Lloyd’s Register Energy says additive manufacturing is “being held back from widespread adoption in safety critical, asset intensive industries.”
The general thrust of the London-based firm’s claim is that, as there is no standardized set of benchmarks to prove to manufacturers — and regulators — that 3D printed products are safe, an industry-wide project to understand the issues involved is critical to moving the technology forward.
So Lloyd’s recently announced the formation of a joint industry project (JIP) which invites companies around the world to confront the issues faced by manufacturers supplying the energy industry with additive manufacturing techniques and products.
“It’s testament to our drive to bring together companies who understand the benefit of working together to deliver innovative and ground breaking solutions in a step towards digital manufacturing,” says Claus Myllerup, Senior Vice President of Technology at Lloyd’s Register Energy.
In Myllerup’s view, additive manufacturing/3D printing will have a major impact in the oil and gas industry over the course of the next 5 years, and his company’s Technology Radar survey has identified other areas of interest as well.
“The issues faced by manufacturers using additive manufacturing can be overcome through collaboration and working together. Pulling together key parties from material and machine suppliers, manufacturers, end users and research organizations, we can collectively consider the risks and control measures from different perspectives ensuring that all aspects are covered,” says Claire Ruggiero, Lloyd’s Register Energy’s Vice President for Technical Inspection Services. “We are confident this JIP will begin to help shape and guide ‘best practice’ standards in additive manufacturing.”
The company recently launched a multi-million dollar investment in a joint laboratory in Singapore aimed at delivering innovative technical solutions to address the challenges faced by the energy, marine and offshore sectors.
“The best JIPs are ones in which certifier, manufacturer, designer, and operator all work together to achieve a mutual goal of developing a ‘market driven’ design, that is future proofed as far as possible,” said Myllerup.
The company’s Oil and Gas Technology Radar Study says more than 60% of executives they polled indicated additive manufacturing will be “a medium-to-high impact technology in the energy industry,” and they say AM technology has the potential to be both disruptive and deliver benefits throughout industrial supply chains.
Chris Chung, Head of Strategic Research at Lloyd’s, says this JIP model is meant to ensure that individual research and development projects “deliver practical outcomes, and can respond to what industry says it needs, when it needs it.”
According to Chung, the project will focus on studying quality control, digital data integrity, environmental hazards, and software and hardware usability issues.
Do you have any suggestions about ways industry and commercial 3D printing businesses can regulate their products and output? If you’ve ever worked in 3D printing or additive manufacturing quality control, please let us hear about your experiences in the JIP for Additive Manufacturing forum thread at 3DPB.com.