Shipparts.com and partners in 3D metal printing project

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Current investment and take-up will drive cost downwards with a technology leap expected by 2022 for larger parts, says ShipParts.com's Roy Yap (Image Courtesy: ShipParts.com)

ShipParts.com, an online procurement leader in marine equipment, has signed a research collaboration agreement with Singapore’s Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP), and the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS).

The agreement aims to prove standards for the certification of metallic components produced by NYP’s Additive Manufacturing Innovation Centre (AMIC) for maritime application.

The SGD$350,000 project – partly subsidised by the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC) – will qualify the 3D printed metal part of an end-user component using a Selective Laser Melting 3D printing machine. The SLM technology can print complex parts in a variety of materials including stainless steel SS316L, which is widely applied across the industry owing to the corrosive nature of the maritime environment.

In the first phase of the ten-month project, beginning April 2020, the research teams will develop metal part printing procedures and carry out tensile, chemical and microstructure tests of the printing medium against ABS rules and standards governing weld and material strength.

Phase two will include the 3D printing of a metal component – a pump impeller – and evaluate the performance of the part in standard equipment. The project is expected to complete in January next year.

“A key aspect of the project is to optimise the parameters for the printed part that post-machining is minimised and it can be used ideally ‘hot off the oven’. The qualification will form the bedrock for future certification of critical components for marine use,” said ShipParts.com’s Chief Growth Officer Roy Yap.

NYP’s Additive Manufacturing Innovation Centre (AMiC) will develop the metal printing test plan, procedures and processes, facilitate testing and analysis. ShipParts.com will provide the design criteria for parts produced by 3D metal printing licensed via its consortium of manufacturing partners, while ABS will develop new testing and qualification standards and audit the manufacturing process.

Desmond Tan, Centre Director of NYP’s AMiC, said: “We are excited to be part of this project as it has the potential to place Singapore at the forefront of the maritime industry’s 3D printing hub. With NYP’s vast expertise in Additive Manufacturing, we are well-placed to ensure that the quality and reliability of the parts produced are consistent and meet qualification standards.”

Soh Mei Yan, Business Development Manager, ABS Singapore said: “3D printing of metallic components has significant potential for maritime and offshore industry applications and ABS is leading this field.

“ABS has already published Guidance Notes on Additive Manufacturing to introduce a qualification scheme that defines processes with sufficient clarity to achieve consistent, repeatable results. The outcome of this research will be a comprehensive certification process.”

The partners believe that the metallic AM will revolutionise the maritime and offshore sectors, paving the way for distributed manufacturing and, reduced logistics, thus contributing to global efforts to decarbonize.

“Current investment and take-up will drive cost downwards with a technology leap expected by 2022 for larger parts. There are now more material choices and more accurate 3D printing machines capable of manufacturing components in a more cost-effective way,” said Yap.

“It has the capacity to manufacture parts with complex geometry and internal shapes, resulting in a significant reduction in overall lead-time,” added Yap. “Another key advantage is that parts can be printed on demand, requiring little to no inventory storage. Lower inventory holding costs can be achieved.”

Once the project is completed, ShipParts.com will promote the commercialisation of the technology to provide 3D printed parts to end users on their platform with NYP manufacturing and ABS certification.

Sea News, March 31

Baibhav Mishra
Author: Baibhav Mishra