By: Mariel Felix
We offer Parts Replacement as a Service (PRaaS), delivering secure, scalable and cost-effective digitized inventory and on-site production solutions. Working with leading partners across maritime, offshore and the construction industries, the Ivaldi PRaaS Solution reduces inventory, warehousing needs, delivery times and cost of logistics by allowing organizations to send files, not parts, thanks to additive manufacturing.
The “Live from the Sea” series is a monthly feature of a part delivered to one of our end-users. This is an opportunity to share about the amazing work we get to do every day with our customers, and offers you a sneak peek into boarding one of those giant vessels!
Vessel visits are a key component for us to understand our users’ needs and see, first hand, how our service can be of help to the crews. The visits themselves, which you will read about in this series, is one of the most critical and challenging tasks our team has to perform weekly.
This fourth article of the series is by Mariel Felix, Industrial Designer, and describes a vessel visit she did from our Singapore location.
I boarded seven vessels in less than three months. It's quite an achievement to the average industrial designer! I always feel quite awesome boarding a new vessel, but re-boarding on a vessel you’ve visited years ago is really something, considering some vessels do not return to the same port for years.
This specific vessel visit story starts in 2017. The vessel, for which we were also able to access the vessel manual, was one of the vessels our local team on Singapore got to visit. Every vessel has its own vessel manual. It's some sort of a bible that gathers all the information of every spare part of every subsystem of every system of the entire ship! So, as you can imagine, we were very grateful to have this manual provided to us.
Although you might think that having a vessel manual means we will be able to 3D print the whole ship, it doesn’t really work like that, but it remains to be a huge help for us to do our work.
Throughout the year, we digitized some of the spare parts from the manual that matched our capabilities. We were ready to board it again. We waited two years for this to happen.
I remember this visit very vividly because it was my first solo mission!
The ship and I were called to be in Singapore at the same time! I must say she and I have a lot in common, and I feel connected to this vessel. We are classy and powerful referred females, and, as I learned from her vessel manual, we both have a close appreciation to rubber materials. I mean, I like rubbers because I’m an industrial designer, but this thousand-ton metal machine needs her gaskets and o-rings in her systems to be alive and functional.
3D printing materials and technologies get better every month. Several rubber-like, 3D printable materials weren’t as common and reliable in 2017 as they are now. Since we usually bring standard parts like caps and scupper plugs with us, it was luck that I actually brought several gaskets from the actual vessel manual to test and compare with the originals that day.
We went straight to the engine room where the spare parts room and workshop is. With the help of the crew, we found and compared the o-rings of very specific systems while I captured the information needed to match our 3D printed parts. The thing about gaskets and o-rings is that we are not able to put them in place and test them during a vessel visit because they go inside the machines and systems. The crew does the required maintenance and part replacement when their manuals and procedures indicates it’s time for it, so I know the gaskets wouldn’t be put in place before a few days or weeks.
I left one of our gaskets for the crew to use next time they’ll need it. Together with the crew, we were able to identify the exact system and position the gasket goes into. For this particular one, they were out of spares. So, it was convenient for them to keep it.
It strikes me how much the quality of our parts visibly resemble the originals, but what really does it for us, when visiting a vessel and discussing with the crew, is to tell them about our Part Replacement as a Service (PRaaS) solution. They hear that it takes us less than an hour to produce several gaskets and o-rings that can be delivered to them in less than 24 hours with no minimum order needed. It just sounds too good to be true, right? Disrupting the traditional supply chain model sounds simple, but the maritime industry is still a hard industry to approach because every crew member is just so incredibly self-sufficient and ingenious! They always manage to keep their ship functioning properly while at sea. They manufacture missing caps, fix and cut gaskets, and they have their own o-ring maker kits for fixing-on-the-go. They weld their problems away, doing so much with the limited resources they have. With our PRaaS solution, though, we are offering a new service to try and make their jobs a little easier!