Danish project explores 3D printing potential

22 Sep 2017
MAN's Herzog answers questions from an engaged audience

MAN's Herzog answers questions from an engaged audience

The use of additive manufacturing in the marine industry is being explored by a multilateral project in Denmark, with four research initiatives revealed publicly for the first time at a seminar on 21 September.

The Motorship was the exclusive media at the event organised by Green Ship of the Future, a research focused public-private partnership that includes many shipping and maritime organisations.

Ivar Motke of Create.dk outlined the principles of 4D printing - the 3D printing of products that can change in response to triggers including heat and pressure. This could be particularly useful for applications such as valves and vents, although Motke challenged delegates to think of other novel applications. A project led by Clorius Controls is working on a three-way valve activated by heat that could be used as part of a thermostat in a boiler, for example.

The use of 3D printing for repairs is being studied by PJ Diesel, which has reconditioned the turbine wheel of a KBB turbocharger using laser cladding and cold spraying. Rasmus Elsborg-Jensen, general manager of PJ Diesel, reported that the reconditioned parts are being tested by KBB, while the business case is being explored by the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). The project concludes in October.

Another aspect of the project is a ship owner-led initiative exploring onboard printing. Sverre Vange, head of performance management at bulk and gas carrier owner J. Lauritzen, described the project - which also includes Maersk Drilling and Maersk Line – as a way to eventually cut down on the number of spare parts carried by each vessel. The project will include onboard installation, crew training and an exploration of intellectual property issues. Printers will be installed in January next year, with testing expected to end in May.

Anders Ørgård-Vinding of naval architect and marine engineering firm OSK Shiptech told delegates about the company’s project – an interchangeable optimised bulbous bow. New production techniques may eventually mean that bulbs can be changed each voyage depending on operating profile. But while printing techniques are advancing rapidly in general, large scale applications – such as those potentially useful in shipbuilding - are lagging behind, Ørgård-Vinding warned.

The seminar concluded with two presentations from organisations which are already well-advanced in their use of 3D printing. Lieutenant Todd Coursey described the US Navy programme, which includes fixed, mobile and floating laboratories, extensive crew training and ‘challenges’ to encourage users to innovate. And Roland Herzog, head of material technology at MAN Diesel & Turbo – which is involved in several of the research projects - gave a thorough analysis of the potential and the limitations of 3D printing, including case studies of some of the components (particularly in turbochargers) that it is already printing.

The projects build on two earlier phases investigating 3D printing’s potential in the maritime sector. Findings from the previous projects can be read here.

The event was co-hosted by Anne Katrine Bjerregaard, head of secretariat, Green Ship of the Future and Mads Kjøller Damkjær, director of new Danish industry fund AM-Lab.

NOTE: A full report of the seminar will appear in the November issue of The Motorship.