The Naval Group has taken 3D printing a step further for the marine world by using it to produce a large propeller. An innovation that can come to the maritime and pleasure craft industries
5-blade 3D printed propeller
A well-known French specialist in naval shipbuilding Naval Group posted a non-standard propeller on the Indret website.
It consisted of 5 blades of 200 kg each and had a wingspan of 2.5 meters.
This propeller was built in additive manufacturing, better known as 3D printing.
He is currently equipping the 52-meter vessel Andromeda Meinhunter.
Economic and design interest in propellers
The Andromeda's propeller was manufactured using a 3D printer that remains exceptional to this day.
“We are the only manufacturer in Europe to have a WAAM (Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing) machine with very high productivity.
A camera measuring 20 meters by 10 meters with two robots, ”says Naval Group.
WAAM allows welding small metal wires.
The propeller is the result of a collaboration between the Naval Group and Ecole Centrale Nantes, started in 2017.
“Nearly three years of research and development work carried out by the Engineering and Innovation Department in conjunction with Ecole Centrale Nantes as part of the joint laboratory of marine technologies LabCom, was necessary to fine-tune the deposition of material by melting wire,” explains Emmanuel Chol, Director Nantes-Indret site.
“Today it is the world's first largest propeller made with filler metal.
And this is the first propeller manufactured using the above technology.
It is installed aboard a warship and is built to go beyond sea trials. "
Naval Group in 2021 will allocate 7 million euros for the production of additives. The savings in time and material cost for small batches compared to casting, which requires molding, and freedom in the geometry of the thrusters can ultimately be a godsend in yachting.
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