Damen collaborates with industry partners to develop 3D-printed ship propeller


Damen Shipyards Group has entered a cooperative consortium with Rotterdam Additive Manufacturing Lab (RAMLAB), Promarin, Autodesk and Bureau Veritas to develop a 3D-printed ship's propeller.

The 1,300mm propeller will be named WAAMpeller and is set to be world’s first class-approved, 3D-printed material of its kind. It will be developed on the basis of a Promarin design, which is typically found on a Damen Stan Tug 1606.

Damen Research and Development department project engineer KeesCusters said: “Three students from Delft Technical University were investigating the potential of 3D printing for us. They brought us into contact with the other members of the consortium.

“What is quite unique about this group of five companies is that, while we have joint interests, we also have individual aims.

“This leads to a very productive and cooperative atmosphere in what is a very exciting project.”

Port of Rotterdam’s RAMLAB will manufacture the WAAMpeller from a bronze alloy using a combination of Autodesk software and the Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) process.

The propeller will weigh approximately180kg, and will be verified by international certification agency Bureau Veritas.

"Our ambition is to demonstrate that the research phase for 3D printing in the maritime sector is over, and that it can now be effectively applied in operations."

The First WAAMpeller unit is scheduled to be printed by the end of the year, and is expected to undergo full-scale trials with Damen upon completion.

Custers added: “We will be performing a comprehensive programme that will include bollard pull and crash test scenarios.

“Our ambition is to demonstrate that the research phase for 3D printing in the maritime sector is over, and that it can now be effectively applied in operations.”

Damen intends to eventually build more effective, more cost-efficient and more environmentally friendly vessels via the WAAMpeller project.


Image: The 3D printed WAAMpeller will be based on a Promarin design that is typically found on a Damen Stan Tug 1606. Photo: courtesy of Damen Shipyards Group.