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Vallourec is working on two 3D-printed lifting plugs for wellbore and production solutions.

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Lifting plugs are crucial safety components that serve as the link between the rig elevator and the pipes.

They are installed on the rig’s surface to allow operators to safely handle and transfer long tubular items.

Because they are designed to bear loads, such components are typically heavy.

Vallourec, a worldwide manufacturing business situated in Boulogne-Billancourt (France), has developed two lifting plugs for Weatherford, a wellbore and production solutions company,

as part of a commercial project.
Vallourec made the statement after completing the first 3D-printed safety-critical component for TotalEnergies.

Weatherford requested that a VAM® TTR HW Riser Lifting Plug capable of 100T be manufactured for a customer’s workover scope off the coast of Australia.

The majority of lifting pluses are built of forged thick-wall bars.

Because these parts are utilized on the surface and are safety-critical, they require non-standard materials with specific mechanical qualities, resulting in lengthy lead times.
Because lifting plugs connect to existing equipment,

special measurements are sometimes required to ensure that all components are compatible, which adds to lead times.


holding raw materials in non-standard sizes in inventory is inefficient and may result in waste if they are never used. According to Vallourec, all of this causes important deadlines to be missed.

Wire-arc Additive Manufacturing

To overcome these limitations, the Vallourec team chose Wire-Arc Additive Manufacturing.
Manufacturing (WAAM), a technique in which Vallourec excels.

Automated metal inert gas (MIG) welding or laser hot wire welding is combined with direct deposition 3D printing in this procedure. Vallourec is known for its significant welding experience, for those who are unaware.

The blank is machined, tested, and VAM® threaded after all of the material has been placed.

Because of a new design of the component,

using WAAM as part of this fabrication had many benefits

, including being more inexpensive, faster, and allowing for custom non-standard diameters that were compatible with Weatherford’s existing equipment.
There is no minimum order quantity for specific OD needs.

This would not have been possible using traditional methods because we would have been limited to the OD of the available solid bar or would have had to purchase a new solid bar with a higher OD, lengthening the lead time further,” says Jinwei Li, Asia Pacific Sales Manager at Vallourec.

Finally, this manufacturing technique allows them to construct a digital or virtual warehouse through which they may buy spare parts as a printable file, in addition to the benefits in terms of weight, time, cost, and design freedom.

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