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30 January, 2017 - 12:06 By Kate Sweeney

TWI and Lloyd’s Register unite for 3D printing initiatives

Global joining technologies powerhouse TWI has united with Lloyd’s Register (LR) to launch two new projects designed to advance take-up of additive manufacturing – also referred to as 3D printing. 

The launch was held at TWI’s Cambridge HQ last week when the collaborators called for partners for the initiatives.

The new global collaborative projects focused on additive manufacturing challenges facing industry are ‘Achieving Regulatory and Code Compliance for Additive Manufacturing’ and ‘Joining of Metallic Additively Manufactured Products and Materials’.

The initiatives are expected to attract considerable interest from companies worldwide. They further explore challenges uncovered from LR and TWI’s first joint industry project, ‘Certification of Laser Powder Additive Manufactured Components for Industrial Adoption in the Energy and Offshore Sectors’.

Additive manufacturing has already been widely adopted by the aerospace and medical industries due to its ability to create complex and customised metal parts with not only a high level of precision but also with reduced weight and high material utilisation.

Even with the current market pressure in the maritime and energy industries, industry players continue to research, plan for and adopt additive manufacturing technologies for the production of metal parts – exploiting benefits such as weight reduction and the ability to print spare parts on demand.

What remains unexplored is the link between additive manufacturing and compliance with standards and regulations that are often used in safety-critical pieces of equipment, such as the American Petroleum Institute code (API), the American Society of Mechanical Engineer’s (ASME) Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, and Europe’s Pressure Equipment Directive (PED). 

Achieving Regulatory and Code Compliance for Additive Manufacturing will investigate the routes to regulatory compliance of parts selected by project sponsors, and will produce data and assessment criteria for the introduction and acceptance of parts through third-party inspection. 
This will give them a head start on their competition by receiving technical services and support covering design and manufacturing through to testing and inspection.

Joining of Metallic Additively Manufactured Products and Materials will concentrate on filling in the real-world gaps (e.g. controls, data, testing, inspection) to enable project sponsors to design, fabricate and put into service structures that are comprised of conventionally made parts welded with additively manufactured parts. 

Project sponsors will gain the confidence to put parts into service in real-world, challenging operating environments and conditions, which is a significant step forward for industries such as energy, marine and offshore.

The projects further involve LR and TWI in the growing AM industry. Both companies are members of several working groups on additive manufacturing approaches and standardisations for industrial equipment and both offer services and support to help clients move from initial concepts and research through to manufacturing and in-service implementation. 

The owner of LR, the non-profit Lloyd’s Register Foundation, is also funding research programmes to address wide-ranging safety challenges relating to additive manufacturing adoption over the coming years.

• Picture courtesy – TWI

Kiss Communications

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