Renishaw, Wotton-Under-Edge, Gloucestershire, UK, has announced that it recently installed a RenAM 500Q Flex metal Additive Manufacturing machine at industrial valve supplier KOSO Kent Introl, headquartered in Brighouse, West Yorkshire, UK. Renishaw has reported that Kent Introl is the first UK-based valve part manufacturer in the oil and gas industry to introduce the technology, and that it looks to utilise AM to rapidly develop and produce components for its customers in a more efficient and cost-effective way.
Kent Introl engineers and supplies valves that perform in severe conditions within oil and gas applications. To meet growing industry demand to adopt innovative technologies, increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions, the company will explore how AM can help optimise part design, provide on-demand services and improve productivity. The company intends to initially use the RenAM 500Q Flex as part of its research and development of new parts. To meet the changing needs of customers the team also looks to experiment with AM to understand how to diversify production to deliver rapid part development.
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“Current material and quality standards set by the oil and gas industry, for example by the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE), means that very few manufacturers use AM in this sector,” explained Matthew Charlton, Technical Director at Kent Introl. “However, when some of our larger customers in the industry began requiring additive capabilities, we developed a strategy to invest in AM technology. Renishaw’s system provided the technical capabilities and support we need — we were also happy to invest in a UK manufacturer.”
The RenAM 500Q Flex system uses Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB) to produce components with intricate geometries that are difficult to achieve using traditional manufacturing techniques. It features four 500 W lasers and automated powder handling capabilities to help engineers reduce build time and increase productivity. The system also has additional flexibility that enables users to quickly change metal powders, which can be beneficial in research and development applications where different parts are tested.
“Kent Introl’s investment in the RenAM 500Q Flex system is a significant step forward in the adoption of AM technology in the oil and gas industry,” explained Stephen Crownshaw, AM Business Manager at Renishaw. “While Additive Manufacturing bureaus could produce parts for any industry, they may not have the industry knowledge to effectively advise oil and gas suppliers. So, by installing the equipment themselves, Kent Introl can use its industry understanding and growing AM knowledge to develop parts and processes that benefit its customers. The team’s knowledge has increased significantly even from acquisition to installation of the machine, so we’re also looking forward to seeing what we can gain from their knowledge of AM in oil and gas”.
“As we use the RenAM 500Q Flex and understand the benefits of AM, we want to explore how it will enable us, and other manufacturers in oil and gas, to shift towards more sustainable and efficient manufacturing processes that meet the demand of a rapidly changing market,” concluded Charlton.