A pair of two-year-long Joint Innovation Projects (JIPs) aimed at the qualification of additive manufacturing in the Oil & Gas and Maritime industries, have come to a close. The projects, which brought on 20 partners from across the industries, concluded with a celebration in Norway organized by DNV GL and Berenschot.
The goals of the aligned JIPs was to develop guidelines for the qualification of parts produced using laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) and wire arc additive manufacturing (WAAM) as well as to establish an economic model for the oil & gas and maritime sectors. To achieve these goals, partners from across the value chain were brought on, including operators, contractors and fabricators.
In the former category, the JIPs included bp, Equinor, Shell and Total. While SLM Solutions, Siemens, TechnipFMC, IMI Critical Engineering and Kongsberg were the contractors. In the fabricators category, the JIPs saw support from Ivaldi, Aidro Hydraulics, voestalpine, Additive Industries, Sandvik, Immensa Technology Labs, Quintus Technologies, Vallourec, HIPtec, Arcelor Mittal and the University of Strathclyde Glasgow.
By working together and pooling their respective areas expertise, the JIP participants made significant progress in the development of qualification guidelines and an economic model. At the closing ceremony, these advances were recognized and a new path was laid out: DNV GL launched two new JIPs to continue the investigation and to develop a digital warehouse program.
A certification guideline
The goal of the first JIP was to put together a guideline for certifying 3D printed parts for the oil & gas and maritime industries. The final guideline, to be managed by DNV GL, offers a framework through which manufacturers can ensure 3D printed metal products and spare parts meet specifications.
A series of test cases were carried out to establish the guideline, including the production of a crank disk using LPBF for Kongsberg. Italian company Aidro was the production partner for the case study and demonstrated the ability to produce the component in less than one week using AM (compared to 8-10 weeks using traditional manufacturing). The part was 3D printed from Inconel 718 using an EOS M290 system.
Other case studies in the LPBF category included Equinor impellers made of Inconel 625 (printed by SLM Solutions) and from Ti-6Al-4V (printed by Additive Industries) and a Kongsberg propeller printed from titanium by SLM Solutions. WAAM case studies included a Vallourec circulating head 3D printed from X90 low-alloy construction steel, a BP cross-over in Inconel wire, a Kongsberg crank pin made from S700 low-alloyed wire and a Technip FMC/Total-designed crossover made from F22 alloy steel.
These test cases enabled the partners to assess the variations between conventional manufacturing and additive manufacturing from early in the value chain to the end. From these case studies, the partners came up with a guideline consisting of three categories depending on the consequence of failure:
- AM Class 1 (AMC 1) for non-critical components
- AM Class 2 (AMC 2) for less critical components
- AM Class 3 (AMC 3) for critical components
Depending on the class and the AM process, different assurance steps are required for various steps of the manufacturing process, including build process qualification testing, production testing and part qualification testing.
According to the guideline, all classes of parts must be manufactured using a build process that has been qualified through a defined Build Process Qualification Testing (BPQT) process. This qualification ensures that when using a type of machine with a specific set of parameters, a certain level of quality is achieved.
Production testing, for its part, targets repeatability. This qualification ensures that a given process and set of parameters will result in a qualified build process consistently, not just on the first build. Finally, part qualification testing is employed when the criticality of the printed component requires it. The methodology of part qualification testing methods vary depending on the AM Class and the AM technology used.
A business model
The various case studies conducted by the JIP partners also enabled them to develop an understanding for the business impact model of AM qualification. Through the linked JIPs, the partners came up a toolbox for part selection, supply chain set-up and economic viability. This tool box is managed by Dutch consultancy firm Berenschot,
Overall, the two-year-long JIPs made significant progress towards qualifying AM practices for the demanding oil & gas and maritime sectors. Aidro, one of the partners, said of the projects: “The closely aligned set-up of the two JIPs secured maximum knowledge exchange and learning between members, research institutes, designers, manufacturers, certifying bodies and end-users.”
The finished JIPs (and future JIPs) will prove to be an essential part of the adoption of AM in oil & gas and the maritime industry. The sectors, which have been relatively slow to adopt the technology, are taking the necessary steps to accelerating its adoption and reaping the benefits of AM.