Expert support from Marine-i is helping to develop the latest 3D printing innovation in the floating offshore wind industry.

Launceston-based 3D printing specialist J-Supplied has developed large scale technology to produce bespoke parts for floating offshore wind, such as custom-designed turbine blades.

Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Marine-i aims to help the marine tech sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly grow through harnessing the full potential of research and innovation.

The emergence of floating offshore wind as a major strategic growth area for the marine tech industry in the south west prompted J-Supplied to diversify into this area.

MD Martin Jewell explained: “The ability to print large scale, low volume products is currently restricted by the commercially available equipment on the market. Typically, these can only manufacture products up to a 3m x 1m footprint. We identified the offshore renewable energy sector as the focus for a major innovation project to address this issue.

“Our vision is to have ‘warehouse size’ gantries that would enable a five-axis robotic 3D printer to produce very large products, such as turbine blades. This would break completely new ground for our industry.”

Marine-i, is providing a comprehensive package of RD&I support which includes market analysis by Marine-i partner, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, highlighting the most important commercial opportunities for the technology in floating offshore wind, and bespoke research by the University of Plymouth Digital Fabrication Laboratory, to develop processes to optimise this new technology.

Professor Lars Johanning of University of Exeter, lead partner for Marine-i, said: “J-Supplied should be applauded for the scale and ambition of their thinking. As well as being a major commercial opportunity for their business, this new process would have huge benefits for the global floating offshore wind industry.”

On February 10, a special online workshop will be taking place examining how 3D printing may be used in the production of wind turbine blades. There will be an opportunity to hear from leading experts and to help shape a future transnational innovative project in this field.

Delegates can register for this free event by visiting: www.marine-i.co.uk/events

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