Metal 3D Printing Applications in the Oil & Gas Industry

Burns, Madison (Baker Hughes, a GE Company) | Wangenheim, Christoph (Baker Hughes, a GE Company)



Additive Manufacturing (AM) is a set of technologies that has historically found fertile applications in the aerospace and healthcare industries, while adoption in the oil and gas (O&G) sector has progressed slowly. Nonetheless, AM is reaching maturity in this industry as well, allowing for significant innovation. This paper describes how AM has been integrated within the value chain of a major oilfield supplier, highlighting specific peculiarities for each of its business segments. "Fullstream" activities of the oilfield supplier cover the entire O&G value chain, from the exploration of reservoirs and production (upstream) to the transportation and storage of hydrocarbons (midstream), as well as refining and industrial power processing (downstream). AM technologies in this company were originally deployed for rapid prototyping, but they have matured as strategic manufacturing pillars to address the maintenance of equipment of all industry segments within the company. Several manufacturing methods within the AM landscape can be deployed, depending on the technical requirements of the components and the environment in which they operate. O&G equipment end users face several challenges when dealing with spare parts management, such as performance, total cost of ownership, procurement time, inventory levels and obsolescence. From an OEM standpoint, serving a wide fleet with a variety of products and their different versions (with an unpredictable and unstable demand) is challenging. AM is the tool that enables a new way to serve such an installed fleet. The company has already experimented with several applications regarding obsolete spare parts re-introduction through AM, gaining strong benefits (50% +) in terms of cost and procurement time reduction. Consequently, it is important to continue adopting AM to deliver faster outcomes for the customer at first. This, in turn, fosters the development of sound knowledge and references that can then be used to develop further solutions and value propositions for the customers.