3D printing has the potential to revolutionize the way spare parts are produced in the marine industry, according to Vincent Wegener, managing director of The Rotterdam Additive Manufacturing Lab (RAMLAB).
Writing in the just-published Marsh report The Changing Tide Of Risk (link below), Wegener observed that industrial spare parts were “the lifeblood of the marine industry”. He said that a report compiled by a group of Dutch interests in 2016 entitled 3D Printing of Marine Spares (link below), led to the development of RAMLAB, which was laying the foundation for the 3D printing of metal parts for the maritime and offshore sectors, with the aim of creating an additive manufacturing ecosystem.
He said that RAMLAB’s machine was based on Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) technology, which he said was currently the most suitable technology for the production of large metal parts. Recently, RAMLAB and partner Autodesk revealed the first pilot component to be made at the port. A ship’s propeller was made using a hybrid manufacturing process combining wire and arc additive manufacturing, using industrial robotic arms and subtractive machining and grinding techniques.
Wegener said that RAMLAB hoped to accelerate the cross-industry adoption of hybrid manufacturing for making large-scale parts on-demand. “The aim is to make the Port of Rotterdam not just an important gateway for Europe, but also a leader in the development of new manufacturing methods,” he said.
Port of Rotterdam. Pilot Project: 3D Printing Marine Spares, available at: https://www.portofrotterdam.com/sites/default/files/report-3d-printing-marine-spares.pdf