Key stakeholder to work together to define requirements and standards for 3D Metal Printing
The Northern Italy-based Aidro Hydraulics & 3D Printing welcomed a 2-days meeting of the Joint Innovation Programs (JIPs) focused on Additive Manufacturing of functional production parts for the Oil, Gas & Maritime industries. Participating companies in the project include key stakeholders such as Equinor, BP, Total, Rolls Royce Marine, TechnipFMC, Vallourec and other companies specialized in additive manufacturing such as Aidro, SLM Solutions, Additive Industries, Voestalpine, OCAS, Ivaldi Group, Quintus, HIPtec, University of Strathclyde and Siemens. In fact, also in Oil & Gas it is recognized that the adoption of additive manufacturing can generate advantages in various areas such as just-in-time delivery of spare parts and reduction of stock, fast prototyping, accelerating R&D and innovative solutions.
The partners of the program aim to define clear requirements for parts manufactured by additive manufacturing thanks to the sharing of information and knowledge among the group. The work tools are two JIPs: one focused on defining the guidelines managed by the DNV GL and the other JIP, managed by Berenschot, aimed at identifying key pieces or case studies and following the production process through the additive manufacturing, identifying the necessary tests and making the analysis on printed parts.
The Programs were launched early 2018 and by this year the group has grown to 17 companies, with the latest entry of Shell. Partners have periodical discussions and the preliminary results of guideline have been presented during the meeting held on March 4th and 5th at Aidro offices, near the beautiful landscape of Lake Maggiore. Between a discussion and the other, the Aidro staff organized a special visit for the partners within the company. Divided into three groups, the members were able to attend an in-depth presentation on the design for additive manufacturing. In particular Alberto Tacconelli, Managing Director of Aidro, showed the benefits that can be achieved with a new design approach and the better performances of 3D printed components. The visit continued with a tour to the AM department where metal 3D printers were at work. Finally, an active workshop has seen the visitors grapple with the post-processing and some people armed with hammer and chisel have been able to test with their own hands the complexity of the operations of finishing and supports removal.
Aidro contributes to the JIPs with its technical expertises as a valves manufacturer in conventional way (this was the main activity for almost 40 years) and as user of metal additive manufacturing. Aidro has discovered 3D metal printing a few years ago and now, thanks to the enthusiasm of its CEO, Valeria Tirelli, the company has an internal department dedicated to the design and production with laser powder bed fusion 3D printers. Thanks to the technical knowledge of the valves sector, manifolds and hydraulic components in general, and to the experience with the new additive technology, Aidro's contribution is considered very important within the JIP. Indeed, the goal of the JIPs they collaborate in, is to develop a guideline and accompanying economic model to print qualified, functional metal production parts, to be used in the Oil, Gas and Maritime industries. So the experience in the field and in the daily work with additive technology, allows Aidro to be taken as a model to be compared with the requirements of the guidelines.