Vallourec uses WAAM technology for EDF power plants

The French company Vallourec has just completed production of the first sealing ring for the safety of EDF Hydro’s hydroelectric facilities. The particularity of this product is that it was 3D printed in metal. In fact, Vallourec used the WAAM process (wire arc additive manufacturing). This is also the first part produced with this technology for EDF Hydro power plants. This printing process allows the materials to keep their robustness, a crucial element in ensuring the effectiveness of the sealing rings. The approach and interest of WAAM has been validated. The two partners therefore wish to scale up industrialization.

In the Oil & Gas industry, metal additive manufacturing is used more to design complex parts which, however, ensure the safety of people and installations. It is clear that it is the WAAM process that is often chosen, due to its ability to create large volumes on demand but also to ensure the repair of certain defective components. This is the case of the French company Vallourec, which produces more and more parts for market players, such as Total. This time, he worked with EDF in the production of a sealing ring of one meter in diameter and 100 kg. Its role is to protect the valve in the event of a leak problem.

Vallourec and the advantages of WAAM technology

The advantages of using WAAM technology are manifold. First of all, the environmental aspect is an important element for EDF. The WAAM process will thus allow the group to act on several criteria. Indeed, this method of printing makes it possible to reduce CO2 emissions, particularly in terms of transport. Then, it minimizes the use of raw materials, which avoids waste and overexploitation. This is also important for the supply chain since WAAM technology reduces the stock needed to manufacture a part, thus limiting transport and therefore saving time on production.

Samuel Lecerf, Industrial Director Europe / Africa at Vallourec concludes: “With the partnership with EDF, Vallourec is entering an era of development of WAAM technology. We are currently studying an investment plan to create a competence center and a production hub to have the two arms armed with the growth of this technology within Vallourec. » Eventually, EDF hopes to industrialize this production method, having already qualified the entire process for this part.

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*Cover photo credits: Vallourec

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