Denmark Shipping Company, Maersk, Using 3D Printing to Fabricate Spare Parts on Ships

Share this Article

Back in April the United States Navy revealed that they had installed a 3D printer aboard one of their ships, the USS Essex. This news was somewhat expected as 3D printing is a technology which the Navy, as well as other mar-1branches of the U.S. military has shown interest in, in the past. Although, at the time, the Navy was only testing the machine out, and providing a training mechanism for sailors while the ship was at port, such technology is sure to eventually be used on board ships during actual military operations.

The Navy is not the only group using 3D printers on board ships. In fact, one of the world’s largest container shipping companies, Maersk, headquartered in Copenhagen mar-2Denmark, is using 3D printers as a way to fabricate spare parts on container ships.

The company which currently has a fleet of over 500 container ships, has been transporting goods around the globe for the last 110 years. This month they revealed that they had 3D printers installed on board their ships. The printers currently are capable of printing with ABS thermoplastics, however, the company is investigating the possible future utilization of powder based metal laser sintering machines.

When a part breaks on a container ship in the middle of the Ocean, it’s certainly not an easy or cheap task to provide a replacement part to that vessel, in a speedy manner. Time equals money when you are shipping millions of products across an ocean, thus 3D printing seemed to be the perfect solution.

“The idea is that we send the blueprint to the crew on board the tanker vessel, they will push ‘print’ and in a matter of hours get the part,” explained Märtha Josefine Rehnberg, a category manager at Maersk Procurement.

mar-feat

Engineers can be sitting at a desk in Copenhagen, get a call from a ship halfway around the world, send a simple .STL file to a computer on board that ship, and within a few hours a replacement part can be printed out and installed on the vessel.

Certainly the fact that thermoplastics are the only material able to be printed at this time on Maersk’s vessels, limits the type of parts able to be fabricated, however, within a few years time we may begin seeing more sophisticated laser, metal sintering printers making their way on board ships from all of the major container shipping companies out there. As prices drop and technology advances, it will be hard to ignore the utility that such machines possess. Let us know what you think about this use of 3D printing on board shipping vessels, in the Maersk 3D printing forum thread on 3DPB.com. Maersk has created the following video to explain how all this works, which you can watch below.

Share this Article


Recent News

INDEX Buys Controlling Stake in One Click Metal

Siemens Energy Uses Continuous Composites’ 3D Printing for Energy Generator Parts



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Guns

3D Printer Reviews


You May Also Like

Featured

Quantifying and Predicting Energy Consumption of Desktop 3D Printers

As the Earth continues to turn, more people are born, and more things are invented and manufactured, global energy consumption will obviously go up, not down. Burning fossil fuels is...

Fortify Adds Two New 3D Printers, Customization Software for Composite 3D Printing

Composite 3D printing startup Fortify has announced the launch of two new FLUX printers, and a new software platform to let users have more control over the print process. The...

Continuous Fiber 3D Printing Used for USAF Aircraft Wing Structure

Idaho-based company Continuous Composites owns the earliest granted patents on Continuous Fiber 3D Printing, or CF3D, which can reduce manufacturing lead time and manual labor and enable the production of...

Ricoh to Supply Impossible Objects Composite 3D Printing to European Market

A new partnership between Impossible Objects and Ricoh 3D will make new composite-enhanced parts available to European Ricoh 3D customers. The parts, created via Impossible Objects’ much-touted CBAM process, will...


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.