Last month, Gramazio Kohler Research, a Zurich-based research institute, received the Swiss Technology Award 2016 for its Mesh Mould project, which enables building load-bearing concrete components in any shape without standard formwork. Specifically, the researchers made a scaffold with a customized shape according to computer-aided design (CAD) by using a 3D printer to extrude unspecified polymer, and then the team poured concrete into the scaffold. The mesh-in-scaffold prevented concrete from running out laterally, so that the scaffold filled with concrete finally became the load-bearing concrete component the team designed. Continue reading
The month of October turned out to be a turbulent one for GE Aviation. After announcing a $1.4 billion acquisition of both Arcam and SLM Solutions (client registration required), it emerged that activist investor Elliot Advisors (which owns stakes in both companies) was challenging the terms of the deals. Elliot Advisors claimed that the acquisition bid for SLM Solutions undervalued the company, despite being at a 37% premium over SLM’s stock price at the time. GE Aviation eventually dropped its bid for SLM Solutions, and was forced to both raise the price of the Arcam deal and reduce the acceptance threshold. GE then announced that it was acquiring Concept Laser, a German manufacturer of selective laser sintering (SLS) 3D printers. Continue reading
What They Said
NVBOTS (client registration required) and Cincinnati Incorporated recently announced the Small Area Additive Manufacturing (SAAM) industrial 3D printer as a complement to Cincinnati Incorporated’s Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) system (client registration required). Cincinnati Incorporated will handle sales distribution, and support for the SAAM, while NVBOTS provides the printer and associated NVCloud software. The SAAM is a small build volume fused filament fabrication (FFF) 3D printer that is positioned as an automated prototyping tool for designers and engineers looking to print designs using BAAM amongst other manufacturing tools.
Oil and gas companies are beginning to explore the application of additive manufacturing to become more efficient in the current low oil price era. Several speculative use cases exist across the upstream/downstream sectors and offshore/conventional wells.
Lux Research developed a methodology to score 12 use cases based on the value generated by printing them and their suitability for being printed. Our analysis identified use cases such as pipeline pigs and sand control screens as forthcoming and liner hanger spikes and drill bits as high-potential applications. Among our findings:
- Some use cases are lucrative. Profitable use cases include 3D printing chemical injection stick tools and nozzles for downhole cleanout tools. Two speculative use cases that also sit in the “forthcoming” quadrant are sand control screens and pipeline pigs.
- Collaboration is key to technology hurdles. Partnerships are key to overcoming technological barriers in the short term. Oil and gas companies should engage with metal printing companies such as EnergyX and Arevo for developing new printing techniques for use cases like liner hanger spikes. For drill bits, candidate partners include Nanosteel and QuesTek Innovations.
- Culture, conservatism are barriers. Oil and gas executives cite industry size and structure, risk aversion, and lack of infrastructure as key reasons for slow adoption of 3D printing. However, the success of 3D printing in the automotive and aerospace industries shows these factors are not insurmountable barriers, and the oil and gas industry’s growing focus on operational efficiency is driving change.
The oil and gas industry must implement a three-pronged approach – internal conceptualization, partnerships, and infrastructure – to successfully adopt additive manufacturing.
By: Harshit Sharma
GE and Local Motors recently announced the launch of a crowdsourced innovation platform, “Fuse.” The Fuse model is to publicly post problems as a challenge, potentially with a cash prize to solicit submissions, and then evaluate the results. It is part of Local Motors’ new Forth division, and may be joined by similar initiatives with other partners besides GE. As of this publication, Fuse already has four posted active projects related to GE’s innovation needs in non-destructive testing. Fuse will also have 3D printing resources to produce prototypes or for small-batch manufacturing. One GE official claimed that the Fuse model can reduce product development time by 50%, but at this point it is unclear whether that degree of improvement can generalize beyond a few chosen use cases. Continue reading
In May 2016, researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) reported that they had 3D printed a set of autoclave-capable carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) molds. The group used high performance thermoplastics (HPTPs) loaded with chopped carbon fiber: one mold used polyhenylene sulfide (PPS) from TechmerES, and the other used polyphenylsulfone (PPSU) from BASF. They printed the molds using a Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) 3D printer from Cincinnati Incorporated (client registration required), which can print parts up to 20 ft x 8 ft x 6 ft (6.1 m x 2.4 m x 1.8 m) in size with a 50 kg/hr material deposition rate. The researchers have stated that they expect the autoclave-capable materials they used to be commercially available for 3D printing by the end of 2016. Continue reading
Schneider Electric and Stratasys recently announced a partnership aimed at expanding Schneider’s use of 3D printing to include injection molds for electronic components and tooling for assembly. The components are printed using Stratasys’ fused deposition modeling (FDM) technology. By switching from milled aluminum to printed polymer, Schneider is able to cut production costs for a mold from €1,000 ($1,120) to €100 ($112), and the lead time from a month to a week. Continue reading
Senseye (client registration required) deployed its equipment prognostics and maintenance management software platform at a major auto manufacturing plant in the U.K. in January 2016. After completing a pilot period, the customer has moved into a first paid commercial phase. Senseye is ramping up to analyze machine health for 12,000 machines across three production lines, including over a thousand robots. The customer contracted major industrial suppliers to instrument machines with sensors and to pull the data into an industrial cloud. Senseye then handles the analytics portion using its IoT-based solution. Senseye claims that the customer previously reviewed analytics offerings from major analytics players, including Microsoft and SAP, but that none offered the level of automation, return-on-investment (ROI), or prognostics that it required. Continue reading
During the first half of 2016, an Arts & Design program took place in the Netherlands with the title “Europe by People, the Future of Everyday Living.” Within this program, a temporary campus called FabCity was built at Amsterdam’s Java Island. This campus included approximately 50 pavilions, installations, and prototypes around various themes relating to future circular cities. These projects have set examples of off-grid housing, prefabricated homes, and the use of sustainable building materials as well as advanced construction technologies. Some of these projects also showed that business growth is possible through collaborative innovation. Continue reading
What You Need To Know About This Company
- Seriforge is developing an automatic layup process for producing carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) net shape parts
- The automated system stacks and orients carbon fiber sheets while binding each layer together with carbon fiber yarn to create a 3D preform
- Weaving layers together improves interlaminar shear properties, damage tolerance, and impact resistance, and reduces resin infusion time
- Seriforge targets the automotive markets, and is also exploring other markets
- Seriforge plans to offer preform design and production as a service, selling CFRP preforms to customers
- Those involved in CFRP manufacturing should discuss current capabilities with this startup as it is still in stealth mode.