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Tru-Marine keeps up pace of innovation

Mon 12 Feb 2018 by Hong Liang Lee

Tru-Marine keeps up pace of innovation
The launch reception hosted to celebrate the start of the Mentorship Programme

Tru-Marine has introduced at least one new repair technique every two years, including 3D printing of a marine turbocharger nozzle ring and super-coating against component erosion

Singapore’s homegrown technology firm Tru-Marine has kept up its innovative pace over the years as it has consistently rolled out new ways to take marine technology forward. Most recently, Tru-Marine embarked on a learning scheme to further enhance and complement its services.

Late last year Tru-Marine kick-started a Mentorship Programme that offers a structured learning journey including regular contact time between mentor and mentee.

Tru-Marine clinched the 18-month Mentorship Programme with Singapore Aero Engine Services Pte Ltd (SAESL), a joint venture by Rolls-Royce and Singapore Airlines Engineering Company known for aero engine and component repair services for the Rolls-Royce Trent engine facility.

With Tru-Marine’s reclamation technologies mirroring those of SAESL’s engine overhaul and component repair for the aerospace industry, the mentorship allows the mentee to cross-reference more stringent quality benchmarks so as to elevate service delivery and exceed current industry expectations. The learning will also allow Tru-Marine to gain comprehension of SAESL’s operational excellence and progressively deliver better value through increased efficiencies.

The Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC) is supporting the Tru-Marine Mentorship Programme as a technology resource partner. An initiative by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), in partnership with the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and industry partners, ARTC collaborates with cross-sectorial companies in R&D to fast-track the development of advanced remanufacturing and manufacturing solutions.

Tru-Marine Group founding and group managing director David Loke said: “To remain relevant in today’s fast-evolving business environment, we need to transform by looking beyond the sectors we serve and challenge our current mindset and best practices constantly. This mentorship gives us the rare opportunity where we would be exposed to the world’s pre-eminent engineering service expert, allowing us to discover new disruptive approaches and service innovations. For our clients, this translates into reducing downtime and maintenance costs.”

Committing 3% of its sales yearly toward R&D, Tru-Marine has introduced at least one new repair technique every two years.

During Q3 2017, Tru-Marine launched a super-coating against component erosion using high velocity oxygen fuel (HVOF) coating technology. The HVOF coating is a thermal spray coating process used to improve or restore a component’s surface properties or dimensions. This helps to extend equipment life by significantly increasing erosion and wear resistance and corrosion protection.

In 2015, it introduced the 3D printing of a marine turbocharger nozzle ring using exotic super metal alloy. The use of high-quality raw materials for a low cost cannot be achieved with conventional metalworking production that requires economies of scale. The 3D printing also produces simpler designs that do not incorporate fasteners or welded seams, which will generally improve performance and reduce production and delivery times. The 3D-printed nozzle rings have yielded positive results in tensile strength and in laboratory microstructure examinations. They have been tested as suitable for turbocharger applications.

In 2012, Tru-Marine partnered with the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology to develop robotic additive manufacturing. The company said it achieved significant productivity gains when reconstructing worn-out components or even building components from scratch.

Technological innovation forms one of Tru-Marine’s pillars of differentiation. Since the early 1990s, the company has embarked on its pursuit of operational capabilities that are in advance of market needs, through inhouse R&D efforts as well as collaborations with various research agencies and industry partners.

Looking ahead, Mr Loke said “We are working with the Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre to transform Tru-Marine into a ‘factory of the future.’ With technology evolving at an exponential rate, we are focused on building a higher-skilled team to serve emerging needs.”

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