Sembmarine in tie-up to develop use of drones, 3D printing, digital twin technologies to boost sector

Thu, Nov 09, 2017 – 2:06 PM

SEMBCORP Marine has embarked on an industry-government collaboration to develop disruptive applications in drone, additive manufacturing (3D printing) and digital twin technologies that can revolutionise the offshore and marine (O&M) sector and boost its global competitiveness.

The company signed on Thursday a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with DNV GL, A*Star’s Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology and (SIMTech) and the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC).

DNV GL is a quality assurance and risk management company for the oil and gas, power and maritime industries.

The partners will apply laser aided additive manufacturing (AM) to fabricate large-scale structures for newbuild offshore and marine constructions in a project that will begin by year’s end. This technology gives great flexibility to translate designs into actual products and has the potential to save on material costs and reduce production lead-time, said SembMarine president & CEO Wong Weng Sun in a speech at the MOU signing.

For example, traditional manufacturing processes involve subtractive manufacturing, where materials are removed from a large material template to form a shape or an item. In AM, items are built upwards, layer by layer, into the three-dimensional shape, said the company.

The partners will also explore AM technology in printing replacement components for ship repairs.

The venture has received grants from NAMIC for two AM pilot projects – one for the repair of ship components and the other for fabricating large-scale newbuild structures. These AM parts will be printed locally with SIMTech, while DNV GL will provide testing and subsequent certification.

SembMarine will also be working with DNV GL to develop drone technology for close-up inspection of newbuildings and ships undergoing repairs in a project that begins later this month.

Traditional methods of visual inspections in shipyards involve erecting scaffoldings, a labour-intensive task. With the use of drones, shipowners will not have to worry about scaffoldings dirtying or damaging their ships during the inspection.

In the future, the versatility of drones can also offer applications in other shipyard operations, such as using sensors for security monitoring, and for unmanned monitoring of hazardous works.

Digital twin is the third disruptive technology SembMarine will be developing with DNV GL. It refers to the digital replica of an actual physical asset. In the O&M sector, digital twin technology can be applied in the pre-commissioning of vessels, doing away with need to wait for the physical ship to be built before testing the systems for installation. This can bring about significant time and cost savings in the design and commissioning processes.

Another use of this technology is in preventive maintenance, where sensors attached to structures detect possible structural failure and feed data into the digital twin model.

“The developmental areas we are investigating all have promising potential to bring about transformational improvement to the O&M industry,” said Mr Wong.

The projects will be undertaken at SembMarine’s flagship Tuas Boulevard Yard, which will serve as a living lab. The 108ha yard in Singapore has six drydocks catering to new-generation mega-size vessels, and one extra-wide drydock for the construction and repair of offshore structures.

The yard also has a 120,000 sq m covered facility that can fabricate up to 144,000 tonnes of steel components annually.

US Marines test adaptable 3D printed SUAS drones

Oct 4, 2017 | By Tess

The U.S. military is a big proponent of 3D printing technologies, consistently exploring new applications for the technology in order to develop improved devices and equipment and also for on-the-ground manufacturing.

One of the main uses for 3D printing in the military at the moment is the manufacturing of bespoke drones. Earlier this week, for instance, we wrote about how a Marines task force was building 3D printed “Nibbler” drones in the Middle East using an experimental 3D printing lab.

Now, marines from the 2nd Marine Division are using 3D printing to manufacture small unmanned aerial systems (SUAS). This particular drone project is taking place at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

The 3D printed SUAS initiative has relied on the varied expertise of the Marines division. As the Marines website states: “The technicians and engineers with U.S. Army Research Lab gathered Marines from different military occupational specialties to demonstrate the usefulness and convenience of the additive manufactured small unmanned aerial systems.”

The best part about the 3D printed SUAS drones, and the thing that sets them apart from their traditionally manufactured counterparts, is that they can be adapted and modified for particular applications. For instance, if they are to be used for surveillance missions, they might have different components than a drone used for an intelligence mission.

Eric Spero, a team leader in the vehicle technology directorate of the U.S. Army Research Lab, explained: “We have different cameras such as infrared and a day camera; there are different things we can do like stream the video to systems or a heads-up display and record it for later viewing.”

Another benefit of 3D printing the SUAS is that the technology allows them to be produced much more quickly and in an on-demand fashion, meaning that soldiers in the field could potentially manufacture drones as needed and for various uses.

In fact, the process for manufacturing the SUAS seems remarkably simple, as a catalogue of different 3D printable drone parts has been established. This system allows military members to simply choose the SUAS that their mission requires and have the 3D files downloaded to be sent to the printer.

“Basically what we are doing is combining two emerging technologies,” commented John Gerdes, a mechanical engineer at the U.S. Army Research Lab. “We have taken 3D printing and quadcopters and created a means of giving troops a customized vehicle right when they need it, with the capabilities they need from it, on demand.”

(Images: U.S. Marine Corps / Taylor W. Cooper)

Impressively, a SUAS can reportedly be 3D printed, assembled, and dispatched within a 24-hour period. “These craft are the future because they’re protected by obsolescence,” added Gerdes. “We are able to give troops the technology almost immediately by printing new parts and making slight adjustments so they will always have a craft that is able to complete the mission.”

The 3D printed SUAS drones were recently tested by the 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune.

Posted in 3D Printing Application

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US Marines' 'Ripper Lab' used to manufacture 3D printed 'Nibbler' drones in Middle East

Oct 2, 2017 | By Tess

A U.S. Marine Corps task force has set up a 3D printing lab on the ground in the Middle East, using it to 3D print quadcopter drones, tools, medical supplies, and more. Dubbed the “Ripper Lab,” the facility is allowing the task force to print devices and replacement parts on-demand and at a lower cost than shipping them in.

Over the past year, the U.S. Marine Corps has made significant strides with the adoption of additive manufacturing technologies, developing 3D printed components for future smart trucks, experimenting with 3D printed munitions, and perhaps most significantly, manufacturing low-cost drones.

Just months ago, a Marine Corps battalion evaluated the X-FAB system—a self-contained, mobile additive manufacturing lab which consists of four 3D printers, one 3D scanner, and CAD software. The X-FAB lab, which is still in development, would enable devices such as surveillance drones to be produced on-demand and, importantly, on the ground.

As another Marine Corps task force based in the Middle East has shown, 3D printing is already in use and is proving to be a critical technology in the fight against ISIS.

The Marines of Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Central Command recently established an on-the-ground 3D printing facility equipped with 3D printers, materials, CAD software, etc. in the Middle East.

Named “Ripper Lab,” the 3D printing test operation was set up to see how well 3D printing could support the troops. A first of its kind, the 3D printer lab is operated by a team of 48 and has been used to manufacture tools such as wrenches, medical supplies, various replacement parts, and a number of quadcopter drones known as “Nibblers.”

These 3D printed drones, of which there are already about 25, are designed for increasing “situational awareness” on patrols. The adaptable UAVs are capable of flying for 20 to 25 minutes at a time, and can be used to monitor and protect the U.S. military’s positions from drones sent by the enemy.

Of course, there are still a few setbacks with the technology. For one, the Nibbler drones cost about $2,000 each to 3D print, quite a bit more than their off-the-shelf counterparts (which reportedly go for about $500 apiece). But the cost difference doesn’t seem to outweigh the advantages of in-situ manufacturing and the easy and cheap production of replacement parts.

(Images: U.S. Marine Corps)

“Across the entire Marine Corps… it takes time to get the training and then the resources, i.e., money to buy the materials and 3D printers and things like that,” said  Col. Bill Vivian, the commander of the 7th Marine Regiment which led the 3D printing operation. “But 3D printers are coming to each installation in the Marine Corps and that’s starting to unfold now, so I think those possibilities are getting close.”

Vivian added that since 3D printing has been adopted in the Marine Corps, he has seen a lot of interest amongst the troops: “Since we engaged and we let Marines at the lowest level know we’re wrestling with this new technology, we found out a lot of them were doing it anyway—several Marines had their own 3D printers. And so just taking advantage of natural talents we have out there, we were able to pull them in and use them to our advantage. It helped retention: Marines were very excited and we were able to do some things faster than we otherwise would have been able to.”

Currently, Vivian and his task force are working on improving the 3D printed Nibbler drone by integrating higher-quality cameras and increasing the vehicle’s flying time and range.

Posted in 3D Printing Application

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3D Printing For Drones, new Youtube show

Previous articlePolarPro Launches Its First Drone Software with Aurora Cinematic Color Presets
Tiaan Roux

Editor, sUAS Guide | CIO, sUAS News | “My interest in UAS began in 2006 in the Masai Mara, Kenya where I was working as a bush pilot and met Gary Mortimer. I have always loved computers, maps, aerial photos and any kind of flying thing so the UAS addiction quickly took hold. Since then my interest in these technologies has grown from just an interest to building and flying small UAS as well as getting involved with sUAS News.”

Nano-Racing scales down racing with 3D printed drones that fit in the palm of your hand

Oct 30, 2016 | By Alec

While the 3D printing hobby has been supported by a number of high profile applications, 3D printed drones have done so much to promote the technology to a huge audience. But 3D printed drones are not without their own problems, as they are big, bulky, require a large flying zone and seem to be in a constant need for repairs. But there’s a solution. French startup Nano-Racing has been using 3D printing to create a very small line of drones that have all the functionality of professional-grade drones, and none of the drawbacks of the large 3D printed ones.

The startup itself was founded back in 2015, with a quest to democratize the growing sport of immersion drone racing. And its growing fast: it is now even being structured into an official aerial sport in Europe, the US, and in South Korea, among others, with thousands of players all around the world. As co-founder Charles Venayre revealed, they were big fans of racing drones themselves, but were put off by their closed technological setup, their bulky size (250mm drones have quite a large fly zone) and of course the huge costs involved in racing something so delicate.

Together with Christian Millot, Fabien Madore and Charles’s brother Maxime Venayre, he therefore founded Nano-Racing to provide a simple solution: 3D printed racing drones that are far less expensive to operate, easier to handle, less dangerous for onlookers and completely compatible with immersion software – something not all 3D printed drones are. “It is compatible with every type of hobbyist and professional piloting and immersion gear, which means it can be used by anyone,” the French entrepreneur says.

During development, the team strongly relied on Madore’s experience at Air France, while he was also one of the first in France to enter the drone industry. Since 2015, the group has no grown to ten employees, most of them being R&D specialists. Through the Kiss Kiss Bank Bank crowdfunding platform, they raised more than €60,000 to fund the concept, and their active mini drone racing community is growing constantly.

Right now, the startup is working hard to extend their range of products, including customization options, and tackle production challenges. “You can choose a “drone personality” using pre-set flying modes (note that each pilot has their own specific choice of settings and way of flying). Our other great particularity is that our drone is the only one in the world to be entirely assembled by interlocking: no screw, no welding. This a key advantage for customization!” Venayre says.

What’s more, 3D printing has been an integral part of Nano-Racing, and both Venayre and Madore were actively 3D printing ever since the Stratasys patents became public in 2009. “We used it for various prototypes, I used it to make architecture models,” Venayre recalls. “3D printing is an outstanding tool for prototyping and short-run production. That’s what we offered our first clients: an early bird short run of 320 products. And for us, 3D printing allowed us to do the tests, the crash tests, and adapt the product. All of this while avoiding the costs and delays that go along with injection molding: rheology tools, molds, injection, and the validations between each step.”

Things really took off with the help of 3D printing, especially for problem identification and solving. “It happened, for example, that after a crash test we realized that a zone lacked matter. So we reviewed the design to reprint the reinforced model. We also had to think about the adapting of the parts to the motors’ power,” Venayre recalls. Through 3D printing service company Sculpteo, they found the answers they needed and the 3D printing solutions that improved the prototypes through successive prototyping.

As a result, Nano-Racing is also seriously considering entering production with 3D printing. “Now that we are heading towards production in larger series, we will offer two options: a product done through injection molding, and a “hacking kit” that will make the drone more powerful, with 3D printed parts,” the French developer reveals. The drone arms will be digitally milled for additional rigidity.

While Nano-Racing is thus still a startup in every way, it does certainly act as an example on how to run a startup anno 2016. Through 3D printing and digital development, they are cost-effectively perfecting their product, while simultaneously supporting a grateful community. “Mastering 3D printing means to dare more. Daring to conceive industrial products, avoiding costly and long processes, testing the market first-hand. And it’s becoming more and more essential. In an iterative creation process like ours, you easily make two dozen prototypes. With 3D printing you can move fast, put aside the ideas that don’t work,” Venayre argues.

He therefore also strongly advises everyone with ideas to look into 3D printing, adding that educating yourself in the restrictions of 3D printing will greatly pay off in the long run. “Try out all the 3D printing techniques to understand which ones will be most effective for your project,” he advises beginning users. “Everything you need to get a hand of it is on the internet! It’s also important to get in touch with a fablab, a makers community, meet people, exchange. That’s how you learn.” And 3D printing services like Sculpteo can play a huge role in seeing what professional-grade 3D printers can add without wasting your startup funds yourself.

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Kids-Tech Launches Elementary Classes Using VR, Drones and 3D Printing


Kids-Tech Launches Elementary Classes Using VR, Drones and 3D Printing

Kids-Tech, an Atlanta-based ed tech company, has launched Tech Class, a year-long program for elementary school kids designed to help build a foundation of knowledge in technology.

The weekly classes cover 3D printing, app building, drones and virtual reality. They typically take place after school, after general, daytime instruction has ended. Kids-Tech offers skills building and hands-on experiences for students as young as 3 years old.

Supplying all of the equipment, with classes held at the kids’ schools, Kids-Tech is currently offering classes to more than 500 children in the Atlanta area. Instead of teaching students difficult terminology and technique processes first, Kids-Tech teaches by allowing the children to interact, engage and learn naturally. Along the way, the students are expected to pick up the details.

“It is never too early to foster a love and understanding for learning,” Kids-Tech says on its website. “Our philosophy is: the stronger the foundation, the taller the building. The faster children can become acquainted with technology in a structured and directed manner, the more they will be able to flourish in it.”

Kids-Tech integrates the demand and need for STEM and technological skills into engaging, bite-sized classes that children enjoy, according to a news release.

More information about Kids-Tech and its Tech Class can be found at the company’s website.

About the Author

Richard Chang is associate editor of THE Journal. He can be reached at

Make: Volume 44: Fun With Drones! (Make: Technology on Your Time)

These days drones are buzzing, not only in the skies, but throughout the maker community! Makers’ love affair with drones is easy to understand: it has all the trademarks of the maker movement. From open source hardware, robotics (like sensors), cameras, to innovative applications to solve real-world problems, drones are fun and functional. In Volume 44 of Make:, the editors dive into the red-hot world of quadcopters, with drone builds and inspired aerial activities.In this issue:

  • Build the maker hangar R/C tricopter
  • 3D print a quadcopter
  • How to waterproof your drone
  • Setting up an FPV drone race
  • Pilot’s checklist

Projects include:

  • DIY carbon fiber acoustic guitar
  • Singing plasma-arc speaker
  • 3D printable electric motor
  • Easy infinity mirror
  • Clone a fig tree
  • Raspberry Pi super security camera

Check Out Our Website For Details…