Singapore-based drone delivery start-up F-drones is progressing with its plans to offer commercial services to the maritime industry, with the recent successful completion of trials with product tanker operator Hafnia, as well as the agreement of an MOU with Wilhelmsen for drone delivery of 3D printed spare parts.
The trial with Hafnia, a BW Group company, involved the use of drones to deliver small payloads to vessels anchored in Singapore beginning in May of this year. The partnership is currently providing F-drones with a testing platform to further refine its long range drone offerings, Hafnia says.
The trial involved test fights to and from BW Zambessi, where the drone took off and landed from a designated area on shore.
The companies have further tests planned to allow F-drones to refine the system for commercial use, with the proprietary drone design currently capable of carrying 5kg over a distance of 50km. F-drones’ long-term ambition is to develop a larger scale drone capable of delivering 100kg to vessels up to 100km away.
In a separate deal, Wilhelmsen’s Marine Products division has signed an MOU with F-drones for last mile delivery of its 3D printed spare parts to vessels, to broaden the scope of its on-demand additive manufacturing service and help to get 3D printed parts to ships as quickly as possible.
“We are excited to be working together with Wilhelmsen’s 3D printing venture, which is at the forefront of commercialising on-demand manufacturing for the maritime industry,” said Yeshwanth Reddy, Co-founder of F-drones.
“Its capability can provide a large variety of parts in different shapes, sizes, and materials. With our drones that can carry much bigger items over longer distances, we can catalyse the adoption of on-demand printing of parts for the maritime industry.”
As part of an Early Adopter Programme for 3D printed marine spare parts, Wilhelmsen customers Berge Bulk, Carnival Maritime, Thome Ship Management, OSM Maritime Group, Executive Ship Management, and Wilhelmsen Ship Management signed up in December 2019 to begin utilising on-demand additive manufacturing services.
The 3D printed spare parts are produced on demand for the selected six customers’ vessels around the globe, using a specifically developed selection, digitisation, and documentation process.
“Exploring safe, reliable and inexpensive alternatives for last mile delivery of our 3D printed parts to our customers is key for us moving forward,” said Hakon Ellekjaer, Head of Venture, 3D Printing, Wilhelmsen.
“F-Drones is actively developing a solution and their ambitions are very much aligned with our own, to disrupt the existing supply chain and offer a service that is faster, cheaper and greener.”