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Shell Technology Centre Amsterdam secures facility qualification.

The Shell Technology Centre Amsterdam (STCA) has been awarded a best practice qualification for its powder bed fusion 3D printing facility from independent assessment company LRQA.

The qualification follows a robust audit which included a full review of Shell’s systems and procedures including personnel competencies, rules and regulation compliance and materials handling throughout the build process. Proof of additive manufacturing process and quality control excellence, it shows that the facility has demonstrated best practice in 3D printing capability.

Lead Auditor and metallurgy specialist Rob Bambach from LRQA said: “This is a great achievement for Shell and is a direct result of the 3D Printing Centre of Excellence’s commitment to reduce operation risk and rework through implementing high quality additive manufacturing processes and quality controls. A facility qualification is a badge of excellence, demonstrating value and providing assurance to customers and other key stakeholders.”

Following certification, Shell is now developing a pressure vessel using 3D printing which once complete, looks set to be an unprecedented global first.

“We see huge potential in using digital manufacturing to create innovative solutions for the markets we operate in,” said Andreas Nowak, Site Manager at Shell’s Technology Centre in Amsterdam. “This qualification demonstrates that our 3D printing facilities are among the best in the field and we are now looking at ways in which we can use this technology to create components and other assets for Shell.”

LRQA has been auditing printing facilities since 2016. This includes the examination of personnel competence; control of auxiliary materials and part handling; the installation, maintenance and ongoing capability of the additive manufacturing system and control of manufacturing through facility procedures and manufacturing plans.

LRQA is also involved in several working groups for international additive manufacturing standards. It also certified the first 3D printed component for the oil and gas industry in 2017.