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UT and partners receive award for the largest 3D-printed ship propeller in the world

Last week marked the twelfth time that Computable magazine presented the most prestigious IT awards in the Netherlands to organisations, projects and persons who stood out over the course of this past year. In the category “SME IT Project of the Year,” the project that produced the largest 3D-printed ship propeller in the world won the award. This enormous propeller is the result of a collaboration between RAMLAB, shipbuilder Damen, IBM, Materials Innovation Institute (M2i) and the Universities of Twente and Delft.

In September of 2017, the UT, together with its partners, produced the first and largest 3D-printed ship propeller in the world. This four-hundred-kilo propeller was printed at RAMLAB, an experimental workshop with 3D metal printers based in the port of Rotterdam. UT researcher Wei Ya is in charge of this project. He is currently working to optimise the printing process in order to comply with the certification requirements. Furthermore, the teams are collaborating with IBM on big-data analyses for machine learning in order to automate the entire process. The team received the Computable Award 2017 in the “SME IT Project of the Year” category.

Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing

Researchers from the Universities of Twente and Delft are working on a 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 3D-printed propeller is made of an alloy of copper, nickel, aluminium and bronze. The universities’ researchers are collaborating with industry leader RAMLAB, as well as Damen, Autodesk, Lincoln electric, Valk welding and other partners.

Innovative thinkers

“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 realising 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,” UT professor Gert-willem Römer concludes.

Picture: From right to left: Wei Ya (UT postgraduate and project leader), Vincent Wegener (managing director of RAMLAB), Arjen van de Wetering (IBM).

Picture:  WAAMpeller, photograph courtesy of DAMEN.

drs. J.G.M. van den Elshout (Janneke)
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