The Netherlands-based additive manufacturing company CEAD is creating an industrial-scale 3D printer that is specifically engineered to help produce parts for ships and other maritime vessels.
Whether it be by land, air, or sea, 3D printing is becoming an integral tool across the transportation sector. Although we usually hear tales of how automotive or aerospace companies are using additive manufacturing technology, the maritime industry is also taking advantage of this emerging technology.
In fact, the Dutch company CEAD is currently developing a large-scale 3D printer specifically designed for shipbuilding. The Continuous Fibre Additive Manufacturing (CFAM) machine will be able to print with engineering plastics and continuous carbon fiber composites.
CEAD was founded by Maarten Logtenberg and Lucas Janssen, two former co-founders of the popular 3D printing company Leapfrog. The duo has apparently decided to shift their focus from desktop FDM printing to the industrial market.
The first CFAM 3D printer will offer a generous build volume of 4 x 2 x 1.5 meters. According to CEAD, the printer is equipped with a high-temperature granule extruder that is capable of printing around 25 kg of material per hour.
“The CFAM printer is a large-scale thermoplastic composite 3D printer for industrial use. The machine we are developing is capable of printing 24 hours a day with engineering plastic and a continuous fiber on a very large scale. The technology is based on a single screw extruder with a weight of around 150kg, capable of temperatures of up to 400 degrees Celsius,” Maarten Logtenberg, executive director of CEAD, recently told Digital Trends.
Users will be able to splice carbon fiber composites with a range of engineering-grade plastics, including PP, PET, ABS, PLA, and PEEK. CEAD says that the first CFAM prototype will be ready by the middle of 2018.
The Netherlands-based 3D printing company is stationed in Rotterdam, which just so happens to be a major port city and hub for shipbuilding.
CEAD already has a few customers onboard, including Poly Products B.V., a company that produces composite products for the maritime industry. The marine engineering firm Royal Roos also plans to use the printer to create new parts that will reduce the weight of maritime vessels.
The two companies have already placed orders for the CFAM 3D printer, which CEAD hopes to build in 2019. While the machine is still under development, the news of a large-scale 3D printer tailor-made for shipbuilding should definitely create waves of excitement throughout the maritime industry.
Source: Digital Trends
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