Ensuring the safety and efficiency of 3D printing

By Brice Le Gallo and Sastry Yagnanna Kandukuri, DNV

DNVGL-SE-0568 ensures AM products, assets, and systems are safe, economic, and efficient
DNVGL-SE-0568 ensures AM products, assets, and systems are safe, economic, and efficient (photo: DNV)

Nearly three-quarters (71%) of senior oil and gas professionals have catapulted their focus on digitalisation over the past year, according to a survey by DNV.1 The pandemic has not only increased attention on how digital solutions can make organisations more adaptable and cost-efficient; it has also forced companies to discard the normal rules and become more open to change.

While data collaboration, cloud-based applications and remote survey top the investment priorities for the year ahead, a growing number of respondents (7%) see additive manufacturing (AM) – the industry equivalent of 3D printing – on their spending list.

As an emerging technology, AM uses 3D model data to fabricate parts enabling, among other benefits, significant cost and time savings in contrast to many traditional manufacturing methods, where the final parts are machined out from a pre-made form. Its purpose is to alleviate and avoid long, expensive production shutdowns and reduce supply chain carbon footprints.

Building trust in “printed” parts is key to unlocking this potential.

Rapid, reliable reproduction
The global AM market is expected to reach USD 350 billion by 2035.2 The technology also has the potential to be enhanced by, or in the other direction augment other digital solutions, given it is based on a 3D file. The pace of adoption in the oil, gas and renewables sectors is accelerating – though at a slower rate compared to the aerospace and automotive industries – with increased pressure to shorten the development cycle of components and perform rapid prototyping and testing of new, more sustainable concepts.

New business models will be developed, and a new way of thinking adopted by design engineers in order to make full utilisation of its potential of its credentials.3 To support digital transformation of the energy industry DNV, which has actively been investigating the potential of AM since 2014, has unveiled a new service specification document to ensure AM products, assets, and systems are safe, economic, and efficient.

DNVGL-SE-0568 “Qualification of additive manufacturing service providers, manufacturers and parts”, is part of a portfolio of six different AM-related standards and recommended practices. It will define the authority’s qualification scheme and provide the basis for obtaining and retaining statements and certificates for the endorsement of:

  • Facilities and digital products/services.
  • Qualification of manufacturers.
  • Build processes.
  • Parts and part families.
  • AM machine(s) and equipment.
  • AM personnel.

The document has been developed in accordance with the industry standard DNVGL-ST-B203, created for the additive manufacturing of metallic parts in the oil and gas, energy, digital and heavy industry sectors.

Building trust – layer by layer
The adoption of AM in hazardous industries such as oil and gas confronts a wide range of challenges – trust is key to overcoming these obstacles.

Without standardisation or guidelines, printed parts and components could raise the risk of unexpected or premature failures due to inherent variation of mechanical and metallurgical properties associated with the AM parts. Likewise, printed parts or components that were not properly identified and tested during the qualification and/or certification process could lead to unexpected functional performance behaviour. As such, this could increase the probability of overall material costs rising compared to the traditional manufacturing route.

To enable AM technologies’ widespread use and help it to fulfil its potential in disrupting operations and maintenance activities, there needs to be a greater level of confidence in the products produced. With years of experience qualifying new technologies, DNV understands how real value can be unlocked through a systematic and effective approach to risk management.

First and foremost, the AM service specification provides supply chains with assurance that the equipment for manufacturing printed parts meets high standards of quality and integrity. Furthermore, it ensures the materials used to produce AM parts are of the right quality for the supply chain. This will give greater credibility to gain the support and buy-in of end users.

In 2018, DNV opened its own dedicated Global Additive Manufacturing Technology Centre in Singapore. Supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board, it serves as an incubator and testbed focusing on assurance and advisory services for the maritime, offshore and energy industries.

DNV’s Global Additive Manufacturing Technology Centre opened in Singapore in 2018
DNV’s Global Additive Manufacturing Technology Centre opened in Singapore in 2018 (photo: DNV)

One of its objectives is to develop competence standards for qualification, certification and training in AM. The newly released service specification fulfils one of the most important commitments made for the industry when launching the centre of excellence.

Step-change technology
AM is expected to revolutionise the way products are designed, manufactured and distributed across all industries. According to the latest Wohler’s Report, the industry itself expanded by 7.5% to nearly USD12.8 billion in 2020, despite the impact of global COVID-19 restrictions. While growth was down considerably, compared to average growth of 27.4% over the previous 10 years, there was an emergence of less-established companies in the market.4

To further integrate this innovation globally, DNV has initiated several joint industry projects (JIPs) in areas such as the certification and qualification areas of AM for reconditioning old parts or creating on-demand new spare parts, and for the fabrication of large-scale structural parts. Collaborative initiatives have included Sembcorp Marine, Maritime Port Authority, Anglo-Eastern shipping, Wartsila, Baker Hughes, Carpenter, Chevron, Equinor, Shell, Total, BP, and others, to name a few.

Building trust in “printed” parts is key to unlocking the potential of additive manufacturing (photo: Shutterstock/BLACKDAY)
Building trust in “printed” parts is key to unlocking the potential of additive manufacturing (photo: Shutterstock/BLACKDAY)

In the very near future, AM technology will enable new supply chains and on-site 3D printing of spare parts, adding value in many areas of the oil, gas and renewables industries that have yet to be explored. For instance, a reduction of lead-time, weight and part count, with greater efficiency of components, reduced waste and lower emissions.

This game-changing innovation is also expected to enable novel designs with high complexity, new repair methods and the use of unconventional or novel materials to support day-to-day operations. To forge and transform the role of oil and gas in the energy transition in the coming decades, the uptake of AM and the wider benefits of digitalisation, will be crucial.

Access DNVGL-SE-0568 “Qualification of additive manufacturing service providers, manufacturers and parts” here.


  1. https://industryoutlook.dnv.com/2021
  2. https://dailyalts.com/amventures-floats-first-ever-fund-focused-on-3d-printing
  3. https://www.dnv.com/to2030/technology/new-materials-for-manufacturing-processes.html
  4. https://wohlersassociates.com/press83.html

Brice Le Gallo, DNV

Brice Le Gallo, Regional Director, Energy Systems at DNV, APAC and Director of the Global Additive Manufacturing Centre. Le Gallo has more than 18 years’ experience in the Oil & Gas and Maritime Industry in technical, R&D, business development, management and leadership positions. He joined DNV in 2013 and currently base in Singapore, with over 15 years of expertise on the Asia markets and industrial trends including energy transition and digitalisation.

Sastry Yagnanna Kandukuri - DNV

Sastry Yagnanna Kandukuri, Senior Principal Specialist – Additive Manufacturing, DNV. Dr Ing. Sastry Y Kandukuri is a passionate and experienced technology professional with more than 20 years of diverse experience in Maritime, Oil & Gas and Manufacturing sectors. He joined DNV Norway in 2007 and is currently based in Singapore. For the last 3 years, he has been leading the AM Innovation programs at the DNV Global Additive Manufacturing Technology Centre of Excellence (AM CoE) in Singapore.