The beginning of 2021 marks a turning point in offshore equipment manufacturing. The first ever pressure-containing component to be produced using WAAM was successfully ran on Total’s EIG Elgin-Franklin rig in the North Sea. The component, designed by Vallourec, is 1.2 meters high and weighs 220kg. The project came out of an open innovation collaboration with RAMLAB.
Waterbushings: essential safety components
Waterbushings are a safety-critical component used in the oil and gas drilling industry to counter hydrocarbon kicks from wells in construction. Their strength and reliability is paramount as failure can result in equipment destruction.
”This is the first time that a safety-critical component has been created using additive manufacturing in the Energy industry. It was essential for us to have the right partner and a good business case. Vallourec, as a longstanding partner, provided us with that confidence.Edwige RavryAdditive Manufacturing (3D Printing) Lead at Total Manufacturing
“Additive manufacturing has the potential to revolutionize the O&G supply chain by enabling companies like Total to order made-to-measure components as and when they are needed”, says Andrew Heddle, Drilling & Wells QA/QC Lead at Total Exploration & Production UK.
A relationship based on trust
“This project is a testament to the quality of the collaboration among everyone involved, from design through manufacturing, qualification and testing,” adds Andrew Heddle.
Vallourec worked with Total to deliver the project in just over a year using Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM), rigorously testing the product before field deployement in February. “The project came out of an open innovation collaboration with RAMLAB, a Rotterdam-based startup”, explains Bertrand Maillon, Additive Manufacturing Business Development manager at Vallourec. “The aim of this project was to go beyond Proof of Concept to successfully develop the Quality Assurance and Quality Control frame of supply for components using WAAM technology.”
The manufacturing process we developed leverages Vallourec’s decades-long expertise in welding, metallurgy and non-destructive examination together with our recognized strengths in threading, coating and pressure testing to enable manufacturing of components to customers’ exact specifications.
Benefits of additive manufacturing
Additive manufacturing presents numerous advantages in terms of supply chain agility and lead time efficiency. The method also offers freedom of shape and results in much lighter parts: the waterbushing is around half the weight of components manufactured using standard technologies.
”Additive manufacturing enables us to move one step closer to the industry goal of a digital warehouse, increasing availability of crucial parts and reducing waste.Bertrand MaillonAdditive Manufacturing Business Development manager
Reducing carbon footprint
Importantly, AM manufacturing also reduces the carbon footprint of parts produced, enabling both companies to make progress against their sustainability objectives. In this instance, the waterbushing generated 45% lower emissions than those created through the regular forged and machining process.
Total has announced its ambition to reduce by 60% or more the carbon intensity across its worldwide operations by 2050 or sooner (scope 1, 2 and 3). The company is investing in innovation of all kinds, particularly when it comes to reducing emissions and supporting the energy transition.
”Vallourec is leveraging its decades of design and welding expertise to innovate for our customers and help them reach their efficiency and sustainability objectives. This fully reflects our innovation strategy, which is to bring added value to our customers by leveraging our specific strengths.Sylvie Dubois-DecoolGroup Innovation Director