Constantly striving to develop better solutions for corrosion handling in the oil and gas industry, and to set new standards in terms of health, safety and the environment, the Norwegian company Pinovo turned to Materialise to help make its goals a reality. In the words of Jan Heldal, CEO of Pinovo, “Materialise technologies enabled us to introduce new and more efficient tools in an extremely flexible way.”
Searching for a Safer, Eco-Friendly Solution
Pinovo was founded in 2004 and has been working in close collaboration with Innovation Norway, Exxon Mobil and Shell, to develop better tools for the handling of corrosion on oil and gas pipelines. Their goal was to move the existing sandblasting process from an open system, which generated significant waste and exposed the operator to high levels of environmental pollution, to a closed, safer, more eco-friendly solution. Setting to work on the development of a series of tools that could enable this transition, Pinovo discovered that traditional manufacturing techniques were time-consuming and expensive.
A Set of Tools that Only Materialise Could Help Create
Among the set of tools that Pinovo was developing, was the ‘PiBlast’. Conceived to treat large and comprehensive pipe work, the PiBlast required a housing structure that due to its special shape, could not be produced by traditional molds. Pinovo also needed a production material that was both highly durable (that could operate in harsh environment when blasting the pipes), as well as anti-static, (to prevent any sparks or buildup of static electricity during the blasting process. As a pioneer in Additive Manufacturing, with a huge production capacity, Materialise was able to produce the necessary parts, meet all of the requirements, and provide much needed expertise in the area of laser sintering, with the anti-static, resilient material Alumide.
Ready to Flexibly Respond to New Challenges
Today, Pinovo continues to work with Materialise in the production of housing structures for its PiBlast product, now in a range of sizes (from 2 - 8 inches), as well as in the creation of new hand held tools and adapters. Using Additive Manufacturing, the time between a new request or idea and a finished product is shorter than ever, which makes it possible for Pinovo to respond in a very flexible way to customer demands. In the short time that Materialise and Pinovo have been collaborating, Materialise has produced more than 1200 pieces for Pinovo and their customers.
"Addressing our original objective of a safer, more eco-friendly solution, with the PiBlast and related products, Pinovo has been able to virtually eliminate operator exposure to maintenance related environmental pollution, and has reduced waste by 75-90%. Materialise played a key role in realizing this.”
– Jan Heldal, CEO, Pinovo.