Damen in groundbreaking 3D printed propellor project

Damen Shipyards Group is looking to make a major move forward with 3D printing in the shipping industry with a 3D printed, class approved propellor.

Damen has joined a cooperative consortium with RAMLAB, Promarin, Autodesk and Bureau Veritas (BV) to develop the world’s first class approved 3D printed ship’s propeller, dubbed the WAAMpeller.

The propeller will be based on a Promarin design that is typically found on a Damen Stan Tug 1606. The 1,300mm diameter propeller weighs roughly 180kg.

Damen's involvement in the project resulted from one of its inhouse student research programmes.

“Three students from Delft Technical University were investigating the potential of 3D printing for us. They brought us into contact with the other members of the consortium,” explained Kees Custers, project engineer in Damen’s Research & Development department.

Port of Rotterdam’s RAMLAB will fabricate the WAAMpeller from a bronze alloy using the Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) process and BV will be involved in classing the propellor.

The first propellor is expected to be 3D printed this summer and followed by full-scale trials.

“We will be performing a comprehensive programme that will include bollard pull and crash test scenarios. Our ambition is to demonstrate that the research phase for 3D printing in the maritime sector is over, and that it can now be effectively applied in operations,” Custers said.

Posted 16 May 2017

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Marcus Hand

Editor, Seatrade Maritime News

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