3D printing project targets class-approved prop

16 May 2017
RAMLAB and Autodesk have already built a to-scale propeller and are now targeting class approval with Promarin, Damen and Bureau Veritas

RAMLAB and Autodesk have already built a to-scale propeller and are now targeting class approval with Promarin, Damen and Bureau Veritas

A consortium of five companies is cooperating to develop the world’s first class approved propeller made using 3D printing (or additive manufacturing) techniques.

Damen Shipyards Group, Bureau Veritas, Promarin and Autodesk are teaming up with Port of Rotterdam’s 3D printing facility RAMLAB to develop the WAAMpeller – a 180kg, 1.3m diameter bronze alloy propeller of Promarin design usually employed by Damen’s Stan Tug 1606 vessel.

The propeller will be created using the wire arc additive manufacturing (WAAM) process. Bureau Veritas will be involved in certification of the propeller, potentially the first time that a metal 3D printed part has been approved by class.

Damen will perform full-scale trials including bollard pull and crash test scenarios. “Our ambition is to demonstrate that the research phase for 3D printing in the maritime sector is over, and that it can now be effectively applied in operations,” said Don Hoogendoorn, principle research engineer, Damen.

“The WAAMpeller project has the potential to yield significant results in optimising future vessel designs. 3D printing technology brings with it an excellent opportunity to improve ship structures in terms of both performance and fuel consumption.”

The first propeller is expected to be printed in mid-2017, with testing later this year.