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PetroChina users talk about the application and development

At present, 3D printing technology is playing a more and more important role in China's oil and gas industry. At present, some enterprises in this industry have begun to apply 3D printing technology to parts reconstruction, additive manufacturing process improvement, special product manufacturing and teaching publicity, and are expected to expand to the fields of oil and gas production, oil and gas field services and equipment manufacturing.
According to the news from PetroChina News Center, several users of PetroChina system recently shared the application of 3D printing technology in work practice, talked about the value and challenges of 3D printing technology, and looked forward to the development prospect of 3D printing technology in the oil and gas industry.
In this issue, 3D science valley will share this, so as to jointly feel the development of 3D printing technology in China's oil and gas industry with Gu you.
Efficient, flexible and more cost-effective to meet the needs of innovative R & D
"The characteristics of the oil and gas industry determine the need for 3D printing technology." Mi Shunlin, director of the women's Department of labor economy of the labor union of Changqing Oilfield, believes that first, innovative products in the oil and gas industry are generally made of steel, which are bulky and difficult to carry, and many physical objects need to be transported by cranes and trucks. Second, the oil and gas industry has a strong innovation atmosphere, and the employees' innovation ability and computer graphics ability have been generally improved, which has established a solid mass foundation for the popularization and promotion of 3D printing technology in the oil and gas industry.
Liu Li, leader of oil production team 48 of the sixth operation area of the second oil production plant of Daqing Oilfield and head of Liu Li studio, also said that in the early stage of innovation and R & D, 3D printing occupied an unshakable position with high efficiency, flexibility and low cost. Unlike the traditional processing industry, it does not need high-tech operators and a variety of processing equipment, nor does it need traditional tools, fixtures and molds. It can directly make a three-dimensional physical model through a 3D printer for innovation and R & D. As an additive manufacturing method, 3D printing can produce very complex parts that cannot be manufactured by traditional methods, which can effectively shorten the product R & D cycle. A product can be formed in a few hours through 3D printing, realizing a leap from plan to entity. When everyone's innovative thinking has not cooled down, it can be continuously modified to achieve the final innovative effect.

Employees of Liuli studio of Daqing Oilfield show the product printed with 3D technology - "energy-saving up and down adjustable packing box" model. Liu Yeshe
Meet the production requirements of small batch complex parts and improve product performance
3D printing technology shows some advantages in the field of petroleum logging. Ma Xiao, manager of CNPC logging manufacturing company, believes that compared with the material reduction manufacturing method of traditional milling equipment, the material cost of 3D printing additive manufacturing is relatively low and there is little waste. In the processing and manufacturing of logging tools with high precision, high strength and high complexity, using metal 3D printing technology, one equipment can complete multiple processes, solve the production efficiency problems of small batch and changing production frequency, and improve the product performance. Taking micro resistivity imaging plate as an example, through simulation research, the wear resistance of 3D printing products is 6% higher than that of traditional processing methods. At the same time, 3D printing technology can efficiently manufacture parts that cannot or are difficult to manufacture by traditional means, such as various valve groups and multi oil circuit modules in instrument hydraulic system.
Logging equipment case

CNPC logging staff operate metal 3D printing machines to manufacture micro scanning plates.
Photo by Hu Yanfeng
In recent years, oil and gas exploration and development efforts have been increasing, and the demand for logging tools with high temperature and high pressure resistance, high precision and small diameter has increased rapidly. However, some key components with complex structure, special materials and high integration are in short supply due to difficult processing and long cycle. The accelerated iterative research and development of logging equipment also puts forward higher requirements for the manufacturing of complex structural parts.
In 2015, CNPC logging, in close cooperation with Xi'an Jiaotong University and Northwest University of technology, started the exploration of 3D printing technology. "At the beginning, we specially designed several parts, and the molding process, structural optimization and deformation control were completed by the school." Liu Xu, head of the Intelligent Manufacturing Department of CNPC logging, said that after high temperature and high pressure test, the performance indexes of the first batch of 3D printed test products fully meet the logging requirements of downhole bad working conditions.
CNPC logging has gradually mastered the modeling technology, printing process and optimal preheating time of different material products such as metal, resin and ceramics, and successfully printed the coil framework of array induction logging tool with many types of grooves, different shapes and exquisite structure in 2019.
At the beginning of 2020, the company introduced laser selective melting (SLM) and melt deposition molding (FDM) equipment for metal and non-metal 3D printing. The first product trial produced is the electrode plate of electric imaging logging tool. "This core component is only palm size, but its structure is complex." Guo Yingcai, mechanical engineer of the Institute of logging technology, said that the electrode plate should work close to the borehole wall in a wellbore thousands of meters deep, and the processing accuracy will directly affect the success rate of logging.
Combined with the fact that the machining allowance of the polar plate is large and it is easy to crack and local deformation in the forming process, the technicians designed the 3D digital model of the product on the computer, and divided the model file into thousands of two-dimensional planes with slicing software according to the set thickness. At the same time, they strengthened the quality defect analysis, optimized the three-dimensional model, adjusted the structure at the stress concentration, and strictly controlled the clamping error of parts, Reasonably add support to provide reverse tension.
On May 14, 2020, after 16 hours of continuous printing, two electrode plates of electric imaging logging tool were formed at one time, and the quality and performance met the design requirements.
On December 13, 2021, after 26 hours, the powder bed laser molten metal 3D printing equipment in the Xi'an automation workshop of CNPC logging successfully "took the 15th batch of 30 3D printed reticular thin-walled structure shells out of the cabin". Each mesh structure piece weighing only a few hundred grams contains a variety of elements such as thread, mesh, hollowing out, Chinese characters and logo, which fully shows the manufacturing level of the company's precision parts and provides a new way for the lightweight design and processing of logging parts in the next step.
"3D printing technology is a supplement to traditional machining methods. It can realize one-time molding of products, and has immediate advantages for the manufacturing of scientific research prototype and complex samples. It can effectively shorten the R & D and manufacturing cycle of petroleum logging instruments, help the petroleum logging industry simplify the complex structure of equipment component manufacturing, avoid waiting for parts for a long time, and improve efficiency and quality It shows great potential in terms of volume and cost reduction. " Wang Xinfeng, director of Xi'an manufacturing plant of CNPC logging manufacturing company, said.

The closing coil protector designed by the new energy project Department of Changqing Oilfield with 3D printer won the silver award of the national invention exhibition. (provided by the digitization and information center of Changqing Oilfield)
Control standards to be developed
3D printing has become a manufacturing technology with great development potential because of its advantages of manufacturing principle. In order to successfully adopt 3D printing technology, oil and gas enterprises must overcome many challenges, and technical problems still exist.
Liu Li frankly said that the management systems and regulations of the oil and gas industry are cumbersome. As a new technology, 3D printing technology, its equipment and materials are not easy to be accepted in general enterprise management. Moreover, the products in the oil and gas industry are generally large in size and scale, and have high requirements on the hardness and strength of additive manufacturing - 3D printing equipment and on-site mechanical parts. At present, 3D printing technology is mainly used in new product research and development in China, and the manufacturing accuracy is not satisfactory. The efficiency of 3D printing technology in mass production needs to be improved.
Especially in the field of logging, the application of 3D printing technology for special materials still needs to be explored. For example, the cemented carbide wear-resistant coating commonly used in petroleum logging tools, how to effectively ablate the alloy material on the tool and ensure its quality level in the downhole high temperature and high pressure environment, which is also one of the challenges faced by the application of metal 3D printing technology. Meanwhile, Ma Xiao said that in terms of 3D printing technology standardization, the oil and gas industry has not formed a unified additive manufacturing quality control standard system.
Talents with additive manufacturing thinking are still insufficient
Mi Shunlin said that at present, 3D printing technology is mainly used in the start-up design stage and has unique advantages in expressing design ideas. However, the application technology needs to cultivate professional designers, Master 3D drawing, thoroughly understand the technical essentials of 3D printing and use 3D printing thinking for design. However, the oil and gas industry lacks compound talents who understand drawing and can use 3D printing equipment. In addition, the popularity of the equipment is low, mainly because the ease of use of the equipment needs to be improved. Especially for the 3D printing equipment launched by some start-ups, there is still much room for improvement in the operation convenience of the equipment and the user-friendly interactive system. The current equipment often needs to spend time adjusting parameters.
It has broad prospects to help enterprises reduce costs and improve operation efficiency
According to the latest oil and gas 3D printing - Theme Research Report, the value of 3D printing market will exceed 60 billion US dollars by 2030. 3D printing technology has become one of the key technologies to promote the development of industrial productivity.
"From the perspective of enterprise managers, they always focus on the quality, efficiency and cost of products. There is no unified opinion in the industry on how to use and develop 3D printing technology. Through the manufacturing verification of CNPC logging products in recent years, it has been proved that 3D printing technology is feasible in the oil and gas industry, and the application direction is relatively clear, which has indeed brought about significant changes in production efficiency and product quality Efficiency improvement. " Ma Xiao affirmed the value of 3D printing technology and looked forward to its future development. He believes that in the next 5 to 10 years, with the development of 3D printing technology into one of the main manufacturing technologies, combined with the wide application of 5g, a part model library cloud platform can be established to help customers carry out product customization design and real-time simulation. The rapid production and supply customized by manufacturers and the realization of zero inventory will help enterprises improve operation efficiency and have broad development space.
Mi Shunlin believes that 3D printing technology has had an impact on the design concept of oil and gas products. The traditional product design is based on the mass production mode formed since the industrial revolution, which means that the differences of products are difficult to be reflected in the design process. 3D printing technology makes the personalized and small-scale design and production of products possible. With the development and application of 3D printing technology, the production mode of products is no longer the constraint of designers' imagination. Products with complex appearance can be printed by 3D printer, and have the characteristics of functional integration. 3D printing can manufacture the required accessories on site without stopping work to disassemble the accessories. For example, drilling rigs can make accessories as long as they have printers and printing materials. 3D printing of a part takes only 6 to 24 hours.
Overall, 3D printing technology has great potential in the oil and gas industry, but there is still a long way to go to have a far-reaching impact on the oil and gas industry. Liu Li said that on the surface, 3D printing technology can reduce R & D costs and speed up the R & D process. In depth, we need the transformation from achievements to production and the in-depth integration of theory and practice.
In the future, 3D printing technology will certainly help the oil and gas industry solve many problems, such as the direct application of R & D results to the field, the parts with complex institutions or long purchase cycle required by the field can be printed directly, applied on the offshore drilling platform, etc.
According to the market observation of 3D science Valley, due to the particularity of the oil and gas industry, maintaining the smooth operation of oil and gas production facilities is widely regarded as one of the most arduous challenges in any industry. Under the pressure of high pressure and severe service conditions in oil and gas environment, key process control components will inevitably fail. Historically, due to the incompatibility between the average manufacturing lead time and operational demand, oil and gas operators have to implement expensive inventory plans to avoid the risk of prolonged downtime.
In particular, many oil and gas sites are located in remote or inaccessible geographical locations, which makes service and on-site support a problem. How can critical parts be reliably and quickly delivered to facilities in remote corners of the world unless there is inventory at every location? 3D printing can become a fast and small batch solution for manufacturing parts for oil and gas equipment.