Credit: NTUitive

Credit: NTUitive

NAMIC partners with MPA Singapore to develop 3D printing applications for maritime sector

The National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC) and the Maritime Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on digitalisation and advanced manufacturing in the Maritime sector, specifically on development of 3D printing applications. NAMIC is also collaborating with SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) to develop skilled professionals in additive manufacturing.

NAMIC is a national initiative in Singapore which aims to increase Singapore’s adoption of additive manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing technologies, by nurturing promising AM technologies and startups, as well as accelerating translation R&D from public sector funded institutions with a focus on commercial applications. It is led by NTUitive, the innovation and enterprise company of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and It is supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF), Prime Minister’s office, in partnership with SPRING Singapore (now Enterprise Singapore) and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).

This MOU was signed at the Maritime and Energy Sector AM Summit on 17 April organised by NAMIC. One of the key themes of the Summit was how 3D printing will change the future of maritime and energy sectors, as well as impact global supply chain.

Joint Industry Programme by NAMIC and MPA

Under the MOU, NAMIC and MPA are partnering to launch a Joint Industry Programme to develop AM applications and services for the maritime industry and strengthen Singapore’s position as a premier hub port with efficient one-stop port services. The partnership also aims to develop Singapore as a hub for digital manufacturing, testing and certification of advanced manufacturing technologies.

Through the JIP, there are plans to conduct market feasibility studies. Different facets of advanced manufacturing, ranging from secure data exchange, and digitalisation of supply chain, to print-on-demand fabrication will be developed and deployed through industry partners.

Companies who have expressed interest in participation include Wilhelmsen Ships Service, the world’s largest maritime products and services supplier, as well as major maritime classification societies.

Nakul Malhotra, Vice President of Technical Solutions & Marketing, Marine Products, Wilhelmsen Ships Service, said, “3D printing essentially enables our customers to access a micro factory, if and when they need it, in their next port of call.”

“As a vibrant ecosystem consisting of the port, shipping, maritime services and offshore and marine engineering cluster, Singapore is well-poised to leverage our R&D capabilities and serve as a test-bed for 3D printing technology for application in the maritime sector. Developing this technological capability could create positive spinoffs, translating into efficiency and productivity gains for the wider shipping community. To support this effort, MPA is pleased to partner with NAMIC to encourage further public-private sector collaborations in exploring 3D printing for the sector”, commented Mr Kenneth Lim, Director (Research, Technology and Industry Development), MPA.

Skills development

NAMIC and SSGwill collaborate with Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) such as Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) and Singapore Polytechnic (SP), as well as training providers like TUM Asia and SIMTech to develop customised courses under SkillsFuture Series and programmes under the SkillsFuture ELP (Earn and Learn Programme), to develop skilled professionals in additive manufacturing.

To start, SP, Lloyd’s Register, NAMIC and SSG will develop and deliver a series of master classes in additive manufacturing for the manufacturing sectors, including Maritime and Energy. The 3-day master classes will provide companies with practical industry knowledge for the adoption of Additive Manufacturing, and cover areas including Processes, Codes, Standards, Quality Control and Assurance as well as Certification.

NAMIC will also develop an industry-led additive manufacturing certification framework, supported by SSG, to professionalise and recognise the industry workforce. Certificates will be awarded for selected additive manufacturing courses. To kick-start this effort, NYP, NAMIC and SSG will be rolling the first SkillsFuture ELP in Additive Manufacturing (a Specialist Diploma in Additive Manufacturing), targeted at fresh polytechnic graduates.

These efforts are in line with the Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs) to prepare the workforce with existing and emerging skills required for the industry. They will reference the Skills Frameworks for Precision Engineering, Aerospace and Marine and Offshore, which aim to build deep skills for a lean workforce, enhance business competitiveness, and support employment and employability.

Dr Ho Chaw Sing, Managing Director of NAMIC, says, “As a premier global hub port and maritime centre, Singapore is well-placed towards enhancing its world-leading position in the digital age. Our partnership with MPA, SSG and various industry players will help accelerate MPA’s future Port of Singapore, marrying a highly-skilled workforce and secure digital platforms for maritime services and supply chain together with advanced manufacturing technologies such as 3D printing.”

Existing industry partnerships

Through the public funded universities, polytechnics and research institutes, NAMIC is working with several companies across various industry verticals, with a project pipeline exceeding $25 million dollars.

A number of AM startup companies have emerged in the last two years, such as Structo, Osteopore International, Nanosun, 3D Metalforge, Gilmour Space, Siege Advanced Manufacturing, SpareParts3D, Denova Sciences, Kosmode Health and many more. Multinational corporations like Emerson, Flowserve, UPS-Fast Radius, Rolls-Royce, Underwriter Laboratories, DNV-GL and Yamazaki Mazak have chosen Singapore as a regional hub for their 3D printing business and innovation hubs. In addition, major AM OEM manufacturers have either chosen Singapore, or are in the process of establishing AM innovation centres to augment their regional headquarter status.

NAMIC is collaborating with startups like 3DMetalforge, Nanosun, Osteopore, Flare Dynamics, as well as large industry players like Sembcorp Marine, Underwriters Laboratories and DNV-GL.

For instance, NAMIC is working with 3D Metalforge, a Singapore metal AM technology company operating one of Asia’s leading AM service bureaus dedicated to (re)designing, engineering and printing polymer and metal end-use parts for industrial applications, to develop and commercialise large format metal printing technologies together with SUTD (Singapore University of Technology and Design) and A*STAR’s SIMTECH (Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology).

This technology capability enhancement will enable 3D Metalforge to support the marine, offshore, and precision engineering sectors. At its end state, it offers an advanced suite of 3D printing equipment, including selective laser melting (SLM), hybrid wire-arc additive manufacturing (H-WAAM), as well as an automated laser arc additive manufacturing (LAAM) printer. Both H-WAAM and LAAM can produce high quality metal greater than 1.5 metres in cubic size, at a speed of approximately 0.5kg per hour – for a number of metals.

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