Jan 8, 2016 | By Benedict

London, U.K. based research and technology organization Lloyd’s Register has launched a set of goal-based additive manufacturing guidance notes to industry. The certification framework aims to give operators and manufacturers in the energy and marine industries confidence in 3D printed metal components.

Most manufacturers will be at least vaguely familiar with 3D printing and its associated products, but many remain skeptical about the overall reliability of 3D printed components, because of the relative newness of the technology and the wide gulf in quality seen in 3D printed products on the market. This doubt prevents some manufacturers from choosing additive manufacturing as a legitimate business solution, even when it could provide significant advantages.

To give confidence to operators and manufacturers in the energy and marine industries, Lloyd’s Register, together with engineering research and technology firm TWI, devised a set of guidelines to help businesses harness the power of 3D printing technology.

“AM will have a major impact in the oil and gas industry in the next five years,” said Chris Chung, Head of Strategic Research at Lloyd’s Register Energy. “That is why last year, together with TWI and a number of industry partners, we brought together research and development efforts with real-world AM practices. Our new certification guidelines, launched [January 7, 2016] to industry, are already being used by companies in this joint industry project to gain early certification of AM components.”

The Lloyd’s Register certification framework for additive manufacturing has been designed to mitigate industry skepticism, and acts as a stabilizing force for quality and safety. It is hoped that the guidelines will support the long-term sustainability of the energy and marine industries.

For example, Lloyd's Register's certification framework for AM metallic components provides a step-by-step approach to provide the necessary level of confidence and acts as a stabilising force for quality and safety. Roger Fairclough, Principal Project Leader at TWI says: "TWI has been involved in the research and development of additive manufacturing for over 15 years. It is increasingly obvious that the technology is now at a stage where its adoption in general engineering is technically possible and commercially viable."

“To enable full industrial take-up of the technology, it is essential that the certification and validation procedures used for conventional manufacturing processes are extended and, if necessary, modified to suit additive manufacturing,” said Fairclough. “This joint industry project between Lloyd’s Register and TWI will bridge this gap for the project participants and enable them to bring AM parts quickly and safely into the industrial marketplace.”

Lloyd’s Register and TWI both see additive manufacturing as an invaluable tool for businesses in the energy and marine industries. "In the oil and gas sector, cost savings and efficiency gains are crucial to restore competitiveness and increase investor confidence. The use of AM components would expedite this, and the introduction of AM certification will qualify competency and improve the safety of components and equipment used to replace worn or decommissioned parts." writes the company.

In the marine industry too there is a move to assess this new technology. Commenting on the implications of AM, Luis Benito, Marketing Director, Lloyd's Register Marine: "AM will have implications for global industry, trade and shipping as well as ship operations. It is important that we can help drive best practice as AM is adopted around the world.

The new additive manufacturing certification framework has been supported by high-profile names such as Rolls-Royce. “The consistent approach and standards for component certification provided by this project will be a significant step forward in proving to our customer the industrial viability of components made using the latest AM techniques,” said Derek Jones from the Research and Technology program within Rolls-Royce’s Nuclear business.

If the certification framework garners enough support, its implementation could boost industry confidence in 3D printing technology and 3D printed products, giving further opportunities to 3D printing companies in the energy and marine industries.



Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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