How Shell used 3D printing on its Stones development

August 22, 2016

As Shell's Stones development inches closer to first production, the Anglo-Dutch supermajor released a video on how the company used 3D printing to ensure that the disconnectable buoy on the project came together flawlessly during the construction process.

Unlike typical disconnectable buoys, the Stones buoy features 222 pieces of syntactic foam, which need to fit together in sequence. Shell opted to use a 3D model to make certaint there weren’t any safety issues or schedule delays when teams had to put together the actual buoy.

“A fundamental part of the design process is to visualize what the end product will be,” says Robert Patterson, executive vice president, engineering, Shell, in the video. “3D printing allows for very rapid prototyping; allows you to engage with a design, installation sequence and safety risks of putting it together. If you do all of those things early, it leads to far better outcomes.”

Read more about Shell's Stones project development, including the field's FPSO, in the September 2016 issue of OE.



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