Can 3D Printing Really Save the Oil Industry?

The Coronavirus lock-down prompted severe breakage of global supply chains, the oil industry being one of them. From this, an over dependence on international supply chains has been realized. The oil industry is discussing a supply chain saver and it is, you guessed it, additive manufacturing.

“According to Shell additive manufacturing manager Ron van Wolferen and supply chain digitalization executive Nick van Keulen, the rapid turnaround times of additive manufacturing thanks to digital passports and digital inventory are a major point of cost reduction.”

3D printing is definitely not going to solve all aspects of the major tension rising in the oil industry, but it will sure make a lasting and beneficial impact in areas where it is greatly needed. The strong skepticism of 3D printing that exists in the oil industry will have to be overcome before any mass implementation will occur.

“‘The main barrier for the technology is the reliability of 3D printed parts,’ Lux Research’s Van Berkel told ‘The technology is not yet capable of printing parts with sufficiently predictable mechanical properties. As a result, every part needs to be tested before it is used in the field. This means the cost advantage is nullified by the cost of testing.'”

Though the criticism is valid, innovators are not letting it prevent them from pursuing the use of 3D printing technology in the oil industry.

“Despite the challenges, additive manufacturing has a bright future in oil and gas. The industry must have realized now how its over-reliance on extensive international supply chains could interfere with its normal operations, with potentially grave consequences such as production outages at fields. 3D printing could help solve this problem and many others.”

Read the full story here.

Categories: Innovation