Acquisitions, Mergers & PartnershipsMaritime Industry

Custom manufacturing marine parts is turning to AM

thyssenkrupp signs LoI to partner with Wilhelmsen Ships Services

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thyssenkrupp is extending its gains in marine additive manufacturing by signing a letter of intent as a prelude to entering a joint venture with Wilhemsen Ships Services for custom manufacturing marine parts. The companies will collaborate on delivering maritime spare parts using 3D printing. thyssenkrupp, which already deploys additive manufacturing at its operations on the Kiel Fjord in Germany, joins with Wilhemsen’s experience in civil marine repairs. The joint venture facilitates repairs on older vessels. The companies expect to headquarter this effort in Singapore. The joint venture positions the companies as the world leader in maritime AM.

thyssenkrupp is an established manufacturing conglomerate. Its marine division participates in military manufacturing, notably producing diesel-electric air-independent propulsion submarines. Its civilian marine division produces materials and parts for shipbuilding and repair; thyssenkrupp also provides logistics services. The company aims to provide a one-stop-shop for its marine customers.

Wilhelmsen owns the largest maritime network in the world. It is active at 2,000 ports across 125 countries. The company is also a one-stop-shop, with a complement of services ranging from training to repair to insurance.

Additive manufacturing in marine repairs cuts costs and saves time when replacing hard-to-find or discontinued parts. The thirteen-billion-dollar spare maritime spare parts industry runs a large supply chain overhead to deliver manufactured parts across the globe. The lack of available parts, moreover, forces ship managers to carry large stocks of replacement parts to fulfill orders. Traditional machining also creates significant lead-time because it can take months to fabricate parts. AM removes these difficulties by providing on-demand custom parts manufactured much closer to the vessel that needs them. Shipping costs are avoided; lead-times are reduced; ship managers do not need to hold as much stock.

Custom manufactured marine part
Custom manufactured marine part

“We are already seeing very positive response from our Maritime customers on Additive Manufacturing adoption,” said Abhinav Singhal, Director of thyssenkrupp Innovations. “They are realizing the benefits from faster lead times, reduced costs and having more resilience in their spare parts supply chain. This is going to be a true gamechanger for the Maritime industry and we are proud to offer it alongside Wilhelmsen.”

“We are very excited to enter the next phase of our 3D printing journey, hand in hand with thyssenkrupp. This joint venture will, we believe, take the lead as the de-facto supplier of 3D printed maritime spare parts, continuing to bring the benefits of Additive Manufacturing technology to shipping companies by reducing the cost of spare parts, lead times and environmental footprint”, says Hakon Ellekjaer, Head of Venture, 3D Printing, Wilhelmsen.

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Adam Strömbergsson

Adam is a legal researcher and writer with a background in law and literature. Born in Montreal, Canada, he has spent the last decade in Ottawa, Canada, where he has worked in legislative affairs, law, and academia. Adam specializes in his pursuits, most recently in additive manufacturing. He is particularly interested in the coming international and national regulation of additive manufacturing. His past projects include a history of his alma mater, the University of Ottawa. He has also specialized in equity law and its relationship to judicial review. Adam’s current interest in additive manufacturing pairs with his knowledge of historical developments in higher education, copyright and intellectual property protections.

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