Wei Ya, Kelvin Hamilton

On-Demand Spare Parts for the Marine Industry with Directed Energy Deposition: Propeller Use Case


As additive manufacturing (AM) gains greater industrial exposure, there is a drive towards defining practical, high-value processes and products. Defining viable business cases is critical to ensure successful technology adoption. Given the marine industry’s slow uptake of AM, the potential of Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) to produce spare parts on demand is promising. It has the potential to reduce storage and transportation costs of spare parts by bringing production closer to end use locations.

Using a propeller as a familiar marine industry object for a case study, the authors focused and explored four different design iterations to highlight the opportunity and design freedom offered through AM for development time and cost reductions by producing components on a needs basis in close proximity to where they are required. Designing, preparing for manufacture, manufacturing and post processing these components exposes a considerable portion of the process chain from a hardware and software perspectives.

Current trend towards producing locally along with the intersection of Wire and Arc AM, the flexibility offered by software and hardware coupled with high cost pressures of the marine industry make this spare part on-demand concept particularly attractive.

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