3D Printing as a Sea Change Technology: A Conversation with DNV GL
DNV GL is working to entrench the technologies of Industry 4.0 in the maritime and oil & gas sectors.
Dr. Ing. Sastry Yagnanna Kandukuri, Global Additive Manufacturing Lead and Principal Subject Matter Expert at DNV GL, provides an interesting perspective on the use of additive manufacturing as an industrial technology.
We have been seeing headway made in these sectors such as through the use of 3D printing for spare parts production and fabricating large-scale parts -- areas where DNV GL is increasingly placing focus through collaborative efforts. The company views 3D printing as a “game changer” as the technology indeed can enable a sea change in the way business is approached.
I appreciated the opportunity recently to discuss DNV GL’s history and future, as well as concerns of adoption and qualification, as 3D printing comes more into use.
How long has DNV GL been investigating the use of additive manufacturing?
“DNV GL has been investigating the potential of 3D printing / additive manufacturing (AM) for the maritime and oil & gas sectors for a bit less than a decade. In November, last year, DNV GL published the first guideline for the use of AM in the maritime and oil & gas industries, creating a clear pathway and systematic processes to assess every parameter that will impact upon the final products – from the raw material used, technology maturity, manufacturing procedure, data transfer, to the actual printing and post processing.”
What led to the decision earlier this year to open the new Global Additive Manufacturing Centre of Excellence in Singapore?
“DNV GL chose to set-up our Global Additive Manufacturing (AM) Technology Centre of Excellence in Singapore because Singapore has everything any world-class innovation ecosystem such as AM needs in one place where innovation, technology, integration and infrastructure mutually enforces each other and backed by supportive government, plenty of investment capital, strong corporates, local and international talent, and well-funded scientific research. Together with our long track record in R&D, and our strong position in developing industry technical standards and long history in Singapore, having the centre in Singapore will help us to play a catalytic role in promoting the application of additive manufacturing to enhance the manufacturing competitiveness of global marine and offshore engineering industries.”
What is especially appealing about Singapore's offshore and marine sector that makes it a good fit for additive manufacturing?
“Singapore has always been supportive in embracing new technologies and additive manufacturing has been identified as a transformative technology that will help enhance the manufacturing competitiveness of the country’s offshore and marine industry. As a vibrant ecosystem consisting of the port, shipping, maritime services and offshore and marine engineering cluster, Singapore is also well placed to serve as a test-bed for 3D printing technology for application in the offshore and marine sector.”
Since the centre's opening, how has market reception been? What is next for the facility?
“With the strong and maturing AM ecosystem already in place and with the vision of Singapore's offshore and marine sectors means a lot of focus and support to make progress – and DNV GL, as a global quality assurance and risk management company is very well placed to spearhead this vision through our global AM Technology Centre of Excellence (CoE) together with our state-of-the-art materials and structural testing laboratory.
Being strong supporters of an organic step-by-step developmental process, our initial focus with our AM CoE was getting the team up and running and the smooth operation of the joint development projects we have kicked-off with our key partners. Since the centre's opening we have experienced a strong interest in our services by Singapore’s growing AM ecosystem and also using our global network reaching out to key AM industry players and competence units outside Singapore.
Naturally, we first began by taking on smaller joint development projects and [we are steadily scaling up our projects scope and service portfolio to initiate large scale joint industry projects in which we will deliver end-to-end consulting, advisory, qualification and certification services for total AM Value chain.”
Where do you see additional opportunities for large-scale additive manufacturing?
“While the results from pilot projects have shown that there is potential to fabricate additive manufactured structural parts that have comparable properties to those made by conventional methods, adoption of AM in maritime and oil & gas sectors is rather slow on a wide-scale basis. This is due to the extremely low deposition rate of the powder-feed/-bed technologies, which limits its application in fabricating median to large-sized components. Further, a general lack of knowledge and trust in the technology and also the need to develop an AM ecosystem with new players and potential new business models, have also been limiting factors.
As the AM technology advances, we now see several opportunities for exploring large-scale additive manufacturing techniques to produce both volume and large structural components in order to meet the demands from the ship, offshore and oil & gas industries and also to fabricate complex-shaped metal components that cannot be economically produced using conventional methods with shorter lead times near the fabrication sites.”
How are new digital business models impacting traditional industries like O&M, O&G, and more?
“DNV GL view additive manufacturing together with digitalization as another potential game changer in the maritime, offshore, oil & gas industries. Not only could AM result in new designs for more efficient components, it could also allow spare parts to be produced locally around the world. This would equate to less lead time, less cost, less logistics, and less need to keep stocks of spare parts This would shorten the time required for repairs and contribute to more efficient ship operations. AM could also be used for maintenance and repair, simply adding layers of material to worn components, thus negating the need to replace them.”
Where does additive manufacturing fit into DNV GL's broader global strategies? Can we expect to see more facilities, more applications?
“DNV GL's additive manufacturing qualification and certification methodology benefit suppliers who want market access; and operators, contractors and others interested in performance gains and cost savings by implementing this novel technology.
The implementation of 3D printing in industries such as Maritime, Oil & Gas sectors may not necessarily be as simple as it sounds, covering both safety critical and less critical components. If you do it wrong, it may represent a safety risk. If you do it right and you follow the right process, it will help, and it will change readiness and improve the timeline to solve industry’s problems by orders of magnitude.
With its novel digital centric-certification methodology DNV GL can build trust and confidence by providing a systematic risk-based assessment that documents performance and safety of additively manufactured materials, products and components. The center in Singapore is part of a global network in DNV GL that has AM competence, particularly in Norway, Germany, UK and USA. These offices then branch out to the regional networks of industry players, universities, research facilities and start up communities. This allows DNV GL to be a hub for knowledge sharing and best practices on AM worldwide.
Our ability to offer the highest levels of quality, flexibility and capacity to seamlessly adjust ourselves to the requirements of both the market and the clients are the key differentiators for DNV GL.”
What additive manufacturing technologies does DNV GL work with?
“Since no single AM technology that is developed until now has the potential to cater all the required needs of heavy industries such as maritime, oil & gas, at DNV GL we kept ourselves open to developments in industrial-scale 3D printing technologies that are slowly emerging from the shadows of university laboratories and beginning to demonstrate noticeable capability.
DNV GL is working with all major AM technologies such as powder bed and directed energy deposition (DED) processes. We are running projects in multiple technologies such as direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), laser aided additive manufacturing (LAAM) and wire arc additive manufacturing (WAAM), etc.
It is only a matter of time before the M&O industry can benefit from the emerging advanced AM manufacturing technologies that could revolutionize the design experience and challenges the status quo in these industries.”
How does the company approach issues of certification, standardization, etc.?
“DNV GL is taking initiatives in this new area by bringing together results from research and development alongside real-world additive manufacturing practices to create new industry product certification guidelines – paving the way for more widespread adoption of the additive manufacturing technology. We provide technical standards, guidelines and services for qualifying and certifying AM equipment, processes, products, materials and personnel. DNV GL Global AM Technology Centre of Excellence in Singapore supports our customers throughout the certification journey, from early road-mapping and feasibility studies to full certification.”
How do you see the place of industrial additive manufacturing growing over the next year? The next five years?
“DNV GL is optimistic with the robust growth and widespread adoption of AM in M&O industries. In general, we expect a range of spare /replacement parts and a lot of other structurally sensitive and geometrically complex parts will be considered and piloted in the near future to be produced through AM route, starting with non-critical applications and then adding other applications as the industry gain confidence. However, it will probably still take a period of 3 to 5 years before deploying 3D printed parts for safety-critical applications on full scale because this process often requires development of optimized processes, recognized technical standards and dedicated facilities which are very capital intensive.”
Via DNV GL