3D print in the Maritime Industry: from concept to implementation
With this project, we explored how different stakeholders in the maritime industry can use 3D Print and AM technology to develop and improve a product and/or service ahead of competitors. The partners deep dived into four specific cases of relevance to their core business:
On board 3D print
Large scale 3D print
Repair & Reconditioning using additive manufacturing technology
While a common learning from the process is that academia, in general, is more optimistic about additive manufacturing than what commercial availability suggests possible, the applications change as technology evolves: in a fast pace. What seemed impossible yesterday, may be commercially feasible tomorrow. For that reason, we encourage anyone who considers exploring 3D print and additive manufacturing more in depth to do so in their own context with the latest available technology. The results are likely to be very different from ours.
Throughout the project, we sought inspiration in the pains and ideas voiced by the participating companies and the technology insights shared by experts. We explored individual maritime cases, but shared and evaluated collectively, as our aim was (and still is with this report) to motivate and inspire more maritime companies to consider how 3D printing, AM and other digital technologies can be a tool or even an enabler in their future product, service and/or business development.
From 2016-2018, Green Ship of the Future and 20 + partners have explored the opportunity space of 3D printing (3DP) and additive manufacturing (AM), exploring 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 created a unique energy and community among the participants.
Besides the technology insights, 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.
The project was kindly financed by the Danish Maritime Fund.