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Wilhelmsen expands 3D printing horizons with start-up F-drones

Wilhelmsen’s Marine Products division has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Singapore-based drone delivery provider F-drones, for last mile delivery of its 3D printed spare parts.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"} As the only drone delivery provider currently authorised by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) to execute drone deliveries Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) to vessels at anchorage, the agreement with F-drones enables Wilhelmsen to broaden the scope of its exclusive on-demand additive manufacturing service.

“Exploring safe, reliable and inexpensive alternatives for last mile delivery of our 3D printed parts to our customers is key for us moving forward. F-Drones is actively developing a solution and their ambitions are very much aligned with our own, to disrupt the existing supply chain and offer a service that is faster, cheaper and greener,” said Hakon Ellekjaer, head of venture, 3D Printing, Wilhelmsen.

Currently refining the next iteration of its own proprietary drone system, capable of carrying 5kg over a distance of 50km, F-drones’ long-term ambition is to develop a larger scale drone capable of delivering 100kg to vessels up to 100km away.

Yeshwanth Reddy, co-founder of F-drones, commented: “We are excited to be working together with Wilhelmsen’s 3D printing venture, which is at the forefront of commercialising on-demand manufacturing for the maritime industry. Its capability can provide a large variety of parts in different shapes, sizes, and materials. With our drones that can carry much bigger items over longer distances, we can catalyse the adoption of on-demand printing of parts for the maritime industry”.

As part of an exclusive Early Adopter Program for 3D printed marine spare parts, 6 customers signed up with Wilhelmsen’s Marine Products division in December 2019 to begin utilising on-demand additive manufacturing. Existing customers include Berge Bulk, Carnival Maritime, Thome Ship Management, OSM Maritime Group, Executive Ship Management and Wilhelmsen Ship Management.

Wilhelmsen is providing 3D printed spare parts on demand to the selected six customers’ vessels around the globe, reducing the typically high supply chain costs, long lead times and impact on the environment associated with the traditional supply chain. Through a unique selection, digitisation, and documentation process, parts are produced on-demand, without having to go through time consuming and costly storage, shipping, customs and receiving processes. {/mprestriction}

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