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.

  • Massivit 3D marks its expansion into the marine AM arena at IBEX 2021

    Massivit 3D Printing Technologies will present its latest additive manufacturing technologies at IBEX 2021 in Tampa, Florida at Booth 3-053 on September 28-30, marking its expansion into the marine manufacturing market. The company will showcase the Massivit 5000 – recently launched to serve large-scale production for marine, automotive, and rail manufacturers…

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  • DNV certificates Keppel world largest 3D printed shipboard fitting

    Keppel Technology & Innovation (KTI) has received a verification certificate for a 3D printed deck mounted type Panama Chock (SWL150Ton) from DNV, the independent energy expert and assurance provider’s Global Additive Manufacturing Technology Centre of Excellence in Singapore. The component, which is intended for non-class maritime applications, is the world’s…

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  • MX3D shows 4 meter long aluminum 3D printed keel

    The Aluminium Keel project is part of an ongoing collaboration between KM Yachtbuilders and MX3D to research and 3D print aluminum parts for the maritime industry. The aluminum 3D printed keel was produced using a Robotic WAAM (Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing) process. ⁠ This metallic keel is custom designed by…

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  • Beluga 3D printed sailboat on display at Milan Design Week

    As reported by our Italian-language sister website, large-format 3D printing company Caracol will show Beluga, its 3D printed monocoque sailboat, during the upcoming Milan Design Week in September. In addition, for the first time ever in a project of this size and scope, the boat was produced using recycled…

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  • 3dpbm Maritime AM 2021 eBook

    While we’ve taken the opportunity to revisit many of our 2020 AM Focus topics in 2021, taking stock of new developments and trends, this eBook looks at a wholly new topic: Maritime AM. This is no coincidence. Maritime AM is a fascinating subsegment of the additive manufacturing industry that we’ve…

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  • Port of Rotterdam gets steel 3D printed bollards

    The Port of Rotterdam Authority is installing the world’s first steel 3D printed bollards on the new quay in the Sleepboothaven at Rotterdam Heijplaat. The six bollards are part of a series of twelve 3D printed bollards that the Port Authority and RAMLAB have co-developed. The 3D printing of bollards…

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  • 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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