3D print in the maritime industry (III)

December 15, 2016

Moving from concept to implementation

The overall purpose of this initiative is to push the adoption of 3D Print, Additive Manufacturing and related digital technology in the maritime industry. We will do this by testing applications in the maritime industry, but also by challenging some of the limitations that exists in terms of size and material. With our project we will provide motivating and innovative maritime case stories, and continue to facilitate the collaborative effort.

Contents

The information below covers part 3 of the project “Industrial revolution 4.0 3D print in the Maritime Industry” of which part 1 and 2 was funded and completed in 2016. In part 3, our focus will be on application and real experience, as well as the long term consequences of
digitalization in our industry.

Part 3 consists of 2 tracks:

• Track 1 has a strategic approach and will deal our ability to absorb and apply new technology, but also the more long term consequences of digitalization. Track 1 will be a cross activity platform and share results and experiences from track 2 collectively.

• Track 2 is the technical track with a focus on creating maritime cases and build up hands-on experience.

Track 2 consists of 4 sub-projects:
2.1 On board 3D print
2.2 Large scale 3D print
2.3 4D print
2.4 Repair & Reconditioning using additive manufacturing technology

Background

Over the past 6 months, Green Ship of the Future and 20 + partners have explored the opportunity space of 3D printing (3DP) and additive manufacturing (AM), trying to comprehend the potential of the technology and derived possibilities for the maritime industry. Per definition, the point of departure and agenda of the involved partners, have been very individual. Nevertheless, a substantial interest in the technology and a genuine curiosity towards implementation and further exploration of the derived possibilities have been common denominators throughout our process and this have created a unique energy and community among the participants. Furthermore, there is now an understanding of the fact, that it is imperative to explore appliance of new technology (incl. 3DP) in our industry, not only as another machine on the factory floor, but rather as a technology with the ability to change our business models and current supply chain. For some, the case of 3D printing has concretized the concept of disruption and provided a better understanding of how digitalization and digital technologies can affect industries such as maritime.
In the process of rising the knowledge level of 3DP and AM, it has been confirmed that the maritime industry is [still] considerably behind, when it comes to strategic investments in 3D printing. Only few have taken real steps to test the implementation of 3DP in prototyping, fewer have implemented tooling and none have implemented AM in their current production.

In order for the maritime industry to move forward with their efforts on 3DP, AM and related digital technologies, we need to learn how to “think additively” but also to generate more maritime case stories that our industry can relate to – maybe even a maritime equivalent of General Electric (GE) and a “fuel nozzle of the maritime industry”. Accordingly, we recommend more practical experience and an increased focus on the strategic reasons for investing in 3D print and AM. In addition, we need to understand how the technology can affect the business models of our industry in the future. There are (at least) two questions we need to ask ourselves:

1. How can we, within the maritime industry, use the technology to develop and improve our product and/or service ahead of competitors (and who are our competitors)? and

2. How will this technology affect our industry when others, outside the maritime industry, adopt the technology and e.g. re-shoring of production or disrupting business models become reality?

The technology development within 3D print is happening fast, but is still at Kindergarten level. With a point of departure in the group’s broad knowledge about ships and maritime technology, we can actively identify challenges, barriers and opportunities for appliance in our industry. This is an opportunity to influence technology development, but indeed also to disrupt ourselves before outsiders do so.

We are inspired by the pains and ideas voiced by the participating companies and the technology insights shared by experts. Our activities will be based on building maritime cases, but shared and evaluated collectively, as we aim at motivating more maritime companies to consider how 3D printing, AM and other digital technologies can add to their future development and competitiveness.

Status

The project will commence in January 2017