The 1,350 mm propeller was fabricated from Nickel Aluminium Bronze (NAB) alloy with the Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) method using a Valk welding system and Autodesk software. The 400kg propeller was seen as setting a landmark in additive manufacturing.
“The challenge has been to translate a 3D CAD file on a computer into a physical product. This is made more complex because this propeller is a double-curved, geometric shape with some tricky overhanging sections,” said Kees Custers, project engineer in Damen’s R&D department.
The propeller was produced by a consortium that includes Damen Shipyards Group, RAMLAB, Promarin, Autodesk and Bureau Veritas.
The first propeller will be used for demonstration purposes “We start production of a second propeller with class approval later next month – using all the lessons we have learned over the past few months. We are aiming to install this second one onto one of our tugs later this year,” Custers said.