DNV GL has set up an R&D centre in Singapore to accelerate the use of 3D-printed technology by the oil and gas industry.
There are many benefits to 3D-printing, including the immediate onsite manufacture of replacement parts, and the development of lighter-weight components with unique shapes that cannot be achieved with traditional manufacturing techniques. The technology is garnering interest across industry, with printed parts already used in planes and nuclear power plants. However, adoption in the oil and gas, offshore and marine sector is low, due to challenges with qualification and certification.
DNV GL’s new facility aims to develop the technical standards and guidelines needed to qualify and certify 3D-printing equipment, processes, products, materials and personnel.
“With our long track record in R&D and strong position in developing industry technical standards, DNV GL’s Global Additive Manufacturing Centre of Excellence will play a catalytic role in the oil & gas, offshore and marine sector,” said Remi Eriksen, CEO of DNV GL.
The parts that the oil and gas industry might print in the future include spare parts like flanges, valves, and drill bits as well as structurally-sensitive and geometrically-complex parts, a DNV GL spokesperson told The Chemical Engineer.
The centre is supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board and is part of a wider strategic push by the country to partner with industry as a proving ground for advanced manufacturing.
DNV GL has been studying the opportunities and challenges posed by 3D printing technology in the oil and gas sector since 2014. Last year, it published guidelines for the sector on the use of the technology. It says the guidance provides a systematic process to assess every parameter that will impact the final products, from the raw material used, technology maturity, manufacturing procedure, data transfer, to the printing and post-processing.
A number of DNV GL’s existing collaborations with industry will continue through the new centre, including its work with a consortium involving Sembcorp Marine to develop and certify laser-aided printing technology for making large-scale structures for vessels.