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3D printed crane hook

Dutch heavy crane and offshore manufacturer Huisman has successfully completed its test programme for a 350 tonne crane hook created with a 3D printer.

Tested under the supervision of independent certification authority Lloyd’s Register, the new crane hook has been constructed from approximately 90km of high-grade tensile steel welding wire using the Wire & Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) 3D printing technique. Weighing 1,700kg and measuring 1.7 by 1.3 metres, the hook is nine times larger than the first Huisman 3D printed crane hook.

The company claims 3D printed hooks are more cost effective to produce - particularly larger ones - offer consistent quality levels and significantly reduced delivery times compared with forgings and castings hooks. The layer-by-layer manufacturing technique used by 3D printers also makes new or bespoke shapes possible.
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The 350 tonne crane hook was created with a 3D printer

Project coordinator Daniel Bilek, said: “Crane hooks are commonly part of the delivery of heavy lifting cranes for the offshore industry, one of our key products. The price of a forged hook increases exponentially with size, especially if it is a non-standard size. If a hook is produced by casting, the problem of inconsistent internal quality could result in longer delivery times. All this led to the idea of making the hooks ourselves, using the so-called WAAM method. After five years of research, development and testing of 3D printed products, we have gained the necessary expertise to use this innovative method for the production of high quality crane hooks."

Huisman has said it plans to increase the capacity of its robotic workshop at its production facility in Sviadnov, Czech Republic, in order to produce crane hooks with weights of up to 5,000kg.