2019: Immensa Technology Labs (Immensa), the UAE’s leading Additive Manufacturing (AM or 3D printing) company, has joined Shell, Equinor, BP, Total, Rolls Royce Marine, TechnipFMC, Kongsberg, IMI Plc and Vallourec as part of the Joint Innovation Programs (JIP) that emphasise the 3D printing of functional production parts for the oil, gas, and maritime industries. Managed by DNV GL and Berenschot, the JIPs also comprise companies specialised in additive manufacturing such as Sandivk, Aidro, SLM Solutions, Additive Industries, Voestalpine, OCAS, Ivaldi Group, Quintus, HIPtec, University of Strathclyde and Siemens.

The JIP’s goal is to establish precise requirements for the parts and materials produced by additive manufacturing (AM) for Oil & Gas (O&G) applications, with Immensa’s provision to the JIPs stems from its technical expertise as an additive manufacturing fabricator.

The CEO of Immensa, Fahmi Al Shawwa, was glad that they had been included in this innovative initiative. In his speech, he said that the industry had witnessed the rapid growth of demand for 3D printing from many gas and oil companies. There has also been a rise in the demand to develop standards for certification of the 3D parts, which is a fundamental step. The Immensa team, which consists of 14 professional additive manufacturing engineers, has collaborated with various regional and global Gas and Oil companies to design applications that maximize the benefits of 3D printing utilizing both metals and polymers.

Immensa’s manufacturing facility which is made up of 8,300 sq. Feet, in the United Arab Emirates, provides Oil and Gas companies a wide range of additive manufacturing services in the region. These include research and development, advisory services, production, part design, and development, as well as testing.

Immensa Technology Labs mainly operates from Dubai; however, it is set to open another office in Sharjah and Kuwait. Immensa has been the pioneering company in utilizing additive manufacturing in Gas and Oil industries in the region.

SmarTech Publishing reckons that the 3D printing market in the oil industry will rise to US$ 450 million by 2021, and that this will continue to rise to around US$1.4 billion by 2025. This will help the industry to streamline the complex structure of gas and oil product manufacturing. This is cheaper as it reduces the time you have to wait for the parts and costly downtime. And according to research, more than 36% of all Oil & Gas industries, such as Chevron, Halliburton, Shell, and others, have already adopted the application of 3D printing in their companies.

Additive Manufacturing for the Oil & Gas and Maritime Industry

Challenges

The oil, gas, and maritime industry are on the forefront to embrace additive manufacturing. This means that they could incur more costs and time. Important reservations are made, and material qualifications plans are implemented to ensure that they provide quality results in a cost-effective way.

The Solution

This joint initiative plan aims to establish clear standards for materials manufactured through additive manufacturing. DNV GL joined together with significant shareholders to come up with project ethics to enable the safe introduction of additive manufacturing to the oil & gas and maritime industry. The main solution will be principles that will eventually become a DNV GL standard practice. Participating companies include Equinor, BP, Total, Rolls Royce Marine, OCAS, Ivaldi Group, TechnipFMC, Siemens, Voestalpine, Vallourec, Aidro, SLM Solutions, Additive Industries, Quintus, HIPtec and the Advanced Forming Research Centre of the University of Strathclyde.

DNV GL has already created a classification guideline for additive manufacturing components on DNV GL classed ships. DNV GL will also include learning from their broad involvement with additive manufacturing worldwide.

Benefits

Additive manufacturing is a great way to open new doors for tailor-made parts, spare parts, repairs, and new supply chains. 3D printing will revolutionize the industry enabling innovative designs, materials, and sophisticated parts, which were not available in the gas, oil, and maritime industries. The benefits of additive manufacturing include lead-time, weight, and part-count reduction, as well as reaching high levels of geometric involvement, less waste, and low carbon footprint.

Value

The guideline will provide a platform for parts made through additive manufacturing in oil, gas, and maritime applications. This will increase the value in many sectors which are struggling.

The Joint Innovation Programs (JIPs) was started in 2018 by 11 companies. By August 2019, these companies had grown to 19 stakeholders. The goal of the JIPs is to create principles and a complementary economic program to print qualified, functional metal production (spare) parts, to be utilized in the Oil, Gas and Maritime sectors.

Seamlessly Aligned JIPs

The partners in this JIP cooperated in 2 aligned projects:

  • Specifications towards certified parts, which is regulated by DNV-GL;
  • A Toolbox for options, supply chain set-up and economic capacity, which is governed by Berenschot.

The affiliated establishment, of the 2 projects secures optimum cross-fertilisation.

Guideline to be Released by January 2020

The final principles provide a structure to ensure that metal parts and compounds manufactured through Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) and laser-based Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) are in accordance to specifications with the recommended quality. And that they are produced in a safe and reputable environment.

This guideline was piloted through the development of 3 parts to ensure that all necessary steps were included for the quality production of WAAM and LPBF parts.

One of these parts, an Equinor pump impeller (LPBF).

In the first quarters of 2019, the stakeholders will conduct a final test of the applicability of this project during the production of 4 parts. These tests focus on:

  • Practicality: To check whether it follows a professional and economical production design.
  • Quality: To ensure that production follows the recommended specifications.

ROI-Model and Database of Parts

A comprehensive and fully-applicable business tool will be released in January 2020. This will establish 3D impacts in spare parts compared to the conventional method of manufacturing.  This blueprint will also be tested at the Q2 production process.

Next to this ROI-model, a record of parts will be listed, to establish the usefulness of additive manufacturing for potential spare parts in Oil & Gas.