3D printed marine parts validated after successful tests on-board Endeavour oil tanker

3D printing service provider 3D Metalforge has successfully tested three different 3D printed parts on board ConocoPhillips Polar Tankers’ Endeavour oil tanker.

As part of a pioneering project, 3D Metalforge worked with ConocoPhillips, engineering services provider Sembcorp Marine and classification society American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) to fabricate, test, and install 3D printed parts on-board the Endeavor oil tanker, which were in operation for six months.

ConocoPhillips Polar Tankers' Endeavour oil tanker. Photo via ConocoPhillips Polar Tankers.

The parts have now been retrieved and inspected by the Endeavour crew and ABS, and have been validated to be in good working condition.

“We are delighted with the performance of the parts and the successful completion of the project,” said Patrick Ryan, ABS Senior Vice President, Global Engineering and Technology. “It’s an important step forward for a technology that certainly has a significant role to play in the future of the marine industry.

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HP partners with L’Oreal for flexible cosmetics production metal jet momentum continues

Multinational printing firm HP has made several announcements in the lead-up to this year’s Formnext trade show, the first of which concerns a new partnership with cosmetics giant L’Oréal.

Together, the two companies are seeking to enable more flexible cosmetics production and explore “entirely new” cosmetics packaging and applications. HP also announced the expansion of its Digital Manufacturing Network (DMN) of parts providers in order to accelerate the shift towards mass production, while the momentum of its Metal Jet 3D printing platform is continuing in advance of its commercial availability in 2022.

HP Metal Jet 3D printer systems. Photo via HP

“3D printing is unlocking new levels of personalization, business resiliency, sustainability, and market disruption,” said Didier Deltort, President of Personalization & 3D Printing at HP. “HP is excited to reconvene with the additive manufacturing community at Formnext.”

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3D printing could transform the Oil & Gas industry

  • The oil and gas industry is finally getting in on the 3D printing revolution, using the technology to solve supply chain problems, lower costs, and reduce emissions
  • The tech could save the oil and gas industry $30 billion annually
  • The 3D printing revolution has been significantly bolstered by the global pandemic and supply chain issues, and it is now maturing into a major industry

Port congestion, delivery delays, and shortages have become a mark of the pandemic world that is not showing signs of going away anytime soon. It is in times like this that disruptive, transformational technology shines and 3D printing is no exception. Additive manufacturing, as it is also known, has been around for quite a while now, and while we haven’t yet reached the point of having 3D printers in every home, energy companies have been paying close attention and are now using the technology to cope with part shortages.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Chevron had turned to additive manufacturing to secure parts necessary for the maintenance of its $54-billion Gorgon LNG project. Chevron had to turn to additive manufacturing due to fears that maintenance would be delayed if the company had ordered ready-made parts.

“We’ve learned a lot from those parts. The most important thing is that we’ve shown that this flexible, right part, right time digital supply-chain approach can be successful, and it can meet our needs in a sort of reactive mode,” the WSJ quoted Chevron manager Robert Rettew as saying.

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Time for change? 83% of Oil & Gas firms eyeing 3D printing, says Protolabs

round 83% of oil and gas companies are considering adopting 3D printing or on-demand manufacturing to meet their spare part production needs, according to an industry report

Published by digital manufacturing provider Protolabs, the ‘Decision Time’ survey has revealed how firms in the oil services sector intend to adapt to sustainability challenges, by engaging in Manufacturing-as-a-Service (MaaS). In doing so, the report says that the industry aims to cut its costs, reduce its COemissions and adapt to the “green energy transition.”

An off-shore wind farm in the North Sea.

“The sector’s appetite to secure a long-term future means that companies are branching out into other industries and extending their capabilities,” explains Bjoern Klaas, VP and MD of Protolabs Europe. “With the energy transition revolutionizing the sector, combined with a much lower profit environment, it is imperative that companies continue to innovate and embrace renewable markets.”

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VW starts testing 3D-printed structural parts

Automaker teams with Siemens, HP to make lighter components, with goal of 100,000 annually by 2025

Volkswagen has begun certifying prototype 3D-printed structural components, with the aim of producing 100,000 parts annually by 2025. 

VW is teaming with Siemens and HP to industrialize 3D printing of structural parts, which can be significantly lighter than equivalent components made of sheet steel. 

The automaker will use an additive process known as binder jetting to make the components at its main plant in Wolfsburg, Germany. HP is providing the printers and Siemens will supply the manufacturing software.

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Shell to enable digital warehouse by 3D Printing of spare parts

Shell, the British-Dutch multinational Oil and Gas Company, is leveraging spare parts 3D printing to foray into digital warehouse. The company aims to focus on the revolutionary 3D printing technology to optimise its repair and replacement strategies and ultimately enable a digital warehouse approach to spare part management.

Shell believes the technology can reduce the costs, delivery time and the carbon footprint of spare parts and so it is collaborating with industry leaders to push the innovation of 3D printing for the energy sector.

Spare Parts 3D printing

Shell’s in-house 3D printing capability started in 2011 with a metal laser-printing machine to fabricate unique testing equipment for laboratory experiments at the Shell Technology Centre Amsterdam (STCA). Today, Shell has about 15 polymer, ceramic, and metal printers located at its technology centres in Amsterdam and Bangalore.

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New Pentagon policy to accelerate use of 3D printing amid fresh cyber concerns

Defense Department officials want to accelerate the adoption of additive manufacturing to solve frontline and logistical challenges alike under a recent policy change, even as the department’s watchdog raises new concerns about how the military secures its 3D printing systems.

In June, DoD issued its first additive manufacturing policy. The publication follows closely on the heels of DoD’s first-ever additive manufacturing (AM) strategy, released in January.

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Huisman scales up 3D printing

Cranes manufacturer Huisman said it has successfully tested four new 3D printed 350mt crane hooks under the supervision of the independent certification authority Lloyd’s Register.

The hooks are approx. 170 by 130cm in size, almost nine times larger than the first Huisman 3D printed crane hook, the company said. They have a weight of 1,700kg each and a loading capacity of 350mt. Each hook exists of approx. 90 kilometers of welding wire.

(Photo: Huisman)

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. According to the company, 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.

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Big Oil’s digital pivot marks the beginning of a new era for the industry

The oil and gas industry is embracing new technologies to save time and costs and, most recently, to reduce the carbon footprint of its supply chain as the energy sector is under increased pressure to reward shareholders while helping to fight climate change.  Along with artificial intelligence, machine learning, digital twins, and robotics, the world’s biggest oil and gas firms and oilfield services providers are betting on 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, to streamline operations, cut costs and save time, and reduce emissions from spare parts manufacturing. 

Over the past decade, some of the biggest oil and gas firms in the world have turned to 3D printing to procure parts and create digital warehouses to procure and manage the supply of necessary equipment. 

One such example is supermajor Shell (2.60%), which believes that additive manufacturing technology can reduce the costs, delivery time, and the carbon footprint of spare parts. Shell has ongoing projects with other industry players, including Baker Hughes (3.06%), to push the innovation of 3D printing for the energy sector, say Nick van Keulen, Supply Chain Digitalisation Manager and Angeline Goh, 3D Printing Technology Manager at Shell.  

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Additive Manufacturing as bridge production and other uses

In a presentation at Virtual Engineering Days, Joe Cretella, applications engineering manager at ProtoLabs, offered technical examples about how multijet fusion (MJF) can best be used, while Brent Ewald, solutions architect from HP, talked about developing strategies for using MJF and encouraged companies to think about how the technology can complement their more traditional manufacturing efforts.

additive_mfg2.jpg

Cretella began by noting that the ideal applications for multijet fusion can include prototypes and end-use parts; complex geometries requiring hinging or light weighting, high strength, and temperature resistance; jigs and fixtures, brackets, clips; and component housings.

He cited a recent case study that ProtoLabs did with a university in France and its German counterparts to produce reusable face shield. Cretella said they were able to optimize the design so that it could be printed as a single component. “So it could fit a large number of those face shields into a single build,” he explained. “And that’s really going to be key on thinking about designs, especially as we’re getting into talking about the parts, we want to be able to fit a high volume.”

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