Norwegian registrar and classification society DNV GL will take on the role of lead researcher for the first phase of a new Singapore-based program aimed at exploring the use of additive manufacturing in the maritime sector. The initiative, a joint industry program (JIP) launched by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), also brings on ten companies from the Singapore Ship Association (SSA).
The main focus of the DNV GL-led project will be to investigate the viability of using 3D printing technologies to produce spare parts for the maritime industry as well as to examine how the parts can help reduce costs and downtimes for the sector.
The Port of Singapore has been ranked as the top maritime capital of the world since 2015 and is one of the world’s busiest ports for shipping. Considering this position, it is no surprise that the maritime hub aims to be at the cutting edge of its industry, exploring new ways to drive innovation and productivity.
The goal of the new JIP is to put together a list of commonly-ordered components that are well suited for 3D printing. The establishment of such a list could help to encourage maritime companies to adopt additive manufacturing for their spare parts supply chain. More broadly, the project could also bolster Singapore’s value proposition as a “one-stop shop with port services supporting a diverse ecosystem of shipping lines and maritime companies.”
“Additive manufacturing holds great opportunities for the maritime industry,” said Cristina Saenz de Santa Maria, Regional Manager South East Asia, Pacific & India, DNV GL – Maritime. “As the world’s leading classification society our aim is to explore this technology in a way that customers can have the same confidence in AM products as they have in any other approved by class.”
Within the maritime sector, 3D printing has the potential to disrupt the spare parts business model by offering on-demand and on-site production. Presently, the industry faces a number of challenges when it comes to spare parts, including inventory costs, part obsolescence and low utilization rates. AM could offer a viable solution.
“This technology can help not only to reduce costs of producing spare parts for vessels, but also to radically reinvent the production and logistics including using completely new and more suitable materials,” explained Steen Brodsgaard Lund, Chairman of the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) Technical Committee. “Elements potentially replaced by modern materials include brass components.”
Notably, additive manufacturing is a key part of Singapore’s Sea Transport Industry Transformation Map, which aims to grow the maritime sector’s value-add by $4.5 billion and create more than 5,000 highly qualified jobs by 2025.
“We are very proud to have been selected by MPA and SSA to spearhead this important work in collaboration with major stakeholders and contribute to helping Singapore develop a vibrant AM ecosystem,” said Brice Le Gallo, Regional Manager DNV GL Oil & Gas and Director of the Global Additive Manufacturing Centre of Excellence in Singapore which opened last year.