A consortium of energy companies ambitions to standardize digital supply of 3D printed spare parts. Here is how.

Image via Fieldnode

A consortium of energy companies made up of ConocoPhillips, Equinor, Shell, TotalEnergies and Vår Energi signed an Industry Collaboration Agreement to set an industry standard for a digital inventory ecosystem.

The common thread of their work together is the software company Fieldnode – a company that started as part of Fieldmade, a Digital Inventory Project led by Brede Lærum, Head of the Additive Manufacturing Centre of Excellence at Equinor. To date, Fieldmade is still focusing on micro factories and the engineering part of AM, while Fieldnode is a software company developing Digital Inventory. As part of this project, Fieldnode will support through the development of a digital network for supply of spare parts produced on demand through AM.

It should be noted that Equinor and Shell – two energy companies that we have been closely monitoring – are already part of a consortium that will advance the use of 3D Printing as a repair method of underwater assets.

Have a look at Shell’s activities in the AM industry here and the ones of Equinor here.

As for the rest, we know TotalEnergies is a big user of AM even though they do not communicate a lot on their activities, ConocoPhillips recently shared their first impressions of AM and hopefully will continue to do so, and Vår Energi is the energy company whose activities in the field have remained hidden so far.

By joining forces, these energy companies agreed to work together on a two-year period to scale up the digital ecosystem of their industry. They ambition to drastically reduce lead times, physical inventories, total cost of ownership, materials waste and reduce shipping distances, improving the overall environmental impact, efficiency, and security of the supply chain.

While they do not question the capabilities of AM to achieve these goals, they want to establish a fit for purpose standard process to utilize the technology and transact in the new ecosystem and have therefore entered the collaboration, to solve the challenges together which the whole energy sector would benefit from.

Standardization around qualification processes, a new commercial model that caters for mass customization and improved total cost of ownership for customer vs. traditional volume-based incentives, are some of the areas that are set out to be addressed in the collaboration project, a press release notes.

To reach the set goals the partners in the collaboration intend to progressively invite their current suppliers, independent additive manufacturers as well as other suppliers to collaborate on the platform throughout the two years to ensure the whole industry can benefit from this transformation. By collaborating with the above-mentioned entities, the project partners intend to both test the technical and commercial solutions as well as fill the digital inventory with content.

The foundational technical solution is the Fieldnode platform which was developed through a Joint Industry Project with Fieldnode, Equinor and TotalEnergies. The platform facilitates efficient and resilient operation of supply networks to support the oil and gas operators to share limited supply chain resources. The collaboration agreement gives the opportunity to further develop needed industry standards to scale this and thereby secure supply of spare parts and at the same time reduce the environmental footprint.

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