Wilhelmsen launches exclusive early adopter program for 3D printed marine spare parts

A number of global cruise, dry bulk and ship management companies have signed up to Wilhelmsen’s 3DP printing early adopter program (EAP) for 3D printing, eliminating the need for physical inventory storage, often complex distribution, and typically high logistics costs.
Press release |

A strategic move by the six early adopters, Carnival Maritime, Thome Ship Management, OSM Maritime Group, Berge Bulk, Executive Ship Management and Wilhelmsen Ship Management have all signed up with Wilhelmsen’s Marine Products division to begin utilizing on-demand additive manufacturing.

Launching their new 3D printing program in Singapore, with a reception at Pier 71, the port innovation driver created by NUS Enterprise and by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), EAP customers, along with key partners and stakeholders, including MPA, DNV GL and The Norwegian Ambassador to Singapore, Anita Nergaard, were present.

Credit: Hans Fredrik Asbjørnsen

Wilhelmsen, as part of their ongoing cooperation with Ivaldi Group, will provide spare parts on demand to the selected six customers’ vessels around the globe. Through a unique digitization and certification process, parts will be produced on-demand, without having to go through time consuming and costly storage, shipping, customs and receiving processes.

“The savings from reduced cost, time and environmental footprint provided by 3D printing, digital inventory and on-demand localized manufacturing of maritime spare parts is a tremendous opportunity for our valued subscribers to be ahead of their rivals,” says Hakon Ellekjaer, Head of Venture, 3D Printing, Wilhelmsen.

Adding, “We believe on-demand manufacturing technologies are going to completely reshape the maritime supply chain.”

Carnival Maritime clearly agree, with Sebastian Sala, Head of Innovation and Energy Management stating: "Carnival operates over 100 cruise ships with various itineraries worldwide. Adding 3D printed parts with fast delivery to our portfolio, will be the first steps towards an exciting future for global logistics in the cruise industry."

Ship management companies have also been quick to see the value in Wilhelmsen’s latest initiative, with several players eager to sign up.

Ashish Malik, Deputy COO, Thome Ship Management, says: “Thome Group is committed to promoting and adopting innovative technologies that can enhance not only the operational efficiency of ships, but also management of the assets. We have observed that 3D printing or on-demand additive manufacturing has the potential to become an alternative solution that can offer an easier, faster, economic and more environment friendly alternative to the conventional marine supply chain. Besides looking at the technology as a means for manufacturing items that are not available readily from regular sources, through our partnership with Wilhelmsen Ships Service and Ivaldi Group, we are actively exploring the option of using this solution for establishing a structured supply chain for certain regular stores and spare parts.”

Commenting on their participation in the program, Peter Schellenberger, MD OSERV Pte Ltd - OSM Maritime Group says: “We clearly see that we have to convert buzzwords into action and embark on meaningful and solid trials if we truly believe that 3D Printing in shipping can and will be one of the future disruptors. Better shape than follow! This subject, along with sustainability, will be one of our main immediate future topics.”

Also opting to join Wilhelmsen’s project early are Executive Ship Management. Steen Lund, CCO and Group CDO says: “Executive Ship Management believes in the value of Wilhelmsen’s initiative to the global maritime industry. We look forward to bringing additively manufactured spare parts into use on our vessels in a manner that allows safe and controlled application initially of parts that will not require the approval of classification societies. This is a natural extension of the joint industry program run in Singapore with MPA, NAMIC and SSA, which Wilhelmsen and Ivaldi contributed convincingly to.”

Indeed, of the six companies in the EAP, both Wilhelmsen Ship Management and Berge Bulk have actually been benefitting from the convenience and flexibility offered by 3D Printing for over a year, acting as the beta testers for the system, ahead of the official launch of the EAP.

“We see great potential with usage of 3D printed spare parts. Wilhelmsen Ships Service and Ivaldi Group are providing cutting edge technology that will greatly benefit our customers - a highly efficient, cost effective and environmentally friendly way of providing spare parts. We are excited about this opportunity,” says Capt. Patwardhan J, General Manager, Wilhelmsen Ship Management Singapore Pte Ltd.

Teck Siang Sim, Procurement Manager, Berge Bulk says: "We are excited about the possibilities this will bring. Not only benefiting the supply chain but also the ability to modify and improve parts with input from end-users’ experience."

Wilhelmsen began their partnership with Ivaldi in early 2017, bringing Ivaldi’s proprietary virtual warehouse and on-demand manufacturing technologies into Wilhelmsen’s global supply chain via an ownership stake.

From local micro-factories, Wilhelmsen are taking manufacturing ever closer to the end-user. Starting with smaller polymer and metal parts in the comfort critical category, spare parts are 3D printed and delivered within hours to vessels who subscribe to their services. Such on-demand localized manufacturing results in a substantially lower carbon footprint compared to traditional supply chains and logistics.

Benefits also include reduced lead times, enhanced availability of parts, simplified procurement process, reduced inventory and transportation costs. Additional cost savings include decreased port fees by cutting maintenance delays and increasing the service life of existing equipment.

Wilhelmsen had earlier participated in a market feasibility study on additive manufacturing for one hundred of the most commonly ordered marine parts in Singapore, initiated by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), the Singapore Shipping Association, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster and conducted by DNV GL.

Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive, MPA, says: “MPA is very encouraged by Wilhelmsen driving the 3D printing early adopters program, together with her partners. Additive manufacturing or 3D printing is an emerging technology, which has the potential to be a game changer for maritime sector. There is much opportunity for the maritime enterprises to seize the potential of 3D printing technology and build up their capabilities in this area.”