Additive manufacturing technology company AML3D (ASX: AL3) has made its foray into the subsea oil and gas sector by 3D printing the world’s largest high-pressure piping component and having it approved by marine verification authority Lloyd’s Register.
The 940 kilogram monocoque “piping spool” demonstrator component was printed using AML3D’s proprietary wire additive manufacturing (WAM) technology to meet new global standards for additively manufactured metallic components released by the American Petroleum Institute.
WAM enabled the component to be printed as one piece and eliminated the need for three separate components using traditional fabrication and welding methods.
The process also introduced improved material properties using a higher strength wire feedstock and optimised parameters, while reducing the manufacturing time from months to just days.
The component was made as part of AML3D’s internal development program and showcases its capabilities in the subsea oil and gas sector.
Testing was conducted by specialist South Australian firm Trushape Engineering, where the component was pressurised to 34,790 kilopascals and held for an extended period with no loss of structural integrity.
The process was independently witnessed and verified by Lloyd’s Register.
Paving the way
AML3D managing director Andrew Sales hoped the project would pave the way for further work in the sector.
“The ability to demonstrate to this sector the capabilities and outstanding test results of our patented WAM process opens the door for far greater applications,” he said.
“We already have a high level of interest already from oil and gas players and are in discussions on several [new] opportunities.”
Wire additive manufacturing can be used to print metal parts in an open free-form fabrication environment using localised inert gas.
The process eliminates the need for an enclosed chamber of any kind and means the build size of each component is virtually unlimited.
WAM is considered to be highly innovative, reducing fabrication costs and removing the traditional size restrictions of 3D printing while minimising production times when compared to conventional casting, forging and machining.