Additive manufacturing in the oil and gas industries
Keywords:Additive manufacturing, oil and gas industry, 3D printing, product design
Additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, is a process for creating prototypes and functional components achieved by consolidation of material layer upon layer. Applications of AM technologies have been witnessed in the healthcare, automotive, architecture, power generation, electronics and aviation industries. Some of the main benefits of AM include effective material utilisation, new design possibilities, improved functionality of the products and flexible production. The opportunities for the applications of additive manufacturing in the oil and gas industries are only just being explored. In this study, a review of the potential opportunities of AM technologies in oil and gas industries was reported. The adoption of the AM technologies necessitated the need for a rethink on design for manufacture and assembly of oil and gas component parts such as high-tech end burners, metal fuel nozzles, and submersible pump components amongst others. The possibility of employing AM technologies on-site for the production of spare parts for replacement of damage components in oil and gas equipment and facilities is commendable, as this brings about reduction in production downtime and replacement cost. The future of AM in the oil and gas industries is highly promising, however before AM can actualize its full-fledged potentials in these industries, further research is required in the area of new materials development and processing, improved surface finish of AM fabricated parts, enhanced fabrication speed and parametric optimisation to improve the mechanical properties of the fabricated components.
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