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Lehvoss Group Provides Carbon-Reinforced Thermoplastics for World’s First 3D Printed Yacht

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Livrea Yacht, an ambitious project from two Italian boat builders, will be the first-ever 3D printed yacht. The Hamburg-based Lehvoss Group is providing the team with carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastics to produce parts with dedicated direct extrusion 3D printing technology.

Francesco Belvisi and Daniele Cevola are two Italian boat builders with big and buoyant dreams. The duo is currently working on a project called Livrea Yacht, which involves designing and building a sailboat with 3D printing. The boat, dubbed the Mini 650, will enter into the upcoming 2019 Mini-Transat yacht race. This lengthy race starts in France and spans across the Atlantic ocean, ending in Brazil.

Since 2014, the two boat builders have been working on a 3D printed yacht for this prestigious race. Their plan is to use 3D printing to “overcome the problems of traditional boat building.” In fact, the entrepreneurs recently won Italy’s National Innovation Award 2017 for their groundbreaking work.

Together, the Italian entrepreneurs have also founded the company OCORE, which provides the dedicated direct extrusion 3D printing technology that is used in the project.

As any seafarer knows, you can’t properly embark upon the ocean without a reliable crew. And so, the Italian designers teamed up with Autodesk and KUKA to help man the ship. The OCORE 3D printer works using a KUKA robotic arm, which is a customizable and automated manufacturing solution that improves production efficiency.

However, these aren’t the only companies that are planning to get in on the action. The latest partner to climb aboard this project is the Lehvoss Group.

Lehvoss Group, a subsidiary of Lehmann&Voss&Co.., is supplying the Livrea Yacht team with its LUVOCOM 3F materials. These carbon-fiber reinforced high-performance materials are based thermoplastic polymers, such as high quality polyamides and PEEK.

“We are excited to have the LEHVOSS Group on board for this innovative project. They are an acknowledged global manufacturer of customized polymer materials. Their sponsorship, additional support and experience with dedicated materials for our technology has helped a lot in driving our project. In parallel, we now can also translate this technology to other industrial sectors for serial applications”, said Cevola, Managing Director of OCORE.

OCORE’s 3D printing technology with KUKA robotic arm

Livrea Yacht Project: Carbon-Reinforced Thermoplastics Make for Smooth Sailing

The LUVOCOM 3F materials developed by Lehvoss are based on thermoplastic polymers and reinforced with carbon fibers, greatly improving layer strength and reducing warping.

“The boat will be highly competitive thanks to the light and strong 3D printed parts. 3D printing reduces the build time for the boat dramatically and makes it also cheaper. We are looking forward not only to the first 3D printed boat but also to winning the competition in 2019”, added Belvisi, CTO of OCORE.

To 3D print the boat, the Italians are using the patented OCORE material deposition method. This technique uses an algorithm inspired by fractals to make parts stronger, and works similarly to fused filament fabrication (FFF).

The team is hoping that many parts of the sailboat will be made using this 3D printing process. However, there is no official word on how many of the yacht’s parts will actually be 3D printed.

Nonetheless, Lehvoss and the two Italian boat builders are looking forward to showcasing how 3D printing technology is disrupting the way that yachts and ships are being manufactured.

“We are happy to be a partner in this challenging and very exciting project and strongly believe in 3D printing as a way of enabling the production of higher performing and competitive parts. The Livrea Yacht will show what dedicated processing and 3D printing polymers today can already achieve“, said Thiago Medeiros Araujo, Market Development LUVOCOM 3F of LEHVOSS.

Source: Lehvoss Press Release

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