3D printing on board ships spreads around the world –

Polar waters, icy environments and seemingly hostile environments make the Arctic one of the most difficult marine environments to work with., especially with regard to ships and marine technology. This complexity demands risk-based designs and frameworks for safe and sustainable technology that can survive in difficult ecosystems. The very harsh sailing conditions in arctic or antarctic waters, offshore oil rigs and fleets traveling in harsh seas, have prompted governments and businesses to include additive manufacturing in structures designed to survive maritime conditions. difficult. In 2014, the United States Navy began to consider bringing 3D printers aboard its ships. While in 2017, the US Coast Guard used 3D printers to create spare parts (which are not normally kept on ships and can be hard to find) on board its ships. Currently, 3D printers are available for the crew on five Coast Guardsmen as well as in several shore-based units including Base New Orleans and the Engineering Services Division of the Surface Forces Logistics Center in Baltimore. .

Likewise, Coast Guard academy professor Ron Adrezin uses the technology for operations in remote areas aboard the Cutter Healy, a 420-foot icebreaker that performs research missions in arctic seas. and Bering. On another front, International Submarine Engineering (ISE) used Sciaky’s Additive Electron Beam Manufacturing (EBAM) technology to produce a titanium variable ballast (VB) tank for an arctic submarine. It’s about having a 3D printer for full access and on-site to create hard-to-obtain parts that are really useful when bad weather conditions prevent ships from moving, severe storms smash something in the middle of the sea. sea ​​or that ice threatens all fleets.

In 2015, Canadian company Oceanic Consulting Corporation, a subsidiary of Fleetway, has used 3D printing to create bespoke spare parts and modify them as needed in-house, for many of their research and development projects to study and improve vessels. , fixed and floating offshore structures and other advanced marine systems. Based in St. John’s, Newfoundland, the company uses 3D technology to deliver ambitious projects. Their constant need to create precise scale models and simulate real environments prompted Oceanic to seek out the perfect 3D printer. Oceanic’s research and design team strives to improve the safety of ships navigating in harsh sea ice environments, handling extremely cold temperatures and heavy ice loads. Combining mechanical engineering expertise, experimental research and numerical simulation in arctic engineering with 3D printing might be just what they needed to increase efficiency and reduce costs on some of their projects.

Marine part 3D printed from a Stratasys machine

The company purchased a Stratasys 3D printer from Javelin Technologies, to manufacture essential components, as they typically operate under very tight deadlines due to their customers’ delivery needs on short notice – usually just a few weeks -. Using the Stratasys 3D printer, with SOLID WORKS 3D CAD software enables Oceanic specialists to quickly turn concepts into physical parts, giving them new opportunities to do in-house work that was once sent to external suppliers. Making the complexity of part fabrication possible with the 3D printer has enabled increased sophistication in physical model experiments, resulting in better accuracy and happier customers.

Oceanic claims to save time by using SOLIDWORKS and doing its own 3D printing to quickly validate designs to meet the most demanding project deadlines. They also test and always push the 3D printer and the capabilities of the building material to their limits, sometimes designing very thin parts. The manufacturing team was already used to Javelin’s high level of service and support, so working with the company was an obvious choice.

Working in an often difficult marine environment presents additional challenges, and having a 3D printer allows Oceanic to efficiently print spare parts and modify them as needed. Parts that were once only machined can now be 3D printed, so designers can add details and features that would otherwise be very expensive, if not impossible, to machine. Examples include mechanical linkages, rudders, mounting brackets, accessories, and even custom instrumentation.

The scope of some of Oceanic’s projects is to develop guidelines for the safe and sustainable design of ships and fleets that must venture into harsh marine environments, by combining practical knowledge, advanced engineering methods and a fundamental risk concept design. That is why Oceanic has access to a full suite of world-class marine research facilities in Newfoundland and Labrador, which include the National Research Council of Canada’s Ocean, Coastal and River Engineering portfolio, and Ocean Engineering Memorial University Research Center and Marine Institute. Whether studying ships, boats, offshore structures or other marine systems, Oceanic provides its customers with the expertise, state-of-the-art facilities and now 3D printing technology to achieve even the most ambitious project.

NOAA: Formlabs Form2 printer mounted on the GyroPro stabilization platform, used to map areas of deep water in the Caribbean and South Atlantic Bay

Going further and in a more recent attempt at 3D printing in a dynamic environment, in 2018 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States Department of Commerce sent a team aboard the NOAA vessel Okeanos Explorer with a Stereolithography machine (SLA) which uses an ultraviolet (UV) curable liquid and a laser to harden the liquid layer by layer, in order to map areas of deep water in the Caribbean and the South Atlantic Bay. Harsh marine areas present quite a challenge for engineers and designers to develop technology that will help ships, marine structures and communities to work in some of the worst conditions on the planet, while having accessible 3D printing technology either. internally for the restoration and creation of spare parts. or even on board can be life changing.

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