Damen consortium produces first classed 3D printed propeller

The world’s first class approved 3D printed propeller has been produced in Rotterdam.

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.

Posted 12 September 2017

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Marcus Hand

Editor, Seatrade Maritime News

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