MINI: Utilising 3D-Printing for Personalisation

MINI has often differentiated itself by offering an extensive range of customisation services for consumers. Any combination ranging from the car body, roof, mirror and wheels can be personalised in terms of design or colour. 

3D-Printing for Customisation

“Individualization has always been a big topic with Mini,” said Thomas Schmitz, product manager of Mini Yours Customized. “Now we want to take individualization to the next level.”  Consumers now have the choice of not only colours and design but are able to fully customise entire parts of their cars. Working together with HP, 3D printing allows for engravings in the customer’s own handwriting.

The Rise of Mass Personalisation

Mass personalisation is quickly becoming a reality, with 1 in 4 consumers willing to pay more for personalised products or services. What serves as a competitive advantage for MINI today may become commonplace in the near future with the continued proliferation of 3D-Printing.

DNVGL Releases First Additive Manufacturing Certification for Marine Industry

Additive manufacturing is poised to be the next game changer for manufacturing within the marine and shipping industry. DNV GL, one of the world’s largest classification and certification body is taking on a leading role in facilitating the introduction of this new technology to the industry. A feasibility and pilot study on 3D-printed products showed highly promising results for companies incorporating additive manufacturing in their business processes.

A Game Changer

Desktop 3D printers are appearing in shipyard workshops and aboard rigs, where they can be used to produce long-tail spare parts or for prototyping purposes. However, it is with the recent advancements of metal 3D printing that has garnered the most attention.

Marit Norheim, Vice President of Hull, Materials & Machinery at DNV GL Maritime says, “If products and components can be printed as needed locally or even on board a ship, this is truly a disruptive innovation for the supply chain. This could be a game changer.” 

Additive manufacturing is impacting marine and offshore in the same way as the automotive and aerospace industry. Digital online inventories reduce stock inventories and the entire spare parts process chain is fully optimised. “Suddenly everyone is paying attention,” adds, Norheim, ”The implications for stakeholders throughout the industry are enormous.” 

Embracing 3D Printing Opportunities

The new guidelines acts as an assurance that additive manufactured parts having the exact dimensions and product capabilities as parts fabricated with traditional technologies. This will not only help to boost sales for suppliers but also allow end users to have confidence in using these products in their vessels and rigs.

DNV GL Certification Process

“It is an opportunity that should be embraced, rather than a challenge the industry should try and resist. We are ready to certify, and ready to support,” says Ramesh Babu Goindaraj, Principal Material Specialist at DNV GL, “This really is a new dimension, and we look forward to helping our customers discover its potential.”

DNV GL’s full guideline report can be found online here.

Contact us today to discover the potential of additive manufacturing for your business.



Damen Unveils the First Class Certified 3D Printed Ship Propeller

Damen Shipyards Group has taken the lead in adopting the application of 3D printing within the Marine industry. Together with their partners RAMLAB, Promarin, Autodesk and Bureau Veritas, the world’s first class approved 3D printed ship propeller has been unveiled.

The project was initiated by one Damen’s in-house student research programmes focusing on the potential of 3D printing which led to the formation of the 5 companies. “What is quite unique about this group of five companies is that, while we have joint interests, we also have individual aims. This leads to a very productive and cooperative atmosphere in what is a very exciting project.” explains Kees Custers, Project Engineer in Damen’s Research & Development department.

The WAAMpeller

The propeller was fabricated using Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing techniques, hence the name WAAMpeller. In August 2017, the first prototype was completed, consisting of 298 layers of Nickel Aluminium Bronze alloy. This provided valuable experience for improving the second WAAMpeller production with the aim of achieving class certification.

On 20th November, the WAAMpeller was then put through a series of rigorous testing processes consisting of operational functions, speed trials, board pull and crash testing. Representatives from each of the companies were present, including supervision from Bureau Veritas surveyors. Martijn Nieuwenhuijs, Chief Executive of Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore Netherlands comments: “Bureaus Veritas has witnessed every step of the making and testing of the WAAMpeller. Some challenges needed to be tackled along the way, but the final product is technically sound and ready for commercial application.” “We are pleased to report that the WAAMpeller displayed the same behaviour as a conventional casted propeller in all of the tests. This includes the same level of performance in the crash stop scenario, which – going from full throttle ahead to full throttle reverse – is the heaviest loading that a propeller can experience,” says Kees Custers, Damen Project Engineer R&D enthusiastically.

Future Steps

This project serves as an exemplification of the exciting opportunities 3D printing brings to the marine sector. The WAAMpeller will be the first of many class certified vessel components fabricated by 3D printing.  Contact us today to join the 3D printing revolution.

Digitalisation of Spare Parts Can Create a Competitive Advantage for Manufacturers

The VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, a technological research organisation serving both the public and private sector has undertaken a study with Aalto University on the benefits of digitalising and 3D printing spare parts.

Replacing Spare Parts Warehouses

Spare Parts are typically stored in warehouses and the costs involved are staggering due to the high maintenance needed. Furthermore, some of these parts are simply gathering dust and are disposed of after numerous years of storage. 3D printing allows spare parts to be produced on demand, eliminating both storage and wastage costs.

According to VTT project manager Sini Metsä-Kortelainen, “3D printing technology has reached the stage where high-quality manufacturing is possible. The industry now has every opportunity to boost business by making spare parts into a focus area of development. Around five percent of parts can currently be manufactured digitally according to need.”

An example spare part for a digital camera that has been 3D printed and then CNC machined for refinement. Photo via VTT

The study found that extremely old or rarely needed parts are especially suitable for digitalisation and 3D printing, owing to high value but low demand. Warehousing such spare parts is not viable.

Swedish company Electrolux has begun pilot projects with Spare Parts 3D to kickstart the process of digitalising their spare parts. The trial will undergo five stages of evaluation before any digital warehouses are initiated for 3D printed spare parts for Electrolux’s range of products.

Contact us today at to find out more.

IDTechEx Research Estimates 3D Printing Metals Market to be Worth $12B in 2028

3D Printing Metals 2018-2028 

[Photo courtesy Carnegie Mellon University College of Engineering.]

More companies are beginning to follow the lead of early adopters of additive manufacturing technology such as GE Aviation. The focus of 3D printing technology for metals has been gravitating towards industrial usage for the past few years. The increasingly widespread use of the technology to produce low-volume or individually customised metal parts has continually fuelled its growth for the past few years. In fact, while plastic additive technology still represents the largest share of the market, it is not rising at the same pace as metal. 

Highlights from IDTechEx report:

  • Metal 3D printer sales grw by 48% last year while material sales grew at a rate of 32%.
  • In the long term, materials are expected to grow at a much faster pace than for printers.
  • This rate of growth is projected to continue for the next 4 years.
  • Direct metal laser sintering is still the main printer technology by total installed base with an 84% market share in 2016.
  • The total installed base for metal printers will continue to see a robust CAGR of 23% between 2018 to 2028.

The imperative insight from this report is that existing industries that employ metal 3D printing will continue to broaden their usage and applications of the technology. On the other hand, the rest of the industry is moving quickly to incorporate the technology into their value-chain so as to remain competitive. Some examples are German company Siemens using metal 3D printers for their gas turbine blades as well as NASA’s heavy investment for production of next-generation rocket engines.

As Spare Parts 3D, we also notice by exchanging with multiple industrial companies that request for metal 3D printed replacement parts to repair industrial machineries are raising very fast as stated by PWC.

The full 161 page report, the first market research report dedicated to metal 3D printing, can be purchased here

What Gartner’s 2017 3D Printing Hype Cycle Tell us?

Gartner’S 2017 3D Printing Hype Cycle shows a comprehensive evolving cycle of all 3D printing applications, their respective level of maturity.

Challenging Traditional Mass Production with 3D Printing

Carbon 3D’s new process enhances the default trend of 3D printing in coming years: stop thinking about prototyping but dream big of end-use production.

7 Key Facts You Need to Know About 3D Printing in 2017 –

IDC forecasted the worldwide spending on 3D printing will grow to nearly $29B in 2020. Sculpteo illustrated the same trend in its 2017 State of 3D Printing.

Ford Explores 3D Printing For Car Parts With Personalization And Cost Efficiency In Mind

Ford starts to test large-scale car parts with Stratasys using 3D printing in hopes of meeting personalized demand and increasing cost efficiency.

3D Printing Is The Key Driver Of The 4th Industrial Revolution, said HP CEO

CEO of HP believes that 3D printing and digitalisation are the key drivers of the 4th Industrial revolution, disrupting the entire manufacturing industry.