Wilhelmsen has partnered with Ivaldi Group to deploy 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing.  They will start in a facility in Singapore.

The factory is capable of on-demand production to provide 3D printed parts to select partners.  This is part of their early adopters program in a port that sees more than 100 vessel visits a day.

“Looking at the costs associated with our marine products sales, the supply chain costs are frequently at least as large as the Cost of Goods Sold,” says Kjell Andre Engen, EVP of Marine Products, Wilhelmsen Ships Service.

He adds that additive manufacturing will reduce costs and environmental footprint while also increasing service capabilities to serve customers.

Revolutionizing supply chain

The partners see a clear opportunity to leverage existing infrastructure and new technology to revolutionize the current supply chain.

One of the first customer is Berge Bulk. Sim Teck Siang, procurement manager, says the maritime industry faces the challenges of long lead times, limited parts availability and extensive logistics.

The company operates and manages over 50 vessels.  Hence, they require quick delivery of customised marine parts to vessels.

He says that the capabilities of using a diverse range of materials to produce the parts required is impressive.  Moreover, 3D printing also has versatility in the customization of design and production of parts.

Wilhelmsen Ship Management is another customer participating in the joint programme. Capt. J. N. Patwardhan, GM, says on-demand low cost quality parts is a benefit.

“Considering our present day spend and lead time on ship spares, additive manufacturing will help us better manage inventories and predict deliveries, thereby reducing operating costs.

“The possibilities of using alternate materials to replace expensive legacy materials will reduce pilferage while remaining compliant with industry requirements. All of these excite us and we are very eager to work on this.”

Low cost, fast delivery

The maritime industry has aging fleets and equipment in use for over 10 years.  Therefore, there is high demand for marine parts.  However, OEMs may not carry them.

The supply chain getting the parts to the vessel on time, no matter where in the world, is another pain-point.

Espen Sivertsen, CEO of Ivaldi Group, says: “Instead of having to buy a new welding mask because of a broken clip, a new clip was printed for one-tenth of the price. It was also delivered within 24 hours as opposed to having to wait the 3-4 weeks it would otherwise take to ship to the customer.”

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