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3D Printing And The Oil & Gas Industry

3D printing is a very interesting form of manufacturing thatallows for the creation of precise models at a small scale. For a costeffective order, it isn’t usually necessary to order 10,000 pieces. This isgreat for product developers trying to prototype ideas, artists to see theircreations come to life, and for various industries. I want to cover the impactof 3D printing on the oil and gas industry.  Before I go into details, I really want to emphasize onepoint. 3D printing is great for the creation of products at a small scale. Itis also great for entirely custom designs. Anyone can create products through3D printing! Some situations call for less than $150 for a truly custom piece.That number typically ranges a bit higher in a machine shop and through othermethods. With that being said, I want to jump into how this technology canimpact the oil and gas industry. Within this industry, there are quite a few servicecompanies. By service companies, I mean companies that will move onto oil andgas rigs to establish systems, valves, and operations on that vessel. Theprices of these jobs range well into the millions in many cases. Before aservice can be conducted, a service must be “sold” to a team. Marketing in oneway or another generates 100% of all sales, and sales generate 100% of allbusiness. 3D printing can prominently help in this marketing effort for a widevariety of services done in the oil and gas industry. I’m not a drillingengineer, and I can’t go into depth on the exact parts and systems for drillingprocesses, but I can tell you that 3D printing can help boost the marketingefforts for these services. Many valves and physical products are involvedwithin these service industries, and these products have to be sold.  3D printing can easily be used to produce scaled visuals ofthese parts when presenting ideas to prospective clients. When your team ofsales representatives approaches prospective clients, they are typically goingto be very prepared. Visuals such as computer images, printed out images,specifications, and details of products will be presented to clients. Thismethod has definitely worked since the industry began, but why not amp it up atan exponential rate? If every member of your sales team could bring forward aphysical visualization of the product, I can almost guarantee you that yoursales would increase. What is a few thousand dollars, or maybe even a coupletens of thousands of dollars (to equip your entire team) if it helps createjust 1-2 additional sales? Yet again, I’m not a drilling engineer, but I cantell you that quite a few wells cost over 15 million dollars to operate. If youspent even $100,000 on 3D printing to equip EVERY sales representative with avisual, and it led to ONE sale, the money would be made back. Odds are, themoney spent will be a fraction of $100,000, but I can almost guarantee you thatthe profit returned for each sale will be within seven figures.  

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