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New building technology for marine navigation security systems: 3D printing



Marine Data Systems used 3D printing technology to supply heading repeaters and alarm units to the Canadian Navy. The Uk based firm specializing in the development and manufacture of marine navigation equipment and associated control systems had already used the same technology to provide equipment to the French Navy as well. Their products equip many military naval vessels, such as the NATO’s, the Gulf States’ and the Far East’s. While working together with defence agencies for product integration in both new builds and retrofit projects, Marine Data™ also operates in the cruise liner industry. Their products are featured on the liners of the world’s leading operators – including P&O™ and Disney®, to ensure sea safety under hard conditions to ferries, fishing vessels, tugs and tankers.
With the latest commitment, a contract won by Northrop Grumman Sperry (NGS) in Canada, the firm equipped twelve Kingston Class Coastal Defence vessels with dual Sperry NAVIGAT X MK1™ gyrocompass systems and a full suite of repeater instruments. To meet both the Canadian Navy’s and Sperry Marine’s requirements, Marine Data developed a new MD75HR digital repeater with super large digits, modified their MD73HR Tape Heading Repeaters to accommodate the use of Night Vision Goggles and customised their MD86ALM alarm unit. Marine Data’s new MD04UPS uninterruptible power supplies were also supplied under the contract.
Alan Aitken, Regional Director of NGS Canada, commented on the importance of such contract: “The (Canadian) Navy had some specific requirements that we needed to meet, such as a large format digital repeater. It was critical that we partner with a reliable but flexible company to provide the specialised equipment so Marine Data in the UK was the obvious choice. They have a proven track record of supplying quality solutions to the military and to OEMs, and have a healthy can-do approach to solving problems.”
John Poyner, Managing Director of Marine Data, also complimented the team: “Our team did a great job in rising to the challenge. Because of the special requirements, we couldn’t start production until the order was confirmed. There was a very short lead time between finally receiving the order and required delivery, but our technical and production teams did a great job and we managed to meet a very tight deadline and budget”.
Having to deliver the units to Nova Scotia by only six weeks after the order date, Marine Data designed and prototyped using 3d printing, which allowed a speed up the whole process and the certainty in advance that all the electronics and wiring would align and fit correctly. Marine Data Systems also invested in advanced environmental testing equipment, providing pre-assessment testing to international standards upon equipment.