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Wärtsilä Marine Testing Potential of Additive Manufacturing

Logistic News - Published on Fri, 12 Jul 2019

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When Wärtsilä Marine Solutions took the decision to utilize additive manufacturing to create a vital component for an inert gas system, initial production prototypes displayed an unexpected characteristic. In this new field, with new potential, DNV GL’s established expertise was on hand to help. Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, has the potential to transform the maritime equipment supply chain. With the adoption of technology enabling printing in metal, vital spare parts and system components can now be printed on demand in locations around the world, including on vessels themselves. The result is dramatically reduced lead times, costs, labour needs, stock requirements and environmental impact, as well as the complete disruption of traditional business models.

And that’s just the supply side. The impact on manufacturing capability is just as radical. Suddenly the constraints of traditional processes can be broken, with machines bringing previously impossible designs to life through the precise application of layer upon layer of metals. For the frontrunners in maritime manufacturing, such as Wärtsilä Moss AS, it represents a special kind of magic.

Unique potential

He said that “We came up with a new design that could only be realized with AM fabrication. The geometry of the part, the complexity involved in producing it, makes it far too difficult and expensive to manufacture using traditional methods. It can only be brought to life with AM.”

Working with stainless steel and utilizing a fabrication process called selective laser melting (also known as laser-based powder bed fusion, the team and their selected supplier – in partnership with the University of South-Eastern Norway – created a unique nozzle, one theoretically capable of greater spray adjustment and performance than anything else on the market.

However, initial quality assessment identified an anomaly. An anomaly no one –not at Wärtsilä Moss AS, the AM supplier or the university, could explain. “About halfway through the PBF printing process a shift occurred, causing a small yet noticeable offset, or ridge, on the nozzle,” Lindløv reveals, adding “It was only 0.375 mm, but it was unexpected. Our question was, how will this affect the integrity of the material and the operation of the part itself? And we couldn’t answer that, so we needed someone that could. That’s why we approached DNV GL.”

Nozzle and cap assembly

The complex geometry of the inert gas nozzle (centre), which fits into the cap (at left; both parts assembled at right), can only be produced using Selective Laser Melting, an additive manufacturing process.

3D vision

Ramesh Babu Govindaraj, Principal Material Specialist, is part of a DNV GL team that has been looking into the potential of 3D printing since 2016. This work has encompassed the initiation of a number of JDPs, pilot studies, innovation papers and, in November 2017, the introduction of DNV GL’s first classification guidelines for the approval of 3D printed products (class guideline DNVGL-CG-0197). In July 2018 this was followed by the class programme for Approval of Manufacture (DNVGL-CP-0267) for AM, and DNV GL has since included AM as an accepted process for ships and offshore (similar to rolling, casting and forging) in ship rule DNVGL-RU-SHIP Pt 2 Ch 1 and offshore standard DNVGL-OS-B101.

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Posted By : Mohan Sharma on Fri, 12 Jul 2019
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