9 December 2013

The innovative propeller nozzle manufacturing method with basically one single weld only, is now operational in the Chinese plant of Damen Marine Components (DMC) also. Consequently the technique with which DMC has revolutionized nozzle production, is up and running at both of its plants. Say hello to the metal spinning machine.

“The nozzles can be manufactured somewhat lighter and have a smoother inside. Traditional propeller nozzle manufacturing requires a minimum ten up to thirty or more welds at the inside of the nozzle, depending on size. Our new technique requires less welding and in addition gives a much smoother surface. What could be better than that?”, Mr. Cees Bons, Senior Production Manager with DMC in China hailed about the novel spinning machine that has just come on stream in DMC’s temporary plant Jiang Yin. The spinning machine of DMC in Gdansk, Poland has been performing superbly since early 2012. Meanwhile it has already delivered the proven technology status to this innovative manufacturing technique that ensures the shortest lead times in the industry.

Potter’s wheel

The principle pivots around (literally) transforming a steel tube into a bell-shaped nozzle inner ring through mechanical cold moulding. The technique most resembles the shaping of an open-ended vase on the potter’s wheel.

The spinning machine starts with a tube that has been plate rolled and welded – hence the one, single weld only - on the spot in DMC’s manufacturing halls. A calm and cautious process, it still far outspeeds the traditional patchwork-style welding of the nozzle inner ring from many steel parts, especially when the rings are big. The new spinning machine in China can go up to 7 metres in diameter – starting from 1 metre. ”We are able to make an extension on our spinning table up to a diameter of ten meters”, Cees Bons added.

“The machine in Jiang Yin, China can handle carbon steel to a maximum of 36 millimeters thickness, and stainless steel and Duplex to a maximum of 25 millimeters. Some clients want a stainless steel ring only in the nozzle’s central cavitation zone, with a carbon steel in- and outlet. This would still involve two welds only! It still is almost seamless”, Mr. Steef Staal, DMC’s Managing Director noted. He added that the traditional production method by means of the welding of multiple steel parts will continue to be used, if the spinning machines in China or Poland cannot accommodate specific sizes or specials.

New China HQ

DMC’s new spinning machine was assembled in China by Korean engineers under the supervision of Cees Bons, assisted by some members of the Jiang Yin crew. It is a pioneer in more ways than one, being the marine components manufacturer’s first operation in Jiang Yin, near the Yangtze River.

A production hall is temporarily being rented there ahead of DMC’s removal, lock stock and barrel, from Suzhou. “As our 5,000 square metre plant in Suzhou had become too small – also following our expanding manufacturing of winches – we have opted to move entirely”, Steef Staal said. “Our new 12,000 square metre complex is currently being built and by late 2014 we plan to have moved-in completely, including our show-piece propeller nozzle spinning machine.”

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