Can Additive Manufacturing Breathe New Life Into Aging Assets?

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Additive layer manufacturing technology has gained prominence in the aerospace sector and is being used for the rapid production of prototype parts. Its credibility has quite literally “taken off” and is now used to build in-flight production components for aircraft. Its applications are being adopted in other sectors such as medical and automotive as a potentially faster and more economical alternative to traditional manufacturing methods for certain applications. Though it offers huge potential to the oil and gas arena, its uptake so far has been limited. The industry’s risk-averse culture, lack of infrastructure, and stringent standards have been cited by leaders as barriers to adoption.

Yet, as experienced in other industries, the technical and economic benefits far outweigh the obstacles. The oil and gas industry’s growing focus on operational efficiency in today’s low-price climate is slowly driving change and a realization that the challenges are not insurmountable.

Two main groups of technologies can be of benefit to the oil and gas industry: powder bed fusion and direct energy deposition. Both use a diverse range of metals in wire and powder form, which can be fused together using lasers, electron beams, and electric arcs.

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Can Additive Manufacturing Breathe New Life Into Aging Assets?

Stephen Fitzpatrick, Machining Team Lead, University of Strathclyde Advanced Forming Research Centre

01 January 2018

Volume: 70 | Issue: 1

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