ABS to lead US metal 3D printing project

Class society ABS is leading a project backed by the US government to develop technologies to accelerate approval of new metal-based additive manufacturing (AM) applications, more commonly known as 3D printing.

Funded by a grant of almost $1 million from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), ABS will work with the I-DREAM4D National Consortium including its member institutions: the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley, University of Texas – Austin and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and the Applied Research Laboratory at Pennsylvania State University to develop standards and guidance for metal-based AM.

The work is designed to ensure qualification processes can keep pace with the growing use of 3D printing across many industries, including maritime, and not become a roadblock to the technology’s adoption.

“This is a fast-moving technology with huge potential to revolutionise supply chain and maintenance procedures both in maritime and beyond. ABS is committed to supporting its safe adoption,” said Patrick Ryan, ABS Senior Vice President, Global Engineering and Technology.

“Key to delivering on this will be the ability to rapidly verify and validate innovative approaches and technologies. This project will develop an approach that will ensure technical authorities are equipped with the tools they need to facilitate accelerated development in a safety focused framework.”

ABS has already been involved in a number of 3D printing initiatives, including a joint development project with Sembcorp Marine, 3D Metalforge and ConocoPhillips Polar Tankers to fabricate, test and install functional parts on board an oil tanker, as well as a joint industry project with ShipParts.com and 3D Metalforge to develop valve and pump parts for use on board a PACC Offshore Services Holdings Offshore Support Vessel.

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Rob O'Dwyer

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