Huisman has plans to expand the robotic workplace of its production facility in Sviadnov, Czech Republic, where the company can 3D print crane hooks. By upgrading its capacity, Huisman will be able to produce crane hooks with a weight of up to 5000 kg. The crane hooks are often used in the offshore industry.

Huisman reveals the plans after successfully testing four new 3D printed 350-metric-tonne crane hooks according to the strictest criteria. This has been done under the supervision of the independent certification authority Lloyd’s Register.

The hooks are approximately 170 by 130 cm in size, almost nine times larger than the first Huisman 3D printed crane hook. They have a weight of 1700 kg each and a loading capacity of 350 mt. Each hook consists of approximately 90 kilometres of welding wire.

Also read: In the making: World’s heaviest 3D printed crane hook

Wire & Arc Additive Manufacturing

Huisman has been employing the 3D printing technique Wire & Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) to produce mid-size to large components with high-grade tensile steel. An important benefit of using this technique for crane hooks is the significant reduction in delivery time at a cost that competes with forgings and castings, and a more consistent quality level.

The facility in the Czech Republic currently has three welding robots. By upgrading its capacity, even larger crane hooks with a weight of up to 5000 kg can be made.

‘Crane hooks are commonly part of the delivery of heavy lifting cranes for the offshore industry, one of our key products,’ explains Daniel Bílek, Project Coordinator. ‘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.’

Benefits of 3D printed crane hooks

The main benefits of 3D printed crane hooks are a high control over process and material quality, the layer-by-layer manufacturing enables a new range of component shapes and cost and/or lead time for critical components are reduced. In addition, 3D printing allows for tailor-made material properties within the same product, such as strength, ductility, and wear/corrosion-resistance.

Also read: Huisman to build 2600-mt crane for OIM Wind’s new installation vessel