PARIS – France’s Andromède mine-hunting ship is now being propelled by a 3D-printed propeller designed and manufactured by Naval Group, the corporate introduced on Wednesday.
Emmanuel Chol, director of Naval Group’s Nantes-Indret web site the place the propeller was made, mentioned, “It’s the largest steel 3D-printed thruster ever to have been manufactured and the primary propeller ensuing from this know-how, launched into board a navy ship and manufactured to be used past simply sea trials.”
Weighing 1 metric ton, the propeller is made of 5 200 kg (441 kilos) blades which had been manufactured utilizing a wire arc additive manufacturing (WAAM) process, much less well-known than different steel 3D printing strategies however higher fitted to large-scale purposes. It really works by melting steel wire heated by an electrical arc. The method is managed by a robotic arm.
The French subsidiary of the Japanese group Yaskawa supplied the robots and manufacturing instruments for this venture.
Naval Group labored with Bureau Veritas to ensure that the testing, inspection and certification necessities (like corrosion, fatigue, shock resistance) had been met in order that the Fleet Assist Companies group and the DGA French procurement company may authorize the trial of the blades on a navy ship.
The propeller was transferred from the manufacturing web site to Brest in October 2020 the place it was mounted on the propeller shaft of the Andromède. The ship is certainly one of France’s 10 Tripartite mine hunters constructed within the 1980s, eight of which – together with the Andromède – won’t be retired for an additional decade.
Sea trials in December had been profitable, so now the mine-hunter can return to regular operations, geared up with its printed propeller.
Eric Balufin, director of Naval Group’s web site in Brest says “the meeting of this 3D-printed propeller reveals nice promise for the long run. This new know-how will allow us to significantly cut back technical constraints, and due to this fact enable for brand spanking new manufacturing options for complicated geometrical shapes which can’t be produced by way of typical processes.”