Spanish shipbuilder Navantia has signed a contract with the Ministry of Defense to build five F-110 frigates (warships), including additive manufacturing for the Spanish Navy.
According to the company, these ships will be the first in the fleet to have integrated Industry 4.0 technologies with 3D printed components as well as a cyber security system that protects the ships from threats.
As part of the Spanish naval framework, Estillero 4.0, the construction of five frigates will include advanced integrated control and simulation systems, ie a digital twin. This framework is part of Navantia’s mission to transform shipbuilding into a process that leverages digitization for more efficient transport systems.
In addition, the new generation of the F-110 frigate will be made in Ferrol, 80% of which will be supplied from Spain. Industry 4.0 technologies will reduce the number of crew members required to operate the ship. This includes sensors and antennas for future installations of guided energy weapons, a new hybrid propellant plant and unmanned vehicles on board.
Estillero 4.0 has also been established to benefit Navantia’s employability by providing an estimated 7,000 jobs annually for nearly a decade. In addition, the workload of Ferrol Shipyard will also generate activity in the Gulf of Cádiz, through the company’s systems division – Navantia Sistemas.
Navantia and 3D Printing
Last year, Navantia began testing 3D printed parts on the Monte Udala Suezmax oil tanker. This was done in collaboration with the INNANOMAT (Materials and Nano Technology Innovation) Laboratory at the University of Cadiz (UCA). These tankers are built for the largest ship measurements capable of crossing Egypt’s Suez Canal, which is 50 meters wide and up to 68 meters long.
For example, a purpose-built 3D printer, the S-Discovery, was developed to make large-scale boat parts. As a trial run, the company has installed two 3D printed grilles for the Monte Udala ventilation system.