University of Twente and its partners have won this year’s Computable magazine’s SME IT Project of the Year award for their 3D printed ship propeller.
Considered to be the world’s largest, the propeller is the result of a collaboration between RAMLAB, shipbuilder Damen, IBM, Materials Innovation Institute (M2i)and the Universities of Twente and Delft.
The four-hundred-kilo propeller was printed at RAMLAB, an experimental workshop with 3D metal printers based in the port of Rotterdam this September.
UT researcher Wei Ya is in charge of this project. He is currently working to optimize the printing process in order to comply with the certification requirements.
The UT-led team is collaborating with IBM on big-data analyses for machine learning in order to automate the entire process.
The 3D printed ship propeller is an outcome of the so-called ‘Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing’ (WAAM) process. This process makes it possible to print exceptionally large products, such as propellers for large ships.
The propeller is made of an alloy of copper, nickel, aluminium and bronze. The universities’ researchers are further collaborating with industry leader RAMLAB, as well as Damen, Autodesk, Lincoln electric, Valk welding and other partners, to better their technique.
Drawing light on the award, UT professor Gert-willem Römer said that “The University of Twente has no shortage of innovative thinkers. The latest digital production methods are essential to bring about the fourth industrial revolution. The process of realizing digital production presents a host of both technical and scientific challenges. Additive Manufacturing of metal products, one of these new production methods, is popular in both the industrial and the academic world.”
Image credits and content: UT Twente