May 18 (UPI) -- Damen Shipyards Group of the Netherlands is to develop the world's first class-approved 3D printed ship propeller, the company announced on Wednesday.
The effort will be undertaken as part of a consortium with RAMLAB, Promarin, Autodesk and Bureau Veritas, the company said.
The project to develop the WAAMpeller comes as a result of an in-house student research program.
"Three students from Delft Technical University were investigating the potential of 3D printing for us," Kees Custers, project engineer in Damen's Research & Development department, said in a press release. "They brought us into contact with the other members of the consortium.
"What is quite unique about this group of five companies is that, while we have joint interests, we also have individual aims. This leads to a very productive and cooperative atmosphere in what is a very exciting project."
Damen said the WAAMpeller will be based on a Promarin design that is typically found on a Damen Stan Tug 1606. Using Autodesk software in the construction process, the Port of Rotterdam's RAMLAB will fabricate the WAAMpeller from a bronze alloy using the Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing, or WAAM, process.
The completed product will approach class certification with help from Bureau Veritas, Damen said.
Following printing of the WAAMpeller this summer, Damen will begin a testing regimen.
"We will be performing a comprehensive program that will include bollard pull and crash test scenarios," Damen said. "Our ambition is to demonstrate that the research phase for 3D printing in the maritime sector is over, and that it can now be effectively applied in operations."