Sep 6, 2017 | By Tess

Global tech company Lloyd’s Register has announced the certification of a 3D printed titanium gateway manifold for pipelines. The part is reportedly the first additively manufactured part to be certified by the company for the oil and gas industry.

The part itself was designed by Safer Plug Company (SPC), a firm based in Surrey, England, and was produced by 3T RPD, a UK-based 3D printing company that specializes in architectural and engineering models.

Lloyd’s Register (LR) says the part was manufactured from titanium using a powder bed fusion 3D printing process, and was certified using the company’s own qualification framework after they were approached by SPC over a year ago for the project.

“In taking on this initiative, LR’s Additive Manufacturing group has truly opened a gateway to the future,” commented Ciaran Early, Technical Director at SPC. “LR’s pivotal role is to guide suppliers through the codes, standards, controls, and best practices to manufacture AM parts, in order that end users will have full confidence that an AM part meets the required level of criticality for that part.”

The 3D printed titanium manifold designed by SPC will be used in an assembly for a “suite of pipeline isolation tools,” including “the world’s smallest tool” for six-inch diameter pipework and maintenance. The part features complex internal channels and structures which would be impossible to achieve using another manufacturing process.

The 3D printed manifold part in various stages of manufacturing

Using its innovative certification framework—which was developed in partnership with The Welding Institute (TWI)—LR will purportedly work with SPC and 3T RPD to certify 10 more of the titanium manifolds, as well as collaborate with SPC to establish a “Type Approval certificate” which will enable 3T RPD to 3D print the manifolds and other pipeline tools on demand.

“From an industry and customer perspective this certification provides added confidence in parts produced by this new technology,” said Dr. Claire Ruggiero, the Director of Innovation, Technical and Quality for LR.

“This will undoubtedly accelerate the adoption of AM into the oil and gas mainstream. The work we have done with TWI and research undertaken by the LR Foundation-funded PhD students has provided the robust basis for this certification and we look forward to further building our expertise and experience together with the industry pioneers like SPC.”

SPC's assembled pipeline isolation tool which features the 3D printed part

LR, which is currently working on various 3D printing projects within a range of industries (including construction, marine, and nuclear), is hoping the landmark certification will encourage the oil and gas industry to further adopt 3D printing technologies.

“It’s crucial that new technologies are embraced by the oil and gas industry,” explained Andrew Imrie, LR Global Product Launch Manager. “LR is at the forefront of supporting these new technologies, enabling the industry to bring certified products to market with the proper assurance and confidence.”



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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