Keppel Offshore & Marine, a specialist in offshore rig design, has been granted certification by Lloyd’s Register (LR) to produce offshore-grade steel using Laser Aided Additive Manufacturing (LAAM) technology. The certification, which follows ASTM A131 requirements, will also impact Keppel O&M’s partners, the Nanyang Technological University Singapore (NTU Singapore) and the A*STAR Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech).
With the certification from Lloyd’s Register, Keppel O&M will be able to utilize LAAM technology to accelerate its offshore production. That is, LAAM creates opportunities for printing high-value components for offshore products at faster rates and at a lower cost than traditional manufacturing techniques. The process can also help Keppel O&M to reduce its manufacturing carbon footprint and overcome resource constraints.
“This certification is the first step for us to produce high-value components essential to the offshore and marine structures,” explained Aziz Merchant, Executive Director of Keppel Marine & Deepwater Technology. “Additive manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing as it is more commonly known will speed up production times which in turn can help bring projects to completion much quicker.”
Keppel O&M’s LAAM technology was developed in collaboration with NTU Singapore and SIMTech, after the three parties partnered in 2016. The technology uses a high energy laser beam to deposit metal materials with precision. The process can be used to 3D print entire parts as well as to repair existing components or modify surfaces.
Merchant added: “We are pleased to work with NTU and SIMTech since 2016 on developing AM technology, and the LR certification shows that the components we produce using this method are safe and fit for purpose – something that is paramount to our business.”
The recent certification process for LAAM technology consisted of a rigorous mechanical testing phase and an audit. In the former, NTU researchers conducted tests on over 50 sample parts 3D printed from offshore-grade steel. These parts were evaluated based on their material yield, tensile, elongation, fatigue and toughness properties. In the end, the steel 3D printed parts were found to exceed ASTM standards.
Hussain Quraishi, Senior Consultant in LR’s Singapore Advisory Centre, said: “It’s great to see how AM can bring such positive benefits, not only to the businesses we’re working with, but to their customers too. AM is a highly innovative technique that more and more companies are turning to in their drive to offer high-quality components for use in projects across a wide range of industries.”