HAMBURG: As industry representatives ready for the second major trade-show for this year, SMM, taking place in September in Hamburg, all eyes are on the topics to be discussed and technologies to be revealed at the event.
Exhibitions like Posidonia and SMM are the places to be where the maritime industry sets its course for the future, revealing what are the likely technological solutions and trends to be followed.
3D printing technology is getting a special exhibition at this year’s SMM, hinting that we are likely to see a whole new window of opportunities opening up for the shipping industry.
Even though the technology is still in its infancy, printing your own spare parts on board the ship is not that far off. But the story doesn’t necessarily end there, as entire ships could be printed as well. The American market research company International Data Corporation expects the 3D printing industry to grow by 15 percent annually over the next few years.
Industry majors like Maersk Tankers are already looking into the technology as a way of cutting costs for shipping spare parts.
What is more, in September 2017, Dutch shipbuilder Damen said that a prototype of the world’s first class approved ship’s propeller has been produced by using 3D printing techniques.
What sets this technology apart is that “components are no longer manufactured geometrically through casting, drilling or milling but in an additive process layer by layer,” explains Professor Claus Emmelmann, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Additive Production Technologies, IAPT.
Not only does this ensure a spectacular visual experience; “it also enables production of designs of any level of complexity, far beyond anything anyone could have imagined in the past,” says Emmelmann. Weight reductions of up to 80 percent are possible. Companies exposed to intense competition could save substantial manufacturing and material costs while accelerating production times dramatically.
At the “Maritime 3D Printing Show Area@SMM” in Hall B6, exhibitors will showcase their capabilities in additive manufacturing, hosting live demonstrations of additive manufacturing processes using a variety of materials.