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Huisman scales up 3D printing of crane hooks

Huisman has been employing the 3D printing technique ‘Wire & Arc Additive Manufacturing’ (WAAM) to produce 3D printed 350-mt crane hooks.

Huisman has successfully tested four new 3D printed 350-mt crane hooks under the supervision of Lloyd’s Register. The hooks are approximately 170×130 cm in size, almost nine times larger than the company’s first 3D printed crane hook. They weigh 1,700 kg each and have a 350-mt loading capacity.

Huisman has been employing the 3D printing technique ‘Wire & Arc Additive Manufacturing’ (WAAM) to produce mid-size to large components with high-grade tensile steel. An important benefit of using this technique for crane hooks is the significant reduction in delivery time at a cost that competes with forgings and castings, and a more consistent quality level.

Huisman has plans to expand its robotic workplace of its production facility in Sviadnov, Czech Republic, which currently holds three welding robots. By upgrading its capacity, Huisman will be able to produce crane hooks with a weight up to 5,000 kg.

“Crane hooks are commonly part of the delivery of heavy lifting cranes for the offshore industry, one of our key products” said Daniel Bilek, Project Coordinator at Huisman. “The price of a forged hook increases exponentially with size, especially if it is a non-standard size. If a hook is produced by casting, the problem of inconsistent internal quality could result in longer delivery times. All this led to the idea of making the hooks ourselves, using the so-called WAAM method. After 5 years of research, development and testing of 3D printed products, we have gained the necessary expertise to use this innovative method for the production of high quality crane hooks.”

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