Additive manufacturing: 3D printed maritime parts delivered by drones

Engineering | future of production | innovation | thyssenkrupp worldwide | The wonders of additive manufacturing and technological innovation on full display at the Maritime Drone Estate Launch: There is no doubt that Additive Manufacturing – also known as 3D printing – represents the new era for manufacturing. The recent thyssenkrupp and Wilhelmsen joint venture provides positive proof of additive manufacturing’s far-reaching benefits.

The groundbreaking partnership is already making good on its promise to leverage on thyssenkrupp’s expertise in additive manufacturing and Wilhelmsen’s long standing supply know-how and extensive maritime distribution network to offer a better way to source for spare parts – through its newly developed additive manufacturing fulfilment platform.

Additive Manufacturing thyssenkrupp

The platform currently serves more than 3000 vessels from key locations worldwide, addressing and solving some of the biggest pain points through on-demand manufacturing – some of which includes long lead time, part obsolescence, poor part performance, and a high carbon footprint. Cooperating with several Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), the joint venture is empowering OEMs to reduce their supply chain costs and improve customer experience through increased serviceability and shorter delivery times in key locations.


Recently, thyssenkrupp and Wilhelmsen demonstrated a key milestone when it successfully digitized, printed, tested, and delivered a cooling water pipe connector via drone to MMA Offshore’s vessel, MMA Monarch, during the Maritime Drone Estate Launch in Singapore. The event was certainly a sight to behold, with the part delivered by Singaporean start-up F-Drones, and witnessed by fellow attendees, including the Guest of Honor Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State for Transport and Foreign Affairs.

Additive Manufacturing thyssenkrupp

Kawasaki Heavy Industries, which commissioned the part, was impressed with the results, with the company’s AM Project Marine Machinery Leader, Atsushi Ogura, stating “Additive manufacturing offers clear benefits in performance, lead time and enables a more resilient and greener supply chain. We are proud to be working with the thyssenkrupp and Wilhelmsen joint venture, the AM market leader for the marine industry. The successful production and delivery establishes a solid foundation for a future collaboration between Kawasaki Heavy Industries and the thyssenkrupp and Wilhelmsen joint venture.”

The cooling water pipe connector from Kawasaki Heavy Industries also illustrates the opportunities additive manufacturing presents in delivering clear benefits to both the OEM and end user – shorter lead times, improved part performance, and lower carbon footprint, as compared to the traditional supply chain. Prior to delivery, the part was tested and assured in quality through the venture’s DNV endorsed Quality Assurance Framework.

Additive Manufacturing thyssenkrupp

The part was in fact developed as part of the Joint Industry Program in Singapore with the Wilhelmsen-led consortium awarded funding by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) under its Maritime Innovation and Technology (MINT) Fund. The consortium includes original equipment manufacturers such as Wärtsilä, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Hamworthy Pumps; class society DNV; technology partners thyssenkrupp, Ivaldi Group and Tytus3D; and several forward leaning end users.

“We are honoured to be on this journey with Kawasaki Heavy Industries who have entrusted us not only with their valuable IP, but the confidence for us to deliver successfully. I believe this is a true testament that the venture has the right ingredients for success. We will continue to provide this same level of accomplishment to our ever-expanding list of OEM partners,” says Kenlip Ong, Head of Additive Manufacturing Tech Centre, thyssenkrupp.

“Additive and on-demand manufacturing is a unique opportunity for MMA Offshore and solves many of the supply chain challenges we encounter as marine operators. The ability to print and deliver spare parts on demand results in a far more effective and efficient supply chain. MMA Offshore is a proud customer of the 3D printing program by Wilhelmsen and thyssenkrupp, and we are looking forward to increasing the adoption of AM parts through this partnership across our fleet,” says Greg Reece, General Manager – Strategy & Innovation, MMA Offshore.

Additive Manufacturing thyssenkrupp

“We are excited to once again share an excellent use case presented by additive manufacturing, where OEMs and end users are experiencing a solution that is faster, better, and more sustainable – through on-demand manufacturing close to the point of need. The future of supply chain is now, and we are continuously expanding our service to key locations worldwide,” says Hakon Ellekjaer, Head of Venture, 3D Printing, Wilhelmsen.

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