Photo: Oil tanker Polar Endeavour (Courtesy of ABS)

ABS gives green light to 3D printed parts in marine industry

The consortium of ABS, Sembcorp Marine, 3D Metalforge and ConocoPhillips Polar Tankers has completed the joint project of installing additive manufactured spare parts on board the oil tanker Polar Endeavour

The pioneering additive manufacturing (AM) project began in February this year with the fabrication and lab-testing of 3D printed parts, which were then installed on board the oil tanker.

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After six months in operation, all parts have since been retrieved and inspected by the vessel’s crew, followed by a remote survey by ABS, which has now approved the additive manufactured spare parts.

For this project, the consortium utilized AM to fabricate three types of parts that meet or may even exceed, in terms of quality, products that are conventionally manufactured via casting or forging techniques.

The spare parts include gear set and gear shaft for boiler fuel supply pump, flexible coupling for marine sanitation devices pump, and an ejector nozzle for freshwater generator.

According to Simon Kuik, Sembcorp Marine head of Research & Development, this project presents a good sign for the adoption of AM in the marine industry.

“Through AM, Sembcorp Marine is able to customize parts for our customers and reduce material wastage and remove supply chain inefficiencies. This augments our value proposition as a one-stop innovative solutions provider for the offshore, marine and energy industries and affirms our sustainability ethos”, Kuik added.

Matthew Waterhouse, 3D Metalforge managing director, said: “The inspection and validation of these additively manufactured components support our belief in this technology and its application. This exposure to AM’s capabilities will broaden its commercial applications and acceptance in the future”.

“We are delighted with the performance of the parts and the successful completion of the project. It’s an important step forward for a technology that certainly has a significant role to play in the future of the marine industry. ABS is committed to ensuring these types of parts are introduced without compromising safety”, said Patrick Ryan, ABS senior vice president, Global Engineering and Technology.

As part of its efforts to support the marine industry with the introduction of AM, ABS also published Guide for Additive Manufacturing this year.

It defines the ABS approval and certification process for AM facilities and AM parts by providing standards for AM design, feedstock material, pre-build, build and post-build processes, inspection and testing.