Northern Italy-based Aidro Hydraulics & 3D Printing organized a 2-day meeting for an event within the Joint Innovation Programs (JIPs). The Aidro Oil and Gas meeting focused on 3D Printing of functional production parts for the Oil, Gas & Maritime industries.
Participating companies in the project include key Oil and Gas industry stakeholders such as Equinor, BP, Total, Rolls Royce Marine, TechnipFMC, Vallourec. Also present were a number of companies specialized in additive manufacturing and other advanced manufacturing technologies such as Aidro, SLM Solutions, Additive Industries, Voestalpine, OCAS, Ivaldi Group, Quintus, HIPtec, University of Strathclyde and Siemens.
After a slow start, the Oil and Gas industry is now recognizing that the adoption of additive manufacturing can generate advantages in various areas such as just-in-time delivery of spare parts and reduction of stock, fast prototyping, accelerating R&D and innovative upstream/downstream solutions.
Sharing AM knowledge
The partners in this program aim to define clear requirements for parts manufactured by additive manufacturing thanks to the sharing of information and knowledge among the group. The work tools are based on two separate JIPs. One focused on defining the guidelines managed by DNV GL. The other, managed by Berenschot, aimed at identifying key pieces or case studies and following the production process through additive manufacturing, identifying the necessary tests and making the analysis on printed parts.
The Programs were launched early 2018 and by this year the group has grown to 16 companies. Partners have periodical discussions and preliminary guidelines have been presented during the meeting held on March 4th and 5th at Aidro’s offices, near Lake Maggiore. Between discussions, the Aidro staff organized a special visit at the company’s facilities. Divided into three groups, members were able to attend an in-depth presentation on design for additive manufacturing approaches. In particular, Alberto Tacconelli, Managing Director of Aidro, showed the benefits that can be achieved with a new design approach and better performances of 3D printed components. The visit continued with a tour to the AM department where metal 3D printers were in operation. Finally, an active workshop had visitors grapple with the post-processing as people armed with hammer and chisel could test first hand the complexity of finishing and supports removal operations.
Aidro contributes to the JIPs with its technical expertise as a valves manufacturer (this was the company’s primary activity for almost 40 years) and as a user of metal additive manufacturing. The company discovered metal 3D printing a few years ago and now, led by the enthusiasm of its CEO, Valeria Tirelli, for this technology, has built a full internal department dedicated to designing and production with laser powder bed fusion 3D printers.
Leveraging extensive technical knowledge of the valves sector, manifolds and hydraulic components in general, along with experience with the new additive technology, Aidro’s contribution is considered highly strategic within the JIP. Indeed, the goal of the JIPs is to develop a guideline and accompanying economic model to print qualified, functional metal production parts, to be used in the Oil, Gas and Maritime industries. The technical experience and daily work in additive manufacturing, guaranteed by AS/EN9100 certification, allows Aidro to be taken as a model to be compared with the overall requirements of future guidelines.