Digital manufacturer Protolabs has worked closely with DNV to achieve ‘qualification of manufacturer’ certification.
Protolabs is among the first manufacturers in the EMEA region to achieve the certification, and the first certified manufacturer using powder bed fusion technology in their additive process – ideal for high resolution and geometrical accuracy.
Daniel Cohn, general manager and 3DP lead for Protolabs EMEA, commented: “Trust is, rightly, an important necessity for the Oil & Gas industry and also the wider energy sector. But now assurance can be given with the work we’ve conducted under the keen eye of DNV – the independent expert in risk management and assurance for the sector. Audits of our manufacturing facilities and processes prove that we comply with the general demands of the Oil & Gas industry so we can now move forward with even greater support for the sector as a whole.”
The certification applies to Protolabs’ direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) technology, specifically for the superalloy Inconel 718 – a high-strength, corrosion-resistant nickel chromium. Combining the exceptional properties of the material with Protolabs’ expertise in DMLS means the company can rapidly produce complex geometries for parts which are exposed to the harsh environments typical of the sector.
Achieving the certification is a process of technical evaluation of a number of probes within the machinery in combination with the material, individually and the system as a whole. The independent certification provides reliable proof that the probes meet the high qualification standard set out by DNV.
Certification of Protolabs’ DMLS process and its Inconel 718 superalloy provides a new level of assurance, but the company offers a variety of materials and technologies that are relevant to the oil & gas, maritime and offshore industries, as well as the broader energy sector.
Mr Cohn continued: “We naturally see possibilities in the sector for Inconel 718 but also, in a less extreme temperature range, for Stainless Steel 316L. We also see possibilities with functional polymers in applications where conditions are not so extreme. The DNV certification applies to our Inconel 718 but we see it as testament to our quality process and expect to see that trust extend to our whole offering.”