Sembcorp Marine (SGX:S51) is seeking to revolutionize the offshore & marine (O&M) sector by adding cutting edge technologies to its shipbuilding and repair efforts. In collaboration with three partners across industry and the Singapore government, the company will develop water-tight production applications with a Digital Twin, additive manufacturing and drone assistance.
Kick-starting the process, the firm has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with quality assurance and risk management firm DNV GL, A*Star’s Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) and Singapore’s National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC).
LAAM for large-scale ship parts
Additive manufacturing at Sembcorp Marine will focus on the fabrication of large-scale structures for new vessels and component repair. All three partners will be adding their expertise to the project, ensuring the quality and certification of items made using SIMTech’s Laser Aided Additive Manufacturing (LAAM) process.
According to Dr. Lim Ser Yong, Executive Director of SIMTech, “This collaboration leverages SIMTech’s Free Form Large Format Laser Aided Additive Manufacturing capabilities, to support the offshore and marine industry, by improving the functional integrity, cost-effectiveness and responsiveness.”
At SIMTech this CNC-based technology, using a high energy laser beam, has been used to build and repair the likes of airofoil products and turbochargers. High-strength low-alloy steels, stainless steels, aluminium and titanium alloys are included in its material portfolio.
Drone inspection and the Digital Twin
The Digital Twin and drone aspects of the Sembcorp project will be handled by DNV GL.
In the first instance, a Digital Twin model will be made to replicate all the components and construction of a specific ship’s design. With this, designers and engineers will be able to quickly identify potential areas for optimization, even highlighting parts that could save money if produced by additive manufacturing.
In the second prong, drones will be programmed to aid surveyors in close-up inspections of a ship’s structure. This gives shipbuilders more data about the conditions of a vessel, and increases personnel safety when used in dangerous locations.
A national strategy
The three pronged technology plan will be put in place at Sembcorp Marine’s flagship Tuas Boulevard Yard, covering six drydocks for the building and development of next generation mega vessels and offshore rigs, and a 120,000 sq m facility fabricating up to 144,000 tonnes of steel components per year.
The technology used is set to become a key enabler to the city-state’s Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME) strategy. Dr. Ho Chaw Sing, Managing Director of NAMIC, asserts, “Over the last several months, we have engaged with stakeholders in various strategic industry verticals in our push to industrialise AM technologies.”
“We are delighted to enter into this collaboration partnership with Sembcorp Marine, DNV GL and SIMTech, supporting and contributing towards the transformation of the Marine Offshore/Oil and Gas industry, a key strategic sector for Singapore.”
Featured image shows one of Sembcorp Marine’s shipbuilding ports. Photo via Sembcorp Marine