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AML Technologies wire arc additive manufacturing facility awarded maritime certification

Large-scale metal 3D printing bureau AML Technologies, headquartered in Tranmere, Australia, has become the first company to receive additive manufacturing facility qualification from Lloyd’s Register (LR).

The accreditation has been granted to AML’s facility that specializes in wire-arc additive manufacturing, a process gaining particular popularity in the maritime sector.

Andy Sales, Managing Director at AML, comments:

“Third-party inspection offers an un-biased advantage to potential customers wishing to build parts using AML’s process. That’s core to our values at AML,”

“At the end of the day, the facility certification from Lloyd’s Register will help provide awareness and assurance for customers to use AML for their OEM part and component type approval and qualification needs.”

Lloyd’s Register additive manufacturing certification framework 

Lloyd’s Register started out as the Lloyd’s Register of Shipping, a classification society for maritime. Now diverse in its services, the company offers third party technical and business certification for a variety of manufacturing industries.

Most recently in additive manufacturing, Lloyd’s Register and partner organization TWI published a certification framework for metal 3D printed parts produced using powder bed fusion technologies. Incidentally, it was with respect to this framework that AML Technologies requested an assessment by Lloyd’s.

Sample of wire-arc 3D printed metal. Photo via AML Technologies
Sample of wire-arc 3D printed metal. Photo via AML Technologies

Limitless 3D printing

Wire arc additive manufacturing, or WAM as it is registered to AML, uses a robotic arm to deposit material. This means that, unlike other bed-bound AM process, the scale of WAM projects is virtually limitless.

In 2017, AML received a share of $8.51 million from the Australian Government to help commercialize its WAM technology. Following this, the company has since divulged plans to develop scandium alloy 3D printing abilities with the technology, unlocking one of the most sought-after feedstocks in the industry.

Variants of the technology have been applied throughout the maritime industry to 3D print the so-called WAAMpeller,  and an 80,000 kg crane hook for heavy construction company Huisman. Hussain Quraishi, Strategic Projects Lead at Lloyd’s Register Global Technology Centre in Singapore explains, “Using wire feedstock enables companies to produce larger component sizes with a wider selection of materials,”

“Combined with the lower cost of wire feedstock, this unlocks significant potential for the marine and offshore industries in particular.”

Damen Shipyard's 3D printed, machined and polished WAAMpeller. Photo via Mer et Maritime
Damen Shipyard’s 3D printed, machined and polished WAAMpeller. Photo via Mer et Maritime

Certified material handling, competency and process control

As part of the Lloyd’s Register qualification, AML’s WAM facility was reviewed on criteria such as material handling, personnel competence, build process control, health and safety, and control of non-conforming items. All of AML’s WAM systems were also thoroughly audited.

“Our early engagement with Lloyd’s Register for facility qualification was a very smooth and efficient process,” comments Sales, “We gained valuable knowledge and appreciated the solid foundation of LR’s highly experienced and enthusiastic surveyors and auditors. We are excited and look forward to working further with LR’s as our business grows.”

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Featured image shows test WAM 3D print at AML. Photo via AML Technologies