Naval Group and Centrale Nantes print the world's first hollow propeller blade
Naval Group and Centrale Nantes have printed the first demonstrator of hollow propeller blades by metal additive manufacturing as part of the European H2020 project, RAMSSES. Funded by the European Commission, this collaborative programme aims to reduce the environmental impact of ships. Naval Group and Centrale Nantes are taking the lead within this project on the production of innovative propeller demonstrators to improve the operational capabilities of ships.
In order to improve vessel propulsion, Naval Group and Centrale Nantes are using additive manufacturing to design large parts (propellers of 6 metres in diameter), which could not be produced thus far using traditional manufacturing technologies. Implementing the WAAM (Wire Arc for Additive Manufacturing) process, allows for printing of large parts and paves the way for the production of propellers with more complex geometry.
Substantial industria gains
The one-third scale hollow blade demonstrator, representative of a container ship propeller, was printed in stainless steel in less than one hundred hours, weighing in at about 300 kg. The teams’ sheer technical prowess means that weight gains of over 40% will be achievable compared to conventional processes.
Significant operational gains
Sirehna, a Centrale Nantes spin-off and subsidiary of Naval Group, is piloting the blade design in order to improve propeller energy efficiency and reduce their environmental impact. Sirehna’s work has led to an overall optimization of blades in terms of efficiency and endurance, but also a significant reduction in radiated noise and vibrations.
About Cenrtrale Nantes
Founded in 1919, Centrale Nantes is a French engineering school and member of the Ecoles Centrale Group. Its undergraduate, Master and PhD programmes are based on the latest scientific and technological developments and the best management practices. At Centrale Nantes, research and training are organised into three key areas for growth and innovation: manufacturing, energy transition and healthcare. Cenrale Nantes promotes its teaching and research capabilities at international level through around 100 partnership with prestigious universities and schools worldwide.
About Naval Group
Naval Group is a European leader in naval defence and an international high-tech company. The Group offers a wide range of marine renewable energy solutions. The Group has 13,429 employees and its revenue was EUR 3.7 billion (as of 2017).