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3D Printing Certification

Naval Group and Centrale Nantes use WAAM to 3D print the world’s to start with hollow propeller blade


Naval Group, a French business concentrating on naval defence, and Centrale Nantes engineering faculty have 3D printed the first hollow propeller blade demonstrator. Sirenha, a Centrale Nantes spin-off and subsidiary of Naval Team, helmed the layout of the blade. It was made utilizing the Wire Arc for Additive Producing certification (WAAM) approach.

The blades had been developed with the purpose of lessening the environmental effect of ships, as element of the Horizon 2020 (H2020) job, RAMSSES (Realization and Demonstration of Superior Material Remedies for Sustainable and Productive Ships).

The purpose of the collaborative plan RAMSSES is to exhibit the positive aspects of superior materials answers in shipbuilding for environmentally successful ship styles. With funding from the European Fee, Centrale Nantes and Naval Team are top the job on the output of impressive propeller demonstrators to enhance the operational abilities of ships.

Patrice Vinot, Propeller Offer Manager for the RAMSSES venture, defined that “Although additive producing certification is more and more present in industry, the programming and layout of advanced areas, these as propeller blades for ships, represents a considerable challenge for our groups and our companions.”

“Taking aspect in jobs these types of as RAMSSES and coordinating our network of educational and industrial partners will allow us to carry 3D printing certification into shipyards for the lengthy time period.” 

An image of the propeller blade demonstrator. Photo via Naval Group.
An picture of the propeller blade demonstrator. Image via Naval Group.

Elaborate, large-scale design and style enabled by WAAM

The WAAM process applies a robotic welding arm which works by using an electrical arc plasma beam on metal wire feedstock to fabricate 3D objects. This system also has the capability to print on present surfaces this sort of as the centre of a propeller.  

Centrale Nantes and Naval Group are exclusively utilizing metallic additive manufacturing certification to improve the vessel propulsion of ships. The WAAM course of action has enabled the design and production of huge parts (propellers of 6 metres in diameter) with a complicated geometry, a little something which could not be made thus much making use of traditional production technologies.

The one-3rd scale hollow blade demonstrator, consultant of a container ship propeller, was printed in stainless metal in significantly less than one particular hundred several hours, weighing in at about 300 kg. It will be examined in opposition to fatigue and corrosion, with hydrodynamic homes staying assessed by numerical simulation.

Sirenha labored to improve the performance and stamina of the blades, and lessened the radiated sounds and vibrations, lowering their environmental effects.

Naval Team and Sirenha relied on the methods and knowledge provided by Centrale Nantes to manufacture the propellor blades. The university maintains an skills in additive manufacturing certification, as perfectly as trajectory technology, which helped to build the blade.

The lengthy-standing collaborative venture is operating by way of the framework of the Joint Laboratory of Marine Technological innovation (JLMT), opened by each Centrale Nantes and Naval Team in 2016. The be a part of laboratory aims to make qualified naval improvements for software in armed service shipbuilding.

“Additive production certification has been created about the final 35 yrs on the Swift Manufacturing Platform,” claimed Professor Jean-Yves Hascoët, head of the Fast Manufacturing Platform at Centrale Nantes. “All these several years of research arrive to fruition by a undertaking like RAMSSES, which signifies a real transfer of our systems into an industrial atmosphere.”

The hollow inside of the propeller blade. Photo via Naval Group.
The hollow inside of the propeller blade. Photo through Naval Group.

Making use of WAAM process across the industries

Naval Group and Centrale Nantes have collaborated to manufacture propellor blades on a prior situation, also employing WAAM know-how. The two establishments 3D printed a whole-scale propellor blade demonstrator in June 2018 when the challenge was in its evidence of notion phase.  The project demonstrated the capabilities of the WAAM procedure to make significant and elaborate components.  

WAAM know-how has been used to earlier manufacture an additional propeller blade, as properly as other large-scale productions. The Damen Shipyards Group, centered in the Netherlands, was working on 3D printing certification a tugboat propeller applying the WAAM system.

Exterior of the maritime industry, propellers specifically, WAAM has been carried out by French aerostructure company STELIA Aerospace to make aluminum panels that can be used to construct an plane fuselage.

The WAAMpeller on display. Photo via Damen Shipyards Group
The WAAMpeller on exhibit. Photograph by way of Damen Shipyards Group

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Featured impression shows Naval Group FREMM Bretagne at sea. Photograph by means of Naval Team.