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Wilhelmsen and thyssenkrupp launch 3D printing joint venture

From left to right: Häkon Ellejær, Wilhelmsen; Nakul Malhotra, Wilhelmsen; Kenneth Lim, Maritime Port Authority of Singapore; Jürgen Wöhrmann, thyssenkrupp Asia Pacific; Kenlip Ong, thyssenkrupp Innovations From left to right: Häkon Ellejær, Wilhelmsen; Nakul Malhotra, Wilhelmsen; Kenneth Lim, Maritime Port Authority of Singapore; Jürgen Wöhrmann, thyssenkrupp Asia Pacific; Kenlip Ong, thyssenkrupp Innovations

Wilhelmsen’s Marine Products division and thyssenkrupp have signed a joint venture letter of intent to re-examine and optimise the production and delivery process of 3D printed spare parts for the maritime market.

The new venture follows on from Wilhelmsen’s 3DP Early Adopter Program that was launched in December 2019. The program gives customers exclusive access to on-demand additive manufacturing. Customers include Berge Bulk, Carnival Maritime, Thome Ship Management, OSM Maritime Group, Executive Ship Management and Wilhelmsen Ship Management.

Based on current data, the maritime industry spends billions of dollars every year on spare parts; with 50 per cent of these vessels are older than 15 years, availability of parts are limited. This makes fulfillment of orders for maritime spare parts costly and complicated. According to the companies, the supply chain overheads involved often outstrip the cost of the part itself. Moreover, traditional manufacturing processes such as machining and casting often involve long lead-times stretching into months. The traditional model of manufacturing and distribution of spare parts has largely remained unchallenged for decades, until now.

“We are very excited to enter the next phase of our 3D printing journey, hand in hand with thyssenkrupp. With this joint venture we believe we will take the lead as the de-facto supplier of 3D printed maritime spare parts, continuing to bring the benefits of AM technology to shipping companies by reducing the cost of spare parts, lead times and environmental footprint”, said Hakon Ellekjaer, head of venture, 3D Printing, Wilhelmsen.

Additive manufacturing, or 3D Printing, disrupts the costly and time-consuming spare parts status quo, as suitable components are fabricated near the vessel location in a matter of weeks, sometimes days.

“We are already seeing a very positive response from our maritime customers on the additive manufacturing adoption,” commented Abhinav Singhal, director of thyssenkrupp Innovations. “They are realising the benefits from faster lead times, reduced costs and having more resilience in their spare parts supply chain. This is going to be a true gamechanger for the maritime industry and we are proud to offer it alongside Wilhelmsen.”

The joint venture will offer a customised, on demand, and more efficient process of obtaining selected spare parts. Expected to be headquartered in Singapore, it will serve the key port locations around the world.

In addition to the collaboration with thyssenkrupp, Wilhelmsen continue to work with additive manufacturing company Ivaldi Group on a number of 3D printing software applications. 

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