in this case, the “AM” in MarineAM stands for “Advanced Materials”, however the conference will…

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  • Dive Technologies to deliver custom 3D printed AUV for Kraken Robotics

    Dive Technologies has formally extended the partnership with Kraken Robotics to build a commercial autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) for deep subsea cable and infrastructure inspections and geophysical surveys. We couldn’t be more excited to build and deploy our DIVE-LD to our first commercial customer,” said Bill Lebo, Co-Founder and Chief…

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  • Kongsberg Ferrotech is researching underwater 3D printing

    Kongsberg Ferrotech has finalized the development of a revolutionary “Subsea Additive Manufacturing for Lifetime Extension” technology. This underwater 3D printing research and development project will be performed with SINTEF and other major industry players and supported by the Research Council of Norway. The project will allow for in-situ repairs of…

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  • Austal 3D printed maritime crane receives verification from DNV GL

    A maritime crane developed and additively manufactured by AML3D in conjunction with Austal Australia, has received formal verification from DNV, an independent expert in risk management and quality assurance. AML3D produced an aluminum personnel recovery 3D printed maritime crane (davit), intended for naval applications, with its proprietary WAM® additive manufacturing…

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