3D printed marine parts validated after successful tests aboard the Endeavor tanker


3D printing service provider Metalforge has successfully tested three different 3D printed parts aboard ConocoPhillips Polar Tankers’ Endeavor tanker.

In a pioneering project, 3D Metalforge worked with ConocoPhillips, engineering services provider Sembcorp Marine and classification society American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) to fabricate, test and install 3D printed parts on board. tanker Endeavor, which were in service. for six months.

The parts have now been collected and inspected by the Endeavor and ABS team, and have been validated to be in good working order.

“We are delighted with the performance of the parts and the success of the project,” said Patrick Ryan, ABS senior vice president, global engineering and technology. “This is an important step forward for a technology that certainly has an important role to play in the future of the maritime industry.

“ABS is committed to ensuring that these types of parts are introduced without compromising safety. “

ConocoPhillips Polar Tankers’ tanker Endeavor. Photo via ConocoPhillips Polar Tankers.

Marine and offshore expansion of 3D Metalforge

3D Metalforge offers a range of production, design consulting and training services, supported by its diverse portfolio of 3D printers and SLM, DED, MJF and FFF post-processing machines. The company is primarily aimed at the maritime industry, but is increasingly targeting applications in sectors such as oil, gas and construction.

To this end, the company opened its additive manufacturing (AMC) center in Singapore in 2017 equipped with end-to-end production capabilities, and subsequently signed two memoranda of understanding with the Singapore Maritime and Port Authority. to develop a temporal inventory of 3D printed parts.

3D Metalforge has since expanded with a new 21-system print farm and went public on the ASX in a move that has raised A $ 10 million in capital. Shortly after completing its IPO, the company unveiled several other updates, including a new Texas-based plant opening an “AM port facility” equipped with Hybrid Wire Arc (W -HAAM) and become a certified pump impeller supplier for manufacturer of Flowserve pumps and valves.

More recently, 3D Metalforge delivered 3D printed heat exchanger parts to one of oil and gas conglomerate Shell’s offshore facilities “in record time.” The components have been designed to improve the thermal dynamics of heat exchangers and condensers to reduce their probability of failure.

An aerial view of a Singapore shipyard.
3D Metalforge has continuously targeted marine 3D printing applications in Singapore. Photo via Maritime Executive.

Installation of 3D printed parts on the Endeavor

Traditionally, parts used in shipbuilding and repair tend to be made using conventional techniques such as casting and forging. For this project, the consortium chose to take advantage of 3D printing to manufacture three types of parts that match the quality of conventionally manufactured parts, while shortening lead times and improving the efficiency of the production line. supply.

The three parts chosen for the project included a set of gears and a gear shaft for the tanker’s boiler fuel feed pump, a flexible coupling for a marine sanitation device pump, and a ejection nozzle for a fresh water generator.

3D Metalforge manufactured the parts using its portfolio of 3D printing technologies, which were then installed and commissioned on ConocoPhillips’ Endeavor tanker for six months.

“The superior performance of these parts in service is a testament to the rigorous engineering, manufacturing and post-production tests put in place by the team involved in this company,” said Robert Noyer, Engineering Superintendent of ConocoPhillips Polar. Tankers. “We look forward to future opportunities to support our vessels with this technology. “

Metalforge 3D printed tubes are mounted on Shell's offshore heat exchanger.
3D Metalforge 3D printed 20 individual tubes, shown mounted on Shell’s offshore heat exchanger. Photo via 3D Metalforge.

Validation of Metalforge 3D parts

ABS has been helping the shipping industry adopt and accelerate additive manufacturing since 2017 and released the ABS Guide to Additive Manufacturing earlier this year. The guide focuses on two main metal 3D printing processes, PBF and DED, and outlines the ABS approval and certification process for additive manufacturing facilities and parts.

The guide provides standards on 3D print design, raw materials, pre-construction, construction and post-construction processes, inspection and testing.

As part of the project, the 3D printed components of 3D Metalforge operated aboard the Endeavor for a period of six months, before being recovered and inspected by the tanker’s crew. ABS remotely inspected the parts and validated them as still in good working order.

“The success of this project bodes well for the adoption of additive manufacturing in the marine industry,” said Simon Kuik, R&D manager at Sembcorp Marine. “Through additive manufacturing, Sembcorp Marine is able to customize parts for our customers, reduce material waste and eliminate inefficiencies in the supply chain. This increases our value proposition as a provider of innovative one-stop solutions for the offshore, marine and energy industries and affirms our sustainability ethic. “

According to 3D Metalforge, the project has demonstrated its continued commitment to spearheading the adoption of 3D printing in the maritime sector and beyond.

“We are proud to work as a trusted partner, with companies like ABS, Sembcorp Marine and ConocoPhillips Polar Tankers to deliver greater value through new and innovative manufacturing solutions, and to help meet the changing challenges of component manufacturing, supply chain and sustainability, ”said Matthew Waterhouse, Managing Director of 3D Metalforge.

“The inspection and validation of these additively manufactured components supports our belief in this technology and its application. This exposure to the capabilities of additive manufacturing will expand its commercial applications and acceptance in the future. “

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Featured Image Exhibitions ConocoPhillips Polar Tankers’ tanker Endeavor. Photo via ConocoPhillips Polar Tankers.


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