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Keppel receives DNV verification for world’s largest 3D printed shipboard fitting

The panama chock in the Singapore lab The panama chock in the Singapore lab

Keppel Technology & Innovation (KTI) has received a verification certificate for a 3D printed deck mounted type Panama Chock (SWL150Ton) from DNV. The component, which is intended for non-class maritime applications, is the world’s largest 3D-printed shipboard fitting.

Panama Chocks are large shipboard fittings for towing and mooring, traditionally manufactured by casting, and are welded to a ship as a supporting hull structure. This component was manufactured by KTI’s partner AML3D (ASX:AL3) using its patented Wire Additive Manufacturing (WAM) process, which used medium strength structural steel grade ER70S-6 wire feedstock.

The verification by DNV follows extensive research, production and testing by KTI with end users Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M) and technology partners AML3D and confirms that the component has met all the primary test requirements in KTI’s project material specification with satisfactory results.

Additive manufacturing (AM) – the industrial equivalent of 3D printing – is an emerging technology which uses 3D model data to fabricate parts, enabling, among other benefits, significant time savings. Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing, or WAAM, has the potential to enable a productivity step change in shipbuilding, and is able to 3D print marine grade metal structures at a scale well beyond other commercially available metal 3D printing technologies.

“KTI has been working on this project with Keppel O&M, DNV and AML3D since 2019, and we are proud to achieve this endorsement. Keppel is transforming the way it harnesses technology and KTI is supporting this by collaborating with Keppel business units to innovate and create value. This is in line with Keppel’s Vision 2030, which includes leveraging advanced technologies to drive growth,” said Francois van Raemdonck, managing director of KTI.

Aziz Merchant, executive director of Keppel Marine & Deepwater Technology, the technology arm of Keppel O&M, said: “Keppel O&M is constantly exploring new technologies to stay ahead in the industry and additive manufacturing has the potential to increase the efficiency of shipyard operations. The 3D printing of the Panama Chock shows that large components can be made available with shorter lead times and with equal standards of quality and performance. We are encouraged by the verification and we look forward to exploring how AM can be implemented on a wider scale.”

 As part of the qualification process a 1,450 kg Panama Chock was designed and produced to meet international standards and KTI’s project specific material specification. Material yield strength was twice that of the original cast material and was produced with acceptable internal soundness that was confirmed by various non-destructive testing and evaluation methods.

Throughout the production and testing processes, there was close and collaborative engagement between DNV, KTI and AML3D. Factors such as functional specifications, safety, testing procedures and acceptance criteria were all subjected to scrutiny by experts.

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