thyssenkrupp and Wilhelmsen establish Joint Venture for Additive Manufacturing maritime spare parts for maritime industry

October 5, 2020

Left to right: Håkon Ellekjær, Head of Venture, 3D Printing, Wilhelmsen Ships Service; Nakul Malhotra, Vice President Open Innovation, Marine Products, Wilhelmsen Ships Service; Kenneth Lim, CTO, Maritime Port Authority of Singapore; Juergen Woehrmann, Head of Regional Platform Asia Pacific, thyssenkrupp Asia Pacific; and Kenlip Ong, Head of Additive Manufacturing Tech Center, thysenkrupp Innovations (Courtesy thyssenkrupp AG)

thyssenkrupp AG, Essen, Germany, has formalised a partnership with Wilhelmsen Ships Service AS, headquartered in Lysaker, Norway, one of the largest maritime services providers in the world. The partners will collaborate on delivering maritime spare parts using Additive Manufacturing, leveraging thyssenkrupp’s expertise in AM alongside Wilhelmsen’s maritime expertise and  experience in understanding the needs of vessel fleet managers.

Based on current data, maritime fleets spend approximately $13 billion a year on spare parts. With 50% of these vessels being older than fifteen years, availability of parts is limited, state the companies. This makes the fulfilment of orders for maritime spare parts costly and complicated, and in fact, the supply chain overheads involved can far outstrip the cost of the part itself.

Furthermore, traditional manufacturing processes such as machining and casting often involve long lead times, stretching into months. As a result, ship managers must carry high stock levels of parts to ensure that they can fulfil orders, leading to high capital costs.

Additive Manufacturing provides a solution to these issues by improving lead time and cost considerations, as suitable components are fabricated near the vessel location in a matter of weeks, and sometimes days.

According to the companies, the joint venture will position both thyssenkrupp and Wilhelmsen as leaders in AM fulfilment for the maritime sector. It is expected to be headquartered in Singapore and will serve key port locations around the world.

“We are already seeing very positive response from our maritime customers on Additive Manufacturing adoption,” stated Abhinav Singhal, director of thyssenkrupp Innovations. “They are realising the benefits from faster lead times, reduced costs and having more resilience in their spare parts supply chain.”

Singhal added, “This is going to be a true gamechanger for the maritime industry and we are proud to offer it alongside Wilhelmsen.”

Hakon Ellekjaer, Head of Venture, 3D Printing, Wilhelmsen, commented, “We are very excited to enter the next phase of our 3D printing journey, hand in hand with thyssenkrupp.”

Ellekjaer continued, “This joint venture will, we believe, take the lead as the de-facto supplier of 3D printed maritime spare parts, continuing to bring the benefits of Additive Manufacturing technology to shipping companies by reducing the cost of spare parts, lead times and environmental footprint.”

In the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

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