German firm launches new additive manufacturing technology

A newly launched additive manufacturing technique enables reliable protection of sensor elements by means of a hard alloy.

OR Lasertechnologie (Dieburg, Germany) has launched a direct metal deposition additive manufacturing technique that enables reliable protection of sensor elements by means of a hard alloy. This technique makes it possible to significantly extend sensor elements' lifetimes in, for example, pipelines of the oil and gas industry.

Each day, about a million barrels of crude oil, or 160,000m3, pass through a pipeline with a 1m diameter. Gas pipelines have an extremely high internal pressure of 100 bars, which can even reach 200 bars or more in offshore pipelines. Sensor elements used to monitor the flow suffer considerable wear as a result of corrosion and abrasion. This shortens their lifetimes and necessitates costly repairs, according to a statement.

The company's innovative powder nozzle, a powder-based laser cladding technology, can be used to greatly prolong the life expectancy of these sensors, the statement said. The compact EVO Mobile laser welding system has use in applying wear-resistant coatings and carrying out repairs or modifications. The system uses relatively low laser output levels, but its high deposition rate of up to 5000 mm3/h makes it ideal for a vast range of applications.

The research and development (R&D) department from the company spent a year collaborating with the Fraunhofer Institute to develop a highly efficient, easy-to-install powder nozzle that works with high repeatability and is suitable for automated processes, the statement said.

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