3D Printing’s Push into Manufacturing: Can You Take Advantage?

It seems like there is a 3D printed solution for every one of today’s challenges. People are even 3D printing houses from the foundation up, so when will this technology enter the shipbuilding arena? The truth is, manufacturing and the marine industry are already making use of 3D printing technology. So how can your shipyard take advantage of this new industrial revolution? Here are some things to consider.


3D Prototypes

Ship designers are now using 3D printing technology to assemble scale models and other prototypes before construction begins. This is a great way to see how the pieces fit together, the parts needed, and the efficiency of building the project.

Building models isn’t just about having a really cool sales tool. It’s a very useful tool for the project managers and planners to help everyone understand how the process will work on the full-scale ship.


Spare Parts

One pretty cool way that 3D printing technology is working in the shipping industry is with spare parts. Ships can have printers on board allowing them to create a needed part without having to take the ship entirely out of commission.

This is already being used by the military and other shipping companies and will only increase as the technology continues to improve.


Seafloor Mapping

While it isn’t a part of the shipbuilding industry itself, mapping the seafloor has long been an important part of seafaring. Better understanding of the topography of the sea floor helps scientists and industry specialists get a better picture of how it affects climate and more.

While there have been advances in seafloor mapping over the last few centuries, 3D printing technology is taking the process to the next level.


Practical Applications

Some of these items seem pretty pie-in-the-sky and may not affect your shipyard today. But there are practical applications for 3D printing technology in the marketplace. In manufacturing its often referred to as additive manufacturing, meaning you can create parts on site from digital files using a 3D printer.

Many manufacturing industries are already doing this, so it won’t be long before these practical applications hit your shipyard.

Are you interested in the latest technological advances for your shipyard? Contact the team at Hutco to learn more.