Bureau Veritas certifies next-gen 3D printed propeller for naval ships

Certification company Bureau Veritas (BV) has certified a new-generation 3D printed propeller manufactured by France-based defense contractor Naval Group.

Photo: Naval Group

With its 2.5-metre span supported by five 200-kg blades, Naval Group manufactured this new-generation propeller thanks to a metal 3D printing process.

Mounted on a Tripartite-class minehunter, the propeller will now accompany the ship on all of its operational missions. The propeller is said to be a technological achievement, being the largest metal 3D-printed propeller ever manufactured, and the first one made using additive manufacturing technology to equip a military ship in operation.

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Obtaining military naval quality requires rigorous development, according to the certification company. Bureau Veritas has been involved at every step of the manufacturing and testing process. Specifically, Bureau Veritas worked closely with Naval Group throughout the process to:

  • Define the qualification plan for the process
  • Define the production testing and inspection plan for the 3D printed parts
  • Witness manufacturing steps and testing
  • Verify the quality records and test reports

“This technology is promising and opens the room for further, more complex, innovations in additive manufacturing,” Laurent Leblanc, Senior Vice President Technical & Operations at Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore, commented.

“Including Bureau Veritas from the very beginning was vital for us to reach our goal of bringing the WAAM (Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing) process from its research & development stage to actionable industrial standards. In this regard, we are very proud to have obtained BV’s certification of the 3D-printed propeller blades,” Emmanuel Chol, Director of the Naval Group Nantes-Indret site, added.

Bureau Veritas has been active for more than 20 years in naval ship certification segment. The company’s classification services cover a range of combat and governmental vessels: frigates, corvettes, submarines, multipurpose vessels, aircraft carriers, amphibious vessels, auxiliary vessels, landing crafts, replenishment crafts, OPVs and other governmental vessels.

Photo: Naval Group