DNV GL expands 3D printing expertise with new JIPs and Singaporean Centre of Excellence
Although it has transformed many of the disciplines around prototyping and design, additive manufacturing (AM) –a.k.a. 3D printing – is not yet the disruptive force that it could be within the oil and gas industry.
There are of course good reasons for the rather slow-paced adoption by the industry. AM parts cannot be appropriately certified by current regulations, which means testing and creating new ones, and the differences in process and material mean that additional properties like ductility and fatigue can vary widely from more conventional grades of, for example, steel.
Only last year did Lloyd’s Register launch the first AM certification process for the sector, and the first metallic part along with it – a titanium gateway manifold designed by the UK-based Safer Plug Company. Yet this case also demonstrates what can be gained by the technique. The manifold formed part of an assembly for a suite of pipeline isolation tools, and the complex internal channels of the design could not have been manufactured using traditional techniques.
Shortly after, in November 2017, DNV GL published the first guidelines for AM in the offshore and marine sectors which advises on multiple aspects throughout the process, including the raw materials used, technology maturity of various techniques, manufacturing procedures and more.
Now DNV GL has announced that it will create a new centre of excellence for 3D printing techniques in Singapore. The Global Additive Manufacturing Centre of Excellence will serve as “an incubator and testbed” for additive manufacturing R&D and technology for the oil and gas, offshore and marine sectors, the group said.
Backed by funding from the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), the Centre will focus on developing competence such as technical standards and guidelines for qualifying and certifying AM equipment, processes, products, materials and personnel. It also will become the group’s global hub for advisory services in 3D printing and related technologies in ships, offshore and oil & gas applications.
DNV GL has said it intends to work with local research institutes and industry partners through joint collaborations to advance the use of AM.
“The establishment of the centre is timely due to the rising interest in adopting additive manufacturing. 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, group president & CEO, DNV GL.
The Centre’s first project will involve DNV GL’s collaboration with Sembcorp Marine, SIMTech and Singapore’s National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC) to develop and certify laser-aided additive manufacturing (LAAM) technology for fabricating large-scale structures for newbuild vessels at Sembcorp’s Tuas Boulevard yard. SIMTech’s large-format LAAM system works by melting applying a laser beam as a heat source to fuse surfaces together as they are laid down in layers.
This nine-month study is already under way and will gauge the feasibility of adopting AM techniques to produce components locally for Sembcorp’s marine construction work.
DNV GL says it is also working with Australia’s Aurora Labs to develop an AM certification standard that will cover its whole value chain – from powders to parts – to certify the technical performance of AM-produced parts.