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Wilhelmsen makes delivery of 3D printed parts to Berge Bulk vessel

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Berge Mafadi, a Berge Bulk vessel, has received the world’s first commercial delivery of 3D printed scupper plugs as part of Wilhelmsen’s Early Adopter Programme.

The programme, where customers have exclusive access to on-demand additive manufacturing, was launched by Wilhelmsen’s Marine Products division in December 2019. Customers include Berge Bulk, Carnival Maritime, Thome Ship Management, OSM Maritime Group, Executive Ship Management and Wilhelmsen Ship Management.

Hakon Ellekjaer, Head of Venture, 3D printing, Wilhelmsen, said: "The company is excited to complete one of the first commercial deliveries of 3D printed parts in the maritime industry […] This is just the beginning of the journey, and the company is quickly expanding its offering, together with key development partners, to enable customers to benefit from the savings provided by 3D printing, digital inventory and on-demand localised manufacturing."

Wilhelmsen, as part of its ongoing cooperation with Ivaldi Group, is providing spare parts on demand to the selected six customers’ vessels around the globe. Parts in this programme are being monitored in close collaboration with class society DNV GL. Through a unique selection, digitisation, and documentation process, every part goes through a quality-controlled process where each part is given a print passport number. All necessary documentation relating to the manufacturing, design, and performance requirements of each part is then captured and enclosed with the delivered part. DNV GL, through the print passport number and their published rules and standards, are providing ecosystem assurance to the Wilhelmsen 3D printing venture.

Simon Ratcliffe, DNV GL, commented: “Wilhelmsen, Ivaldi, and DNV GL are testing a new universal part tracking system for purposes of quality control, part evolution and traceability of parts. The first 3D printed scupper plugs have been given unique identifying codes and are logged in a trial system that should enable tracking throughout the lifetime of the part.”

Wilhelmsen and Ivaldi have delivered several 3D printed parts to the Berge Bulk vessel, and scupper plugs were one of the part categories. There are numerous scupper plugs on a vessel. For convenience and readiness, each drainage hole on the open deck has its own scupper plug. Scupper plugs are used for closing drainage holes to prevent oil spills or other contaminant spills on a ship.

Sim Teck Siang, Procurement Manager, Berge Bulk, added: “Scupper plugs are expensive, and there are no universal dimensions, which means that when there is a broken element, a new scupper plug needs to be brought. With additive manufacturing, the company is able to procure scupper plugs faster, cheaper and locally. If any part breaks, Berge Bulk can replace that one part instead of the whole unit. It is exciting to be part of the Early Adopter Programme as on-demand additive manufacturing will revolutionise the spare parts industry.“

Captain Tarun K Gupta, Master of Berge Mafadi, said: “It is exciting for Berge Mafadi to try out new technology and the possibilities it will bring. Spare parts are currently a pain point, and the company experiences trouble with scupper plugs, for instance, as they are easily stolen for their brass components. They are expensive, and are constantly needing to be replaced. By replacing them with plastic, any possibility of theft is being eliminated, and they are received on-demand within a short period of time. The company is looking forward to experiencing the expanding offering from Wilhelmsen Ships Service.”

3D printed scupper plugs are equally as functional as traditional versions. In addition, they are also an assembly, which means that if a part breaks, that one part can easily be replaced instead of the whole scupper plug. Making them available through a digital warehousing solution means they are faster and easier to procure worldwide. Thanks to on-demand manufacturing technologies, it also means that only the exact number of parts required are produced, reducing costs and environmental footprint.

Espen Sivertsen, CEO of Ivaldi Group, commented: ”A commercial world first is a significant milestone for Ivaldi and its partners. Humble as the scupper plug may be, the company believes it is a step in transforming an entire industry: By sending files rather than scupper plugs, CO2e emissions are being reduced on this one part by up to 54%.“

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