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How 3D Printing Will Reshape The Oil And Gas Industry

With multiple new technologies being introduced to the suffering oil and gas industry in 2020, 3D printing is the latest fad to gain traction in the space. Additive manufacturing has been extremely useful during the Covid-19 pandemic, delivering vital PPE to frontline workers across the globe. But now, the ever-evolving technology is also being used in innovative ways across the energy sector.

Earlier this year, we saw several companies relying on 3D printing to supply hard-to-get parts because of global pandemic restrictions and delays in delivery. This takes the reliance away from third-party companies as well as the need to ship parts from other countries. Further, the more parts that can be made in-house, the better the inventory processes of the company. 

To effectively manufacture additives, companies must create a digital inventory. The idea is to make a database of all the parts needed, their design, and how they can be made with a 3D printer. This helps companies prepare for any spare part they might suddenly need. 

While 3D printing continues to be a costly process, particularly when used for basic parts such as pipes, nuts, and bolts, it’s fantastic for when you’re in a bind and parts are impossible to get your hands on.  

By 2025, 3D Printing in the oil and gas sector is expected to be worth $32 billion according to recent reports. Although 3D printing only accounts for 0.1 percent of the global manufacturing market at present, increased adoption of the technology suggests that it could be worth as much as $60 billion by 2030. 

3D printing has already been adopted by the automotive and aerospace industries. Now, the energy sector is looking to 3D printers for manufacturing processes, to supply vital components at the drop of a hat. 

One company that’s taking 3D printing seriously is Baker Hughes. In November, Baker Hughes joined with Würth Industry North America (WINA) to offer design, digital inventory, and customized 3D printing services to expand into different industrial sectors. The idea is to supply additives to the oil and gas, renewables, power generation, maritime, automotive, and aerospace industrial sectors.

Baker Hughes brings its digital inventory services to the table, while WINA offers its additive manufacturing services and a global portfolio of 80,000 clients. The manufactured parts will be stored in hubs near oil and gas manufacturing sites, making them easy to obtain as needed. 

Scott Parent, chief technology officer for digital solutions at Baker Hughes explained, “Now more than ever, industrial companies are looking for innovative manufacturing solutions to reduce lead times and eliminate physical inventories, while reducing the carbon footprint of operations, and we believe additive manufacturing plays an important role,”. 

Shell was also an early adopter of 3D printing for the manufacturing of parts. Shell started using the technology to make unique parts in all areas of its…

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2020-12-01 17:00:00

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