As introduced in the ABS Advisory on Additive Manufacturing, the latest innovation in manufacturing is
additive manufacturing (AM), wherein parts are fabricated by adding material layer-by-layer. AM technologies
allow designers and builders to re-think the way parts are designed, constructed, and delivered. The rapid
development of AM technologies has indicated that the marine and offshore industries may greatly benefit
from AM’s capacity to support a flexible fabrication facility.
The goal of a flexible fabrication facility based upon an AM system (machinery and software) is to enable
production of a variety of qualified parts in a highly versatile manner. In this way, a single AM service
provider (AMSP) can act as the equivalent of multiple qualified factories with disparate production lines
under one roof, serving many different clients. A single AMSP may produce a wide range of parts, from
many different materials, to meet diverse quality and critical service requirements.
These Guidance Notes introduce a qualification scheme that defines AM processes with sufficient clarity
to achieve consistent, repeatable results while accommodating frequent changes to the factory configuration
and product requirements.
Like traditional manufacturing, quality in AM relies on a clear understanding of the process, from design
through manufacturing. Consistent quality involves an up-front understanding of the effects that the
material, the process selection, and manufacturing configuration have on the specific part design, build
sequence, and manufacturing parameters. Management of each of these aspects is necessary to effectively
control variability and anticipate the effects of process changes.
As standardization for AM develops, it is important to understand that the definition of a “qualified” AM
process changes between industries and users, and that there may be different qualification requirements,
methods, and metrics. The ABS AM qualification structure outlined in these Guidance Notes represents a
recommended standardized method that targets the needs of the maritime and offshore industries.
These Guidance Notes become effective on the first day of the month of publication.
Users are advised to check periodically on the ABS website www.eagle.org to verify that this version of
these Guidance Notes is the most current.