Huisman has successfully tested four 3D-printed, 350-tonne lifting capacity crane hooks under the supervision of certification authority Lloyd’s Register.

The hooks measure approximately 1.7 m x 1.30 m, almost nine times larger than the first Huisman 3D printed crane hook. They weigh 1.7 tonnes each.

Huisman said that it has been employing the wire and arc additive manufacturing (WAAM) technique to produce mid-to-large size components with high-grade tensile steel. The method of production results in a more consistent quality level, reduces delivery time, at a cost that competes with forgings and castings, it added.

Daniel Bílek, project coordinator explained: “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 plans to expand its robotic production facility in Sviadnov, Czech Republic, which currently hosts three welding robots. By upgrading its capacity, Huisman will be able to produce crane hooks with a weight up to 5 tonnes.