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60 Seconds with…David Glass, Health and Safety Executive

Institution News Team

Additive Manufacturing
Additive Manufacturing

We caught up with the industry regulator ahead of the Institution’s Additive Manufacturing seminar to get a better idea of the implications of this technology for engineers in the pressure systems industry.

Please provide us with a brief summary of your role as it relates to Additive Manufacturing in pressure systems

David Glass (DG): I lead a team of Mechanical Engineers looking at integrity issues in the major hazard sector of UK manufacturing – the petrochemical industry being the main focus of attention. Our work not only involves inspection and investigation, but also developing lines to take, technical policy and in this instance, understanding the implications of new technology. Additive Manufacturing(AM) is one area where there are clear benefits, but also challenges to accepted guidance and standards. As a result, there are some concerns about the deployment of AM technology where it forms the primary containment boundary.

What is the number one challenge or concern engineers in this sector experience when thinking about AM components?

DG: While AM materials are similar to their wrought cousins, they are not the same – they are in effect new materials. For me there are some potentially crucial differences stemming from the way components are formed which means for example, they may degrade differently. So we have to understand that the knowledge we’ve gained over decades does not necessarily apply to equipment manufactured using these novel techniques.

What opportunities does AM present for this sector?

DG: The technology is truly ‘disruptive’, altering the status quo in manufacturing, the supply chain and how components are used, with the path to deployment vastly reduced. Added to that the potential to improve design, reduce waste, limit inventory and perhaps address obsolescence, means that there are significant reasons to pursue AM in this sector.

What insight and guidance are you planning to share in your presentation at the seminar?

DG: The presentation is more of a challenge – industry has made significant steps to understand the initial properties of AM materials, but there still seems to be a shortfall when it comes to long term use, especially in harsh environments and hazardous applications. For example, with the push towards Net Zero, how do AM components perform in hydrogen service? If collectively we don’t know the answers to such questions, the seminar is an opportunity to open a dialogue and take issues forward. .

Are there any other technical questions which you are looking forward to being addressed at the event?

DG: Industry has progressed the technology significantly; I’m very much looking forward to gaining an insight into their endeavours, where they see the technology going and understanding both the benefits and risks associated with AM in the pressure vessel arena.

Why is it important for engineers to come together and share knowledge at this event?

DG: We’re at the stage where individual companies, academia and other industry players have worked to gain an understanding of AM, but a lot of it behind closed doors. Given the pressing need to adopt more efficient ways of working, both from an energy perspective but also conserving raw material, then a collective understanding of the issues is vital for safe deployment of AM technology, especially in critical applications.

The Additive Manufacturing in the Pressure Systems Industry seminar takes place on 5 October 2021

Organised by the Institution's Pressure Systems members group, this seminar will provide delegates with a unique opportunity to learn about the dynamic developments of Additive Manufacturing (AM) in the UK and the main applications for the pressure systems industry going forward.

For full details and to book your place simply visit the event website.

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