Rotterdam to acquire 3D metal printers

The Fieldlab will be located in the Innovation Dock at RDM Rotterdam The Fieldlab will be located in the Innovation Dock at RDM Rotterdam

The Port of Rotterdam has announced that it will be acquiring its own Additive Manufacturing Fieldlab with 3D metal printers.

RDM Rotterdam will also obtain a centre for the development of knowledge in the area of metal printing, 3D scanning, 3D design and certification.

Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, said: “3D printing is promising, but also complex. Developments are appearing in rapid succession. There are few companies with sufficient expertise and resources to start working with 3D metal printing on their own.”

He added: “The first 3D printer is to be commissioned here in the second half of this year. The Fieldlab is a logical follow-up to the pilot project initiated last year to manufacture spare parts for ships using 3D print technologies.”

The Port of Rotterdam Authority undertook the initiative to set up the Fieldlab alongside key partners in development, InnovationQuarter and RDM Makerspace.

Fieldlab will provide port-related companies with a collective location to accelerate developments in this area and to work together on applications for the industry.

It will be located in the Innovation Dock at RDM Rotterdam, the site of choice for innovation in the Rotterdam port area, where companies, researchers and students work together on shaping the new manufacturing industry.

Mr Castelein announced the arrival of the Fieldlab during the 3D Conference held at RDM Rotterdam on 11 February.

He continued: “Rotterdam wants to be the world’s smartest port and a leader in the application of this kind of innovation. That is good for the business community and good for employment.”

The investment in the Fieldlab in Rotterdam is said to amount to several million euros, with an advanced 3D metal printer costing approximately €1m.

Currently, 15 companies have signed a declaration of intent for participation in the Fieldlab which intends to be operational in the second half of the year.

The eventual size of Fieldlab will depend on the participation of companies and institutions.

Over the past year, InnovationQuarter, RDM Makerspace and the Port of Rotterdam Authority initiated a pilot project for the 3D printing of spare parts for the maritime industry.

Altogether, 28 companies and agencies participated in the pilot project, including companies such as Keppel Verolme, Marin, Heerema, Huisman and Fokker.

By Alice Mason

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