The latest strategy from the shipping industry involves utilizing 3D printing technology to produce spare parts.


The maritime industry faces unique challenges when it comes to spare parts. Mechanical parts wear out and break, which can be a costly problem for cargo ships miles from shore with important products due halfway around the world. In an effort to address this issue, Thyssenkrupp and Wilhelmsen have teamed up to provide a solution through 3D printing technology.

Thyssenkrupp Materials Services and Wilhelmsen Ships Service have invested in 3D printing technology to manufacture critical spare parts for ships faster and cheaper than traditional manufacturing methods. They have even used drones to drop 3D-printed parts onto vessels in need. Now, they are launching a cutting-edge, on-demand digital manufacturing platform called Pelagus 3D.

Pelagus 3D will revolutionize the maritime industry by offering a centralized platform for 3D-printed spare parts. With a network of about 60 additive manufacturing service providers, the platform aims to disrupt the entire ecosystem of the maritime and offshore supply chain. It not only serves as an online catalog for spare parts but also allows original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to upload digital files of their parts for on-demand 3D printing.

Vessel owners can also upload digital part files to be manufactured, with Pelagus 3D offering assistance in 3D scanning and redesigning obsolete components. The platform’s engineers work closely with end-users and OEMs to ensure that the digital files are redesigned to improve performance or printed in materials that prevent corrosion.

By uploading digital files to Pelagus 3D, OEMs can get parts to customers faster and cheaper while also reducing their own costs and staying competitive. Part makers can eliminate logistics and standing inventory costs while delivering better parts in new materials. Digital files enable OEMs to continually improve the design of their parts, customize and consolidate components, and increase overall performance.

Additionally, 3D-printed spare parts offer sustainability benefits. The technology uses less material and produces less waste compared to traditional manufacturing methods like forging, casting, and milling. It also allows for the creation of parts using high-performance plastics that are chemical- and heat-resistant like metals but much lighter in weight.

Thyssenkrupp and Wilhelmsen’s joint venture is a significant step forward for the maritime industry. By fully embracing 3D printing technology through Pelagus 3D, vessel managers and OEMs can ensure the seaworthiness of their vessels and keep their operations running smoothly. It’s a solution that combines innovation, efficiency, and sustainability to tackle the challenges of spare parts in the maritime industry head-on.

Valve manufacturing has come a long way in recent years, thanks to the integration of advanced technologies like 3D printing and the use of recycled materials. Take, for example, the valve from Wilhelmsen, which was designed by Valland SpA and 3D printed by Thyssenkrupp. What makes this valve unique is that it was made with recycled metal sourced from upcycling out-of-service metal spare parts from decommissioned ships, courtesy of start-up F3nice.

The use of cutting-edge additive manufacturing technology has significantly improved the performance of this valve. According to Wilhelmsen, the reliability and durability of the component have been greatly enhanced, thanks to the utilization of this innovative manufacturing process. For vessel managers, the benefits are numerous. Not only do they enjoy cost and speed advantages, but they also have access to a vast catalog of spare parts. Additionally, thanks to the ability of Pelagus, a 3D printing company, to reengineer and 3D print failed components, the replacement of an entire mechanical system can be avoided.

Håkon Ellekjaer, the Chief Commercial Officer of Pelagus 3D, explains that when spare parts become obsolete, they collaborate with end-users and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to create digital files of the old spare parts. These files are then redesigned in a way that enhances durability and performance. As a result, there is no need to replace a whole piece of equipment, saving time, money, and resources.

Pelagus 3D ensures that all 3D printed parts go through a rigorous quality assurance process at every stage of manufacturing, adhering to additive manufacturing and maritime industry standards. This commitment to quality and traceability means that the produced components can be replicated worldwide, ensuring consistent high standards.

Pelagus 3D’s adherence to industry-established standards and their engineering support is paving the way for spare part digitalization across various industries. A recent report from the auto collision repair industry revealed that 3D printing has the potential to revolutionize the marketplace for spare parts. However, the lack of manufacturing to industry standards has been a hindrance to its widespread adoption. This is where companies like 3YourMind, Castor, and Spare Parts 3D come in. These digital catalog solution providers can thoroughly analyze an OEM’s existing inventory of parts and identify those that can be 3D printed with equal or even better quality than traditionally manufactured parts. This analysis step enables companies to discover opportunities for improving parts and components through 3D printing.

As more companies recognize the advantages of on-demand additive manufacturing for localized part production and continuous design improvement, the potential for more efficient and streamlined global supply chains grows. This technology has the power to transform industries like transportation, military, and aviation, where spare parts play a vital role in maintaining operational efficiency. Physical inventory is quickly becoming outdated as companies embrace the digitalization of spare parts.

In conclusion, advancements in 3D printing and the integration of recycled materials are revolutionizing the valve manufacturing industry. With companies like Pelagus 3D at the forefront of this transformation, the potential for improved performance, cost-effectiveness, and sustainability in the production of spare parts is immense. As the adoption of additive manufacturing expands, we can expect to see smoother and more efficient global supply chains across various sectors.

Original source


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