Carnival Maritime, Thome Ship Management, OSM Maritime Group, Berge Bulk, Executive Ship Management and Wilhelmsen Ship Management have all signed up with Wilhelmsen’s Marine Products division to use on-demand 3D printing for parts
Wilhelmsen partnered with the Ivaldi Group on the early adopter programme, and the manufacturers will provide spare parts on demand to the six customers’ vessels around the globe.
Parts production will begin using a digitalisation and certification process, and spare parts will be produced on-demand, without having to go through the usual process of storage, customs and shipping.
In a statement, Wilhelmsen explained that printing and distribution would come from local micro-factories, allowing spare parts to be delivered "within hours" to participating vessels.
"Such on-demand localized manufacturing results in a substantially lower carbon footprint compared to traditional supply chains and logistics," the company said.
Commenting on the potential benefits, Carnival Maritime’s head of innovation and energy management, Sebastian Sala said "Carnival operates over 100 cruise ships with various itineraries worldwide. Adding 3D printed parts with fast delivery to our portfolio will be the first steps towards an exciting future for global logistics in the cruise industry."
Among the advantages to the programme, Wilhelmsen cited reduced lead times, enhanced availability of parts, a simplified procurement process, reduced inventory and transportation costs, decreased port fees and increased service life of existing equipment. The company’s head of venture 3D printing, Hakon Ellekjaer said on-demand manufacturing is going to “completely reshape the maritime supply chain.”
Berge Bulk’s procurement manager Teck Siang Sim said "We are excited about the possibilities this will bring. Not only benefiting the supply chain but also the ability to modify and improve parts with input from end-users’ experience." Ahead of the early adopter programme, Berge Bulk acted as a beta tester for Wilhelmsen’s 3D printing project for over a year.
Wilhelmsen had earlier participated in a market feasibility study initiated by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), the Singapore Shipping Association, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster and conducted by DNV GL. The study was on additive manufacturing for 100 of the most commonly ordered marine parts in Singapore,
MPA chief executive Quah Ley Hoon said the MPA was “very encouraged” by the results and that the technology has the “potential to be a game-changer for the maritime sector.”
The shipping industry has eyed 3D printing as a potentially revolutionary advancement in repair work. As early as 2014, Maersk trialled 3D printing on one of its ships.