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Friday, December 4, 2020 

Wilhemsen reports that it has recently delivered, by drone, a Wärtsilä lifting tool produced by additive manufacturing (AM, or 3D printing) to a Berge Bulk vessel at anchor off Singapore.

The tool, used in servicing large engines, allows engineers to move immensely heavy engine parts, such as pistons. Wilhelsen says that typically, such parts are both expensive and time consuming to manufacture and deliver. The joint Wilhelmsen and thyssenkrupp venture, formed to optimise delivery of 3D printed parts, was able to deliver ehat is claimed to be the world’s first CE-Certified 3D printed lifting tool.

Design and fabrication was achieved in a couple of weeks, rather than the lead time measured in months that the original spare part would have taken to arrive. The last mile delivery by drone at night time further speeded up the process.

Hakon Ellekjaer, Head of Venture, 3D Printing, Wilhelmsen, said: "We are very excited to embarking on this journey with Wärtsilä. This milestone marks the future of supply chain for the maritime industry and our customers, that are now experiencing a solution that is faster, better and greener.”

The original part is machined out of solid steel and weight 9kg. The 3D printed version, weighing 2kg, is manufactured from carbon fibre. While the new version is easier, lighter, and safer to use onboard, it is said to sacrifice nothing in terms of strength or durability and is both Class and Type Approved. The new design splits the tool into various parts to best leverage continuous carbon fibre reinforcement and enabled the lifting tool to lift a 240KG engine piston at the first time of asking. In addition, the modular nature of the design means any damaged parts can be switched out easily and the complete part can be disassembled and packed down for shipment.

Giuseppe Saragò, Director, Smart Technology Hub, Manufacturing Excellence, Wärtsilä Marine Power, said: “This represents an outstanding example of how Wärtsilä’s smart approach to manufacturing technologies opens new possibilities not only for manufacturing but also to better servicing our customer. The tool process creation is faster, less costly, with very high quality standard and safe but clearly reduces the need for stock and allows just-in-time production processes and service support like the one we tested. Such success wouldn’t have been possible few years ago, the differentiator compared to the past has been the capability to exploit emerging technologies combining them to generate immediate value.”

“On-demand manufacturing will be a true game changer for the maritime industry. The 3D printed lifting tool from Wärtsilä is a great showcase of the benefits provided by 3D printing, offering shorter lead times, improved part performance and reduced carbon footprint. Delivering the part by drone supports the value proposition, reducing the cost of last mile delivery, time, and CO2 emissions. We are excited to be part of the Wilhelmsen 3D printing program, and we are looking forward to sharing more success stories from this partnership,” said Sim Teck Siang, Procurement Manager, Berge Bulk.

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