First-ever 3D-printed Part in Energy Industry Could Be Game Changer for Oil & Gas Sector

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Vallourec is a large manufacturer of tubular solutions used in some of the most extreme environments, from oil and gas wells to next-generation power plants. Earlier this year, Vallourec did something that has never been done before. The company’s team of engineers created the first 3D-printed water bushing using wire arc additive manufacturing (WAAM) technology. Water bushings are a critical component in oil and gas. The part counters hydrocarbon kicks from wells during construction, and part failure likely means equipment destruction. Vallourec’s 3D-printed water bushing was installed on a Total oil rig in the North Sea. Total is an energy company that produces and sells fuel, natural gas, electricity and renewables. The part weighs more than 485 pounds, stands nearly 4 feet tall and is the first pressure-containing component produced using WAAM technology. Though the bushing is heavy, it came in at about half the weight of standard parts, a testament to additive manufacturing’s ability to create new, previously unmanufacturable geometries.

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