New additive manufacturing-focused agreements signed this week signify ongoing global progress in the aerospace and maritime sectors.
In South Korea, GE Additive signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Korea Aerospace Industries Association (KAIA) and the Incheon Industry-Academy Collaboration Institute (IIACI), while the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has signed two new MoUs that stand to serve the maritime sector.
Starting in Seoul, GE Additive explains that their new MoU is set “to reinforce cooperation in the development of additive manufacturing in the aerospace industry through education and consulting.”
The company describes key areas of cooperation:
providing additive manufacturing education to Korean manufacturing companies in the aerospace industry
offering GE Additive’s consulting service AddWorks for defining the business case for additive manufacturing, designing for additive, making parts, enabling production, and setting up quality programs
recommending KAIA members join GE Additive’s Manufacturing Partner Network, based on assessment of their capabilities
“We hope that the agreement with GE Additive will serve as an opportunity for domestic aerospace companies to expand their capabilities in manufacturing aircraft parts and expand into the global market,” said Oh-jung Kwon, Vice Chairman of KAIA.
Moving into maritime, the MPA has announced two MoUs, both dedicated to additive manufacturing and signed at this week’s Global AM Summit in Singapore.
The authority describes the memoranda as:
An MoU with PSA Corporation Limited (PSA), the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC) and 3D MetalForge Pte Ltd (3D MetalForge) to establish the world’s first on-site AM production facility for port applications
An MoU with NAMIC and the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) to collaborate on an AM Joint Industry Programme (JIP) for marine parts
The new facility, set to be located at Pasir Panjang Terminal, is sited where PSA works on technologies for use in ports in existing and planned terminals. Blockchain-supported cloud technology will enable security in its use of digital inventory, a key concern as more 3D printed components make their way into industry.
“In close collaboration with EDB, we have learnt that the era of Additive Manufacturing is showing pervasive importance in industry transformation. Within our maritime sector, we foresee widespread adoption within the immediate horizon. I am heartened that PSA, alongside MPA, NAMIC and 3D MetalForge can be pioneers in developing this technology for use in our industry. Co-creating new innovations including digitising inventories will create opportunities to raise maritime productivity to the next level,” said Mr. Ong Kim Pong, Regional CEO Southeast Asia of PSA International.
For its part, the JIP “is focused on establishing the commercial viability, technical feasibility and regulatory compliance behind the use of AM for marine parts, and will bring together a comprehensive ecosystem of partners from across the value chain,” the MPA explains. The collaboration will set its sights on ensuring that new technologies are adopted with full “clarity on the challenges, opportunities and potential test cases” for use in specialized and exacting maritime applications.
“From a historical trading stop to a world-class global hub port and maritime centre, Singapore has not rested on its laurels. Digitalisation with on-demand manufacturing will continue to accelerate. Leveraging on Singapore’s innovation eco-system in 3D printing, robotics and blockchain technology, NAMIC is delighted to partner with MPA, PSA and SSA on the next wave of transformation to bring our world-leading global hub port to the next level,” NAMIC Managing Director Dr. Ho Chaw Sing said.
The signing of three collaborative agreements within the same week is significant in signalling the momentum with which additive manufacturing is picking up in industry.
While aerospace has long been a stronghold for 3D printing — as GE especially can back up with qualified use cases — gains in other advanced transportation sectors illustrate the spread of new approaches to manufacturing. The maritime industry has increasingly been adopting additive manufacturing for spare parts production, and we’ve thought shipbuilding an excellent fit for the benefits of 3D printing.
Singapore in particular is proving an expansive center of operations for maritime 3D printing, as industry participants have shared with us:
“Singapore has always been supportive in embracing new technologies and additive manufacturing has been identified as a transformative technology that will help enhance the manufacturing competitiveness of the country’s offshore and marine industry. As a vibrant ecosystem consisting of the port, shipping, maritime services and offshore and marine engineering cluster, Singapore is also well placed to serve as a test-bed for 3D printing technology for application in the offshore and marine sector,” DNV GL’s Dr. Ing. Sastry Yagnanna Kandukuri told us earlier this month.
That both of this week’s MoUs were signed in the Asia Pacific region is also notable, and indicative of trends toward both the adoption of advanced technologies and the globalization of production operations.
While the largest 3D printing operations from a business perspective remain rooted in the US and Europe, significant steps forward and expansive installed bases of APAC operations highlight the shape of the worldwide additive manufacturing industry. Large and growing industries focusing on the additive ecosystem will continue to reshape not only traditional manufacturing operations, but the lens through which we view the feasibility of 3D printing truly taking off.
Via GE Additive and MPA
Eric Haddad is the founder and Pilot in Command of 3DAeroventures, a Texas-based outfit specializing in 3D printed RC aircraft.