The Port of Rotterdam’s Additive Manufacturing Fieldlab (RAMLAB) and Autodesk have created a 3D-printed propeller using a hybrid manufacturing process combining wire and arc additive manufacturing using six-axis industrial robotic arms.
Currently, if a vessel comes into port needing a replacement part, it can take weeks or months to order and deliver, costing companies millions of dollars while they wait. It can also be quite costly for suppliers to keep large stockpiles of parts in warehouses around the globe.
As a main software partner, Autodesk was instrumental in developing RAMLAB’s hybrid manufacturing approach which enables 3D printing large ship components in metal and then finishing the pieces using traditional milling and grinding methods, within a matter of days.
The next step will involve manufacture of a full-scale propeller to be fitted to a ship this summer.