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Maritime 3D Printing facility prepares for launch in Rotterdam

RAMLAB’s equipment can 3D print large metal objects RAMLAB’s equipment can 3D print large metal objects -Port of Rotterdam

A 3D Printing firm focusing on creating items for the maritime industry is set to open at the Innovation Dock at the Port of Rotterdam, with RAMLAB to begin operating in December 2016.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}RAMLAB was founded by Port of Rotterdam, InnovationQuarter and RDM Makerspace. The Innovation Dock at the RDM Rotterdam facility features a number of port-related gadgets and innovations, which will now be expanded with the addition of RAMLAB’s new welding machine for additive manufacturing.

The unit will be able to ‘3D print’ metal objects up to a size of 2 x 2 x 2 metres, the company says, including large items like propellers.

It uses a technology called Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM), specifically suited to working with metal, that employs steel wire as its raw material and an electric arc as the heat source to transform the raw ingredient into the shape required. This technique can also be used to add additional parts to an already completed metal frame or other core components.

“This means that, when a propeller is made for example, the welding machine doesn’t have to print the core of the object first, but only has to weld the blades. That saves a lot of time,” explains RAMLAB managing director Vincent Wegener.

“It’s quite unique in the world to have such a system. We are probably the first and most ambitious lab in the world when it comes to large size additive manufacturing.”

The steel wire is fed to the machine from 250kg barrels, with the 3D printer capable of working on multiple objects at the same time.{/mprestriction}

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