3D printing takes off in Singapore

3D printing shipping spare parts is now firmly ‘a thing’ with news from Singapore of significant take-up among shipmanagers and local owners for this new technology that could revolutionise maritime supply chains.

A number of global cruise, dry bulk and shipmanagement companies have signed up to Wilhelmsen’s 3DP printing early adopter program (EAP) for 3D printing, eliminating the need for physical inventory storage, often complex distribution, and typically high logistics costs.

A strategic move by the six early adopters, Carnival Maritime, Thome Ship Management, OSM Maritime Group, Berge Bulk, Executive Ship Management and Wilhelmsen Ship Management have all signed up with Wilhelmsen’s Marine Products division to begin utilising on-demand additive manufacturing.

Wilhelmsen, as part of its ongoing cooperation with Ivaldi Group, will provide spare parts on demand to the selected six customers’ vessels around the globe. Through a unique digitisation and certification process, parts will be produced on-demand, without having to go through time consuming and costly storage, shipping, customs and receiving processes.

“The savings from reduced cost, time and environmental footprint provided by 3D printing, digital inventory and on-demand localized manufacturing of maritime spare parts is a tremendous opportunity for our valued subscribers to be ahead of their rivals,” said Hakon Ellekjaer, Wilhelmsen’s head of venture, 3D Printing, adding, “We believe on-demand manufacturing technologies are going to completely reshape the maritime supply chain.”

Commenting on their participation in the program, Peter Schellenberger, managing director of OSERV, part of OSM Maritime Group, said: “We clearly see that we have to convert buzzwords into action and embark on meaningful and solid trials if we truly believe that 3D printing in shipping can and will be one of the future disruptors. Better shape than follow.”

Both Wilhelmsen Ship Management and Berge Bulk have been benefitting from the convenience and flexibility offered by 3D printing for over a year, acting as the beta testers for the system, ahead of its official launch this week in Singapore.

Teck Siang Sim, procurement manager for Berge Bulk, commented: “We are excited about the possibilities this will bring. Not only benefiting the supply chain but also the ability to modify and improve parts with input from end-users’ experience.”

Wilhelmsen began their partnership with Ivaldi in early 2017, bringing Ivaldi’s proprietary virtual warehouse and on-demand manufacturing technologies into Wilhelmsen’s global supply chain via an ownership stake.

Starting with smaller polymer and metal parts, spare parts are 3D printed and delivered within hours to vessels who subscribe to their services.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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