Wednesday, 30 November 2016 Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, opened RAMLAB (Rotterdam Additive Manufacturing LAB). This is the first field lab equipped with 3D metal printers that focuses on port-related industry. RAMLAB uses 3D metal printers, a process also referred to as additive manufacturing, to develop knowledge relating to printing in metal, 3D designs and certification. The official opening took place in RDM Rotterdam’s Innovation Dock.
RAMLAB was established to carry out research and development projects in cooperation with partners for the purpose of making WAAM (Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing) technology commercially viable. With its partners, RAMLAB will work towards a future in which components can be printed on demand.
The Port of Rotterdam launched this initiative on 11 February 2016. As Mr Castelein explained at the time, “While 3D printing is very promising, there are only a few companies that have the resources and knowledge required to actually use the technology.” RAMLAB is part of the Port of Rotterdam Authority’s drive to develop new port activities through innovation.
There are currently two WAAM systems in the Innovation Dock. One of the units measures four by three metres and has a manipulator that can print ship propellers, for example. The other robot can move on six-metre rails to weld things like lifting hooks. This system can be used to manufacture objects that are larger than 1m3.
RAMLAB is an initiative of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, InnovationQuarter and RDM Makerspace. The lab currently has eight partners (Valk Welding, Autodesk, IBM, Air Liquide, Lincoln Electric, University of Twente M2I, Lemtech and Lloyds Register) and eight members (Huisman Equipment, Heerema Fabrication, Royal IHC, Koninklijke Marine, Royal Roos, Promarin, Bolier, Fokker and MX3D).