"Wingnuts usually get lost because they’re made out of brass and end up being stolen. We’re replacing them using carbon fiber filled nylon.” - Carlos Melendez


Live from the Sea

By: Carlos Melendez


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. One of our team members will be writing an article after visiting a vessel, whom we delivered a part to. This is an opportunity to share about the amazing work we get to do everyday with our customers!

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 article of the series is by Carlos Melendez, Industrial Designer part of the mobile team, and describes a vessel visit he did from Singapore. 

Even though it wasn’t my first visit on this vessel, I felt like a new one to me. The density of the air, temperature, climate, and so many other factors make each visit unique. However, one thing never changes. Every time, you feel the same excitation when you approach these impressive steel giants! 

I boarded the transport boat with a couple of engineers from the partner companies. Every little movement of the water is reflected on the small boat. You can feel the breeze as the vehicle moves at full speed. It's as if you were pushed by the wind toward your destiny. 

While you approach the vessel, you can see more and more giant ships. The curious thing is that you are not aware of their enormous size until you get close, and once you finally step foot on their deck. Everything is very still compared to the speed boat anymore. 

After the boarding and registration process, it is necessary to explore the ship to retrieve data for potential products. The main goal is to obtain information about the products to be digitized with photographs, general measurements, and sketches. This is one of the most important steps for Ivaldi. So, every detail can be very useful for further production stages. If we do this part right, the process of the part is more effective and gives us confidence that our products are going to have the highest quality possible. It is very important for us to obtain specific information and feedback from the crews to further improve our final parts.

While walking quietly on the foredeck looking for pieces that we could digitize, I suddenly detected a hatch using M20 wingnuts. Fortunately, I always carry a part or two in my backpack, and I found one of those that we had previously printed at the factory. I decided to try it, and as expected, it fitted perfectly! Wingnuts usually get lost because they’re made out of brass, and are often stolen. We’re replacing them using carbon fiber filled nylon. This material allows us to make very strong parts that are UV resistant and non-corrosive. Using our current technology, we can modify the internal structures of the parts and get very lightweight and resistant products. 

It is the best part of my job, seeing the part you designed and printed fitting and in use at the right place, at the right time. You know then that all these hours of dedicated work was worth it.

Almost always when a vessel arrives in Singapore, there is a change of crew members. It is very common to see the crew running, working hard and getting everything ready to leave the ship. Even then, they always take the time to listen about our project, answer our questions and show us the ship.

It's amazing to think that every couple of months the whole crew changes, and they get to know a lot of new people every time they arrive in a new vessel. You really can feel empathy in their voices when it’s time to say goodbye to each other because they may not meet again for many years. There is no doubt that being on a ship is a unique experience.

After lunch and several hours of work, it is finally time to go home. You always feel exhausted at the end of a visit. It is heavy to walk in the sun looking for pieces, taking measurements, making sketches of what you have to digitize, but all the tiredness is forgotten when the boat becomes smaller and smaller as one moves away from it. The farther you go, the smaller they become, until you are able to see a horizon covered with vessels of all sizes and shapes. 

Singapore has one of the most important ports in the world, and according to the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, every 2 to 3 minutes a ship arrives or leaves the port. When a problem with a vessel arises, time is very important in this industry. Usually, the purchasing process takes a lot of time, not to mention shipping time, taxes and warehouses’ costs. That’s why during every vessel visit done by the Ivaldi team, a lot of information is compiled to feed our digital library. That way, we can make sure that all your parts are going to be on time and ready to be placed.

It was time to go back to see all these majestic vessels lined up on the water. It gave me confidence that I had done something useful today, and the opportunities for additive manufacturing in the maritime sector suddenly seemed all the more tangible. Every time I go on a ship visit, it gives me more motivation because we are delivering value to the maritime industry. What was once a hardware problem, we are replacing it with a software and services solution.