Oil and pipeline industry is one of those sectors that are considered to be very hazardous in spite of this; the fact the importance of this industry cannot be avoided. Pipelines can malfunction due to various reasons like corrosions, cracks or dents. Consequently it would damage properties, cause injuries and in the worst case scenario fatalities. So in order to arrest these problems in the initial stage and to secure the safety of the people as well as the pipes it is necessary to keep a constant check on the pipes. There are many organizations that work towards achieving this goal, in this article we will discuss one such organization which has managed to smartly amalgamate the oil and pipeline industry with the 3D printing industry.
A company named Industrial Inspection Systems Limited based in Ontario Canada provides automated Non-Destructive Testing and Examination (NDT/NDE) solutions to the oil and gas industries in other words it provides testing and automation solutions to pipeline manufacturers. The company offers solutions that enable the manufacturers to automatically inspect their pipelines welds in case there is any defect. If there is some defect then the defect is marked and an alarm is triggered so that adequate action can be taken.
The company from the very beginning has been using 3DP in their work place. The director of the organization said, “Prior to 3D printing, we had to involve a machine shop to create our system prototypes out of aluminum. With each change and improvement, the costs were adding up so we looked to a less expensive solution. We found 3D printing to be instrumental to our business, giving us the power to make changes on the fly, quickly and easily.”
After the company moved from their traditional methods of proto- typing to the 3D printed proto- types , “The biggest shock factor was that we could quickly print parts that would take a very long to machine. Saving time is one of the biggest benefits of replacing external machining services with in-house 3D printing. Machine shops work on multiple projects, so we entered a queue which often took weeks to complete. With our Afinia 3D printer, we can pre-prototype many versions of any item and save that time for developing innovative solutions and focusing on our clients’ success.”
After the considerable reduction in proto- typing time the company had enough time to focus in their other projects and also take care of the customers in a better way. The company has started a new 24 hours hotline number for the consumers and has also started helping training operators, system backup and maintenance. The director says, “We also use the Afinia 3D printer to manufacture cable attachment fixtures and enclosures for electronic components. All of our inspection systems are custom-made for our clients and many times we can’t buy these items off-the-shelf.” He also said, “We are looking forward to the time when Afinia offers a unit with a larger print area. Our existing printer comes in handy for so many jobs, so it’s no surprise that IIS would be excited to see a bigger Afinia 3D printer.”
Hope this article instigates some of the other similar companies in this domain to start using 3DP in their companies so that they too can reap the benefits of 3DP like Industrial Inspection Systems Limited.