‘Milestone’ certification of first AM-produced part for oil and gas sector
6 Sep 2017
Lloyd’s Register has certified the first part to be produced through additive manufacturing for the oil and gas industry.
The titanium gateway manifold, designed for pipelines, was built by AM specialists 3T RPD for the Safer Plug Company.
SPC technical director Ciaran Early said that Lloyd’s, which oversaw and certified the process and components, had “opened a gateway to the future.”
He added: “LR’s pivotal role is to guide suppliers through the codes, standards, controls and best practices to manufacture AM parts, in order that end users will have full confidence that an AM part meets the required level of criticality for that part.”
Additive manufacturing involves the construction of three-dimensional objects, usually with the aid of computer aided design (CAD). A variety of materials can be used – among them plastic and metal, which are applied in successive layers when used.
While 3D printing is the best-known variant, there are a number of other techniques including additive fabrication and layered manufacturing. The manifold construction was achieved using powder bed fusion.
Amelia Stead, the LR AM surveyor who was primary technical lead on the project, said the part would have been nearly impossible to produce using traditional manufacturing techniques due to its complex internal channels.
Andrew Imrie, LR global product launch manager added: “It’s crucial that new technologies are embraced by the oil and gas industry. LR is at the forefront of supporting these new technologies, enabling the industry to bring certified products to market with the proper assurance and confidence.”