Maritime Industry

The maritime industry, which comprises shipping companies, ships manufacturing, and port authorities, has slowly begun to undergo a digital transformation. 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.

There are of course exceptions, especially in what we consider marine (rather than maritime) applications. This segment, which includes racing boats (especially in the 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 production of small part batches or custom components. More recently,  new 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.

Finally, 3D printing, even with concrete based materials, has proven useful for building underwater structures and even help rebuild coral barriers. These applications fit more within the realm of construction 3D printing, however they have already shown enormous potential. Below you can find a selection of the most relevant news and application cases for AM in the maritime indutry.

Custom manufacturing marine parts: thyssenkrupp signs LoI to partner with Wilhelmsen Ships Services

thyssenkrupp is extending its gains in marine additive manufacturing by signing a letter of intent as a prelude to entering…

3 weeks ago

MAMBO 3D printed fiberglass boat debuts at Genova Boat Show

There was a time, not even 5 years ago, that the yachting and boating industry completely ignored 3D printing. That…

3 weeks ago

Maritime AM takes off as AML3D ships 3D printed propeller and MX3D shows off cowl vent

AML3D Limited just shipped its first stainless steel grade 316L 3D printed propeller to 3D Printing Corporation. 3DPC is a…

4 weeks ago

AML3D executes contract with Austal to provide AM solutions for maritime defense applications

AML3D Limited, an Australian company offering a very large format metal WAM technology platform, signed and is executing a contract…

2 months ago

3D Metalforge inaugurates Singapore’s largest FFF 3D printing facility

Ultimaker and 3D Metalforge have teamed up to launch an industrial fused filament fabrication (FFF) 3D printing facility in Singapore.…

2 months ago

U.S. Navy awards $5M contract to Navatek and UMaine for AM research

The University of Maine's Advanced Structures and Composites Center (ASCC) and Navatek LLC, a commercial and DoD research company specializing…

3 months ago

Wilhelmsen teams up with F-drones for last-mile delivery of 3D printed spare parts

Global maritime company Wilhelmsen has demonstrated its commitment to the adoption of additive manufacturing over the past several months. Last…

4 months ago

AML3D delivers ARCEMY 3D printer to ST Engineering in Singapore

AML3D Limited delivered its first Arcemy 3D printing module to ST Engineering in Singapore (ST) under a ‘rent to buy’…

5 months ago

AML3D raises AUD$9M in IPO, prepares to deliver first Arcemy 3D printer

AML3D, an Australia-based developer of large-format metal additive manufacturing systems, is now listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) and…

6 months ago

Renishaw, Biome and NSCC develop 3D printed ocean turbine parts

A collaboration between engineering company Renishaw, Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) and Canadian industrial design firm Biome Renewables has resulted…

7 months ago