Nov 9, 2017 | By Tess

Sembcorp Marine, a Singapore-based marine and offshore engineering company, today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) through which it will aim to collaboratively develop 3D printing, drone, and digital twin technologies which could impact the offshore and marine (O&M) industry and provide the company with a competitive edge in the field.

(Image: Reuters)

The MOU signals a partnership between Sembcorp Marine with Singapore’s National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC), A*Star's Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech), and risk management firm DNV GL.

Additive manufacturing will be implemented by Sembcorp Marine and its partners for the development and production of large-scale parts for O&M projects. These will include 3D printing replacement parts for ship repairs (something that is already being explored by the Dutch RAMLAB), as well as manufacturing large-scale structures for newbuild vessels.

Sembcorp Marine is hoping 3D printing will enable it to benefit from material cost savings, and faster production lead-times. It adds that it will be ready to launch the 3D printing projects by the end of this year.

Through the MOU, NAMIC has agreed to provide grants for the first two 3D printing initiatives, while SIMTech will work with Sembcorp Marine to additively manufacture the parts locally, and DNV GL will provide its testing and certification expertise.

The Singapore O&M company will also be exploring drone technologies, specifically for the purpose of inspecting newbuilding structures and ships which are undergoing maintenance and repairs. For this initiative, Semcorp Marine will be working closely with DNV GL and says the project will already be launched later this month.

Using drones for inspection and surveillance will allow the company to bypass more rudimentary inspection processes, which typically require large-scale scaffolds and manual inspections. That is, rather than erect scaffolding around a ship for it to be inspected—a process which even risks damaging the ship—the company plans to fly drones around the ships to capture the necessary data.

The company also adds that in the future, it wants to explore the use of drones for security monitoring and for unmanned monitoring of hazardous works.

Last but not least, Sembcorp Marine will also be honing in on applying digital twin technologies for O&M applications. If you haven’t heard of “digital twin” technology yet, it is basically the process of producing a digital replica of a physical asset.

Sembcorp Marine's Tuas Boulevard yard

(Image: Sembcorp Marine)

For its own purposes, Sembcorp Marine will be working with DNV GL to develop digital twin technologies for the “pre-commissioning of vessels,” which it says would eliminate the need for building an actual ship before testing its installation systems. Evidently, this technology could help cut back significantly on cost and time for design and commissioning processes.

"The developmental areas we are investigating all have promising potential to bring about transformational improvement to the O&M industry," commented Sembcorp Marine president and CEO Wong Weng Sun.

The three new areas of research for the company will be undertaken at Sembcorp Marine’s flagship yard at Tuas Boulevard. Spanning 108 hectares (1.08 km²), the yard is home to six drydocks for new mega-size vessels, one drydock for the construction and repair of offshore builds, and a covered facility which reportedly produces about 144,000 tonnes of steel parts a year.

In recent years, Singapore has become a strong force within the additive manufacturing field, with government-supported programs such as NAMIC and SIMTech encouraging companies to invest in and adopt 3D printing technologies. Sembcorp Marine is the latest Singapore-based group to sign on.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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