Consortium installs 3D printed parts onboard oil tanker

ABS, Sembcorp Marine, 3D Metalforge and ConocoPhillips Polar Tankers Inc. (Polar) have successfully fabricated, tested, and installed functional additive manufactured parts onboard the oil tanker Polar Endeavour.

Illustration. Image by Navingo

Traditionally, parts used in shipbuilding and repair are manufactured via casting or forging techniques.

For this project, the consortium aimed to use additive manufacturing (AM) to fabricate three types of parts that surpass conventionally manufactured products in terms of quality.

The AM parts, that have passed approval, reliability and safety tests, include a gear set with shaft for centrifugal pump, a nozzle for combined brine/air ejector and a full flexible coupling for marine sanitation devices (MSDs) effluent pump.

Image Courtesy: ABS

“ABS is proud to be able to support this practical project, which produced and implemented additive manufactured parts on a Polar vessel. It’s a key development in a technology that certainly has a significant role to play in the future of the industry,” Patrick Ryan, ABS Senior Vice President, Global Engineering and Technology, commented.

“Safety and reliability are of the utmost importance to the operation of our vessels. Additive manufacturing has the potential to offer some exciting new opportunities to support these goals,” Robert Noyer, Polar Tankers Engineering Superintendent, said.

Also known as 3D printing, AM is the fabrication of parts by adding material layer by layer. It means products and components can be fabricated locally or potentially on board ships and offshore assets, shrinking the supply chain and lead times for specialized and complex parts, introducing new efficiencies driven by design innovation, reduced manufacturing time, and improvements in parts availability.