Wilhelmsen ups its 3D printing game in Singapore

Wilhelmsen has partnered with Ivaldi Group to deploy an additive manufacturing facility in the Wilhelmsen Ships Service’ facilities in Singapore. The local micro factory capable of on-demand production provides 3D printed parts to select partners as part of their early adopters program.

“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,” commented Kjell Andre Engen, executive vice president of marine products at Wilhelmsen Ships Service, adding: “Additive manufacturing with a technology partner like Ivaldi will enable us to reduce costs and environmental footprint while also increasing our service capabilities to serve our customers”.

Wilhelmsen and Ivaldi said in a release they see a clear opportunity to leverage existing infrastructure and new technology to revolutionise shipping’s current supply chain.

One of the first customer partners of this joint programme is Berge Bulk. Sim Teck Siang, procurement manager, Berge Bulk, said: “Long lead times, limited parts availability and extensive logistics are some of the challenges faced by the maritime spare parts industry. Operating and managing over 50 vessels, we require spare parts to be customized and delivered to our vessels efficiently and in a short amount of time. The advancement of 3D printing technology, and its capabilities of using a diverse range of materials to produce the parts we require, is impressive. We look forward to explore 3D printing’s increasing versatility in the customization of design and production of parts on demand via this joint programme.”

Wilhelmsen noted in a release that the maritime industry has aging fleets and equipment in use for over 10 years, resulting in high demand for spare parts that are not always carried by the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The supply chain getting the parts to the vessel on time, no matter where in the world, is another “pain-point” companies are facing, Wilhelmsen pointed out.

“Ivaldi Group is working with stakeholders in the industry, from OEMs to vessels’ crews, to be able to revolutionise the spare parts’ supply chain. Using the Ivaldi Group system is already proving cost-effective. 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 three to four weeks it would otherwise take to ship to the customer,” said Espen Sivertsen, CEO of Ivaldi Group.

Wilhelmsen is also pioneering drone use in Singapore which it believes could slash shore-to-ship costs by as much as 90%.

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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