At the end of November 2017 the world’s first Class approved 3D printed ship’s propeller, the WAAMpeller, was revealed at Damen Shipyard Group’s headquarters in the Netherlands. This ground-breaking success is the result of a close collaboration between RAMLAB, Promarin, Autodesk, Bureau Veritas and Damen. Two M2i PostDoc researchers, Constantinos Goulas and Wei Ya, worked on the succesfull WAAMpeller.

The five-company partnership started pooling their collective resources and knowledge to develop the world’s first 3D printed ship’s propeller in the first half on 2017. Promarin provided the design of the triple-blade propeller. The Port of Rotterdam’s RAMLAB (Rotterdam Additive Manufacturing LAB) carried out fabrication using Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) techniques, supported by Autodesk’s expertise in software, robotics and additive manufacturing. Damen provided Research and Development resources in addition to one of its Stan Tug 1606 vessels for operational testing purposes. Bureau Veritas’ role was to verify the entire development, production and testing process.

Future thinking

The WAAMpeller is just the start of the development of the large scale 3D printing. M2i is collaborating in the new NWO Perspectief program  ‘Additive Manufacturing for Extra Large Metal Components’ (AiM2XL). The aim of the program is to develop the large scale 3D printing even further. The program is a collaboration of 19 companies as RAMLAB, Allseas, Autodesk, Damen, Fokker, Huisman and Shell and the universities TU Delft, TU Twente, TU Eindhoven and University of Groningen. The first Aim2XL researchers will start in the first half of 2018.

Video of the WAAMpeller