SLM Solutions Helping to Create Guidelines for 3D Printing Spare Parts in Oil, Gas, & Maritime Industries

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Last January, 11 companies – now at a total of 16 – began working together on two aligned Joint Innovation Projects (JIPs). Their objective – collaborate in developing a guideline for 3D printing functional, qualified metal spare parts for the Oil, Gas, and Maritime industries, in addition to creating an accompanying economic model.

The 16 companies working on Joint Innovation Projects (JIPs). [Image: SLM Solutions via Facebook]

These 16 partner companies participating in the standardization project include:

In addition, SLM Solutions, a top metal 3D printing supplier headquartered in Germany with multiple offices around the world, is also working to support these two joint projects.

“Our aim is to make the SLM  technology better known in the industry and to increase its application through uniform standards,” stated Giulio Canegallo, Director of Business Development Energy for SLM Solutions, who is representing the company in the JIP.

The company offers cost-efficient, fast, and reliable Selective Laser Melting (SLM) 3D printers for part production, and works with its customers throughout the process in order to offer expertise and support. It will be supporting the JIPs by offering its technical 3D printing expertise, for SLM additive manufacturing in particular.

Using pilot parts, like this pump impeller 3D printed on the SLM 280, the guideline is tested for practical application.

Together with the other 15 JIP partner companies, SLM Solutions is working to create two separate but aligned, coherent programs: a toolbox that will enable economic viability, selection, and supply chain setup, to be be managed by Berenschot, and a guideline towards certified parts, which will be manged by DNV-GL.

Because these two programs will be aligned in their setup, the companies can ensure, as SLM Solutions put it, “maximum cross fertilization.” In order to make sure that all the steps are there to achieve high quality, repeatable production, up to five pilot parts will be produced for the JIPs. One of these pilot parts is a pump impeller, which SLM Solutions already fabricates on its SLM 280 3D printer for oil and gas company Equinor.

During production of the selected pilot parts, the partner companies will complete a final applicability test of this guideline, focusing specifically on its practical use in successfully producing the parts, and their overall quality. The information that’s learned in these case studies will be added to the guideline’s final version so that others can benefit.

The practical guideline will be available to use by this coming June, and will offer a framework so users can make sure that their 3D printed metal spare parts, fabricated through either SLM or Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) technology, will conform to the exacting specifications of the Oil, Gas, and Maritime industries.

A functional, comprehensive business tool will also be released in June, to help figure the bottom-line impact that will result from using 3D printing to fabricate spare parts, as opposed to more conventional methods of manufacturing. A database of parts will also be put together in cooperation with the business ROI-model, in order to show just how applicable 3D printing is for manufacturing spare parts for these three industries. The model will be officially tested during the Q2 parts production process.

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