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Damen launches 3D-printed ship propeller

The propeller was developed by the company in collaboration with Rotterdam Additive Manufacturing LAB (RAMLAB), Promarin, Autodesk and Bureau Veritas.

As part of the partnership, which started seven months ago, Promarin provided the design of the triple-blade propeller.

Fabrication was conducted by the Port of Rotterdam’s RAMLAB using wire arc additive manufacturing (WAAM) techniques, while Autodesk provided software, robotics and additive manufacturing services.

RAMLAB managing director Vincent Wegener said: “Production of the second WAAMpeller was greatly improved because we had learned a lot from producing the prototype.

“This mainly concerned the hardware/software interaction because, when laying down 298 layers of nickel aluminium bronze alloy, it is important to have a tight control on all process parameters.”

Towards the collaboration, Damen contributed research and development resources, as well as one of its Stan Tug 1606 vessels for operational testing purposes.

Meanwhile, Bureau Veritas was responsible for verification of the entire development, production and testing process.

During the testing phase, bollard pull and crash stop testing in addition to speed trials were carried out.

Damen Shipyard Group R&D project engineer Kees Custers said: “We are pleased to report that the WAAMpeller displayed the same behaviour as a conventional casted propeller in all of the tests.

“This includes the same level of performance in the crash stop scenario, which, going from full throttle ahead to full throttle reverse, is the heaviest loading that a propeller can experience.”

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