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First 3D-printed class-approved propeller unveiled in the Netherlands

Monday, 11 Dec 2017

Following completion of successful November tests on a Damen Stan Tug 1606, the world’s first 3D-printed propeller, class-approved by Bureau Veritas (BV), has been unveiled at Damen Shipyard Group’s Netherlands headquarters.

WAAMpeller trials on a Damen tug are completed

The triple-blade propeller, WAAMpeller, which consists of 298 layers of nickel aluminium bronze alloy, is the result of an intensive research and development effort involving five partners – RAMLAB, Promarin, Autodesk, Bureau Veritas and Damen.
The propeller was designed by Promarin and fabricated at The Port of Rotterdam’s Additive Manufacturing Laboratory (RAMLAB) using wire arc additive manufacturing (WAAM) technology, with additional software, robotics and additive manufacturing support from Autodesk. Damen provided R&D resources and one of its Stan Tug 1606 tugs while the whole development, production and testing process was overseen and verified by BV.
The test programme involved all of the usual processes including bollard pull trials, crash stops and speed trials. The WAAMpeller displayed the same behaviour as a conventional casted propeller throughout the tests, including the crash stop process in which the switch from full throttle ahead to full throttle astern exerts the heaviest load on a vessel’s propeller.