Wärtsilä: Piston Lifting Tool
Vaasa, Finland and Trieste, Italy
Onyx, Continuous Carbon Fiber
Piston Lifting Tool
Wärtsilä is a global leader in smart technologies and complete lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets, with a portfolio of products that spans from engines to propulsion and renewable solutions. The Finnish factory in Vaasa and Italian factory in Trieste oversee the manufacturing of large engines that power a third of the world’s largest cargo ships. The teams often need to fabricate tools to solve problems and optimize the efficiency of both the field and factories, and usually have to rely on third-party suppliers to manufacture them.
Wärtsilä usually machines its lifting tools out of solid steel, but found the resulting tools to be too expensive, too time-intensive to manufacture, and too heavy for people to use and transport. The teams are also unable to make quick design changes when needed. Each cost and weight increase has a significant impact when scaled across hundreds of tools — especially when the tool is needed to service or perform maintenance on parts in a large commercial ship where space is limited.
Working alongside Markforged, engineers at Wärtsilä redesigned the lifting tool for additive manufacturing. The new design included splitting the tool into a number of parts to best leverage continuous carbon fiber reinforcement and enabled the lifting tool to lift a 240 kilogram engine piston on the first try. The maximum weight the lifting tool can lift is 960 kilograms without deformation — however in manufacturing situations, the safety factor of four needs to be recognized. The team also worked alongside international certification agency Bureau Veritas to define a process to certify the tools. The tool was put through various tests and inspections, resulting in the first 3D printed CE-certified lifting tool — a huge achievement for the company.