3D Print and Repair

Can 3D print technology be used for repair and reconditioning, reducing the number of scrapped maritime parts?   

That is exactly what PJ Diesel and a group of partners has set out to assess in a new project. In collaboration with MAERSK, Thürmer Tools, DNV GL and FORCE Technology, PJ Diesel Engineering has identified a number of suitable test parts that can be repaired with the use of laser cladding and cold spray 3D print technology. DNV GL will oversee the processes, and take part in quality assurance and verification.

Laser Cladding is an additive manufacturing technique in which powder is fed into a melt pool created by a laser. The laser is scanned across the surface to add material one layer at a time. A CAD solid model of the part is used to create the code to guide the laser. This technology has been around for some time now, but it is continuously improved and developed. The technology being applied in this project is brand new, with 6 powder feeders allowing for cladding quality that does not depend on direction of head movement.

With cold spray, a metal powder is sprayed onto a component below the metals melting point, hence “cold” spray. The technology allows a service provider or supplier to rebuild or strengthen a part with a metal alloy, instead of replacing it with a new. There are two types of cold spray; high pressure and low pressure. High pressure cold spray can be used with harder metals, but must be performed in a chamber. The low pressure cold spray consists of a portable kit that can be used manually, which enables on-site repair of parts, making the technology particularly relevant for e.g. oil rigs and vessels. Not only can scrapping of materials be reduced, but lead time can be minimized, reducing expensive down time.

“Working with the whole value chain and utilizing the latest technology with a specific focus on sustainability makes this project unique. To my knowledge, this combination of technology and “low budget” sustainable innovation has not been seen earlier in the maritime industry” – States Rasmus Elsborg-Jensen of PJ Diesel.

With the project, the group of partners has taken an important step towards exploring how emerging technologies can contribute to a more energy efficient and sustainable maritime industry. The project hopes to promote the use of repair rather than replacement, by creating cases.

The project is one of four Green Ship of the Future projects exploring different aspects of 3D print technology. The other projects deal with on-board print, large scale 3D print and 4D print. Besides their individual focus areas, the four projects also deal with 3D print and the impact on the maritime supply chain.

The projects will share their preliminary results at a breakfast meeting hosted by Green Ship of the Future on September 12th 2017. Go to www.greenship.org to learn more.

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