Berge Mafadi, a Berge Bulk vessel has received the world’s first commercial delivery of 3D printed scupper plugs, as part of Wilhelmsen’s Early Adopter Program.
The program, where customers have exclusive access to on-demand additive manufacturing was launched by Wilhelmsen’s Marine Products division in December 2019. Customers include Berge Bulk, Carnival Maritime, Thome Ship Management, OSM Maritime Group, Executive Ship Management and Wilhelmsen Ship Management.
“We are very excited with this milestone – completing one of the first commercial deliveries of 3D printed parts in the maritime industry,” said Hakon Ellekjaer, head of venture, 3D Printing, Wilhelmsen Ships Service. “This is just the beginning of the journey, and we are quickly expanding our offering, together with our key development partners, enabling our customers to benefit from the savings provided by 3D printing, digital inventory and on-demand localised manufacturing.”
Wilhelmsen, as part of its ongoing cooperation with Ivaldi Group, is providing spare parts on demand to the selected six customers’ vessels around the globe. Parts in this program are being monitored in close collaboration with class society DNV GL. Through a unique selection, digitisation, and documentation process, every part goes through a quality-controlled process where each part is given a print passport number. All necessary documentation relating to the manufacturing, design, and performance requirements of each part is then captured and enclosed with the delivered part. DNV GL, through the Print Passport Number and their published rules and standards, are providing ecosystem assurance to the Wilhelmsen 3D Printing venture.
“Wilhelmsen, Ivaldi, and DNV GL are testing a new universal part tracking system for purposes of quality control, part evolution and traceability of parts. The first 3D printed scupper plugs have been given unique identifying codes and are logged in a trial system that should enable tracking throughout the lifetime of the part,” said Simon Ratcliffe, DNV GL.
Wilhelmsen and Ivaldi have delivered several 3D printed parts to the Berge Bulk vessel, and scupper plugs were one of the part categories. There are numerous scupper plugs on a vessel. For convenience and readiness, each drainage hole on the open deck has its own scupper plug. Scupper plugs are used for closing drainage holes to prevent oil spills or other contaminant spills on a ship.
“Scupper plugs are expensive, and there are no universal dimensions, which means that when you have a broken element, you have to buy a new scupper plug. With additive manufacturing, we are able to procure scupper plugs faster, cheaper and locally. If any part breaks, we can replace that one part instead of the whole unit. We are excited to be part of the Early Adopter Program. On-demand additive manufacturing will revolutionise the spare parts industry” explained Sim Teck Siang, procurement manager, Berge Bulk.
“It is very exciting for us at Berge Mafadi to try out new technology and the possibilities it will bring. Spare parts are currently a pain point, and we have trouble with for instance scupper plugs as they are easily stolen for their brass components. They are expensive, and we are constantly needing to replace them. By replacing them with plastic, we are eliminating any possibility of theft, and best of all, we get them on-demand within a short period of time. We are looking forward to experiencing the expanding offering from Wilhelmsen Ships Service,” added Captain Tarun K Gupta, master of Berge Mafadi.
3D printed scupper plugs are equally as functional as traditional versions. In addition, they are also an assembly, which means that if a part breaks, that one part can easily be replaced, instead of the whole scupper plug. Making them available through a digital warehousing solution means they are faster and easier to procure worldwide. It also means, thanks to on-demand manufacturing technologies, that only the exact number of parts required are produced, reducing costs and environmental footprint.
“A commercial world first is a significant milestone for Ivaldi and our partners and we are grateful to them for taking the leap with us. Humble as the scupper plug may be, we believe it a step in transforming an entire industry: By sending files rather than scupper plugs we are amongst other things able to reduce CO2e emissions on this one part by some 54 per cent and this gives me great hope for the possibility of a more sustainable future for supply and logistics” commented Espen Sivertsen, CEO of Ivaldi Group.