3D printing revolutionises the maritime sector

From propellers and components to entire ships, there is hardly anything additive manufacturing will not be able to make one day.

3D printing technology is still in its infancy, but experts agree that it will forever change the global flow of products; at the same time, however, it may open up entirely new perspectives for shipping. For example, by creating the ability to provide spare parts just in time at any place in the world. The 3D printing market harbours enormous potential: The American market research company International Data Corporation expects the 3D printing industry to grow by 15per cent annually over the next few years.

SMM, the leading international maritime trade fair, is once again a platform highlighting game-changing innovations and future-looking technologies in a hands-on format. Living up to this reputation, SMM will for the first time present a special exhibition on 3D printing this year. Its project partner is the Maritime Cluster Norddeutschland (MCN).

At the "Maritime 3D Printing Show Area@SMM" in Hall B6, exhibitors will showcase their capabilities in additive manufacturing, including companies such as Rolf Lenk, Gefertec, MMG, Treo, SLM as well as the Maritime Cluster Norddeutschland. Visitors will be able to speak with subject matter experts while watching live additive manufacturing processes using a variety of materials. What sets this technology apart is that “components are no longer manufactured geometrically through casting, drilling or milling but in an additive process layer by layer," explains Professor Claus Emmelmann, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Additive Production Technologies, IAPT.

Not only does this ensure a spectacular visual experience; "it also enables the production of designs of any level of complexity, far beyond anything anyone could have imagined in the past," says Professor Emmelmann. Weight reductions of up to 80per cent are possible. Companies exposed to intense competition could save substantial manufacturing and material costs while accelerating production times dramatically.