Three Bottom-line Building Ways 3D Printing is Quietly Revolutionizing the Oil and Gas Industry

Although the technology of Rapid Prototyping (RP) was born at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), it’s found a home in the American automotive industry. Thirty years ago, Ford Motor Company bought the third 3D printer ever made and now the company uses the technology in almost every facet of its business, from troubleshooting manufacturing problems to improving the efficiency of new designs.

Engatech, an Oklahoma-based company with offices in Texas that specializes in 3D printing and equipment, is bringing RP technology and its benefits to the oil and gas industry.

image (8)“If you’re wanting to streamline your operations, this [3D printing technology] will allow you to reduce any variations in design. If you’re looking at new products, this will help you get into production quickly,” said Barbara Arnold-Feret, Application Engineer for Engatech.

Attendees of the 2015 South Texas Oilfield Expo can expect to see the technology in action July 29-30, at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, TX. In booth # 736, Engatech will be printing parts with the uPrint SE in addition to presenting a wide array of sample parts that have been created by other machines.

Visitors are encouraged to bring in their STL files, which are types of CAD files, to the Engatech booth. There, Arnold-Feret says, booth staff can help attendees identify part improvements that could translate into cost-saving measures. Which is good news for businesses facing the market downturn.

“Not only does this technology help eliminate mistakes and costs right now, it allows folks to anticipate problems and keep those problems from eating away at the market share and the customer loyalties they’ve worked hard to build up.”

Arnold-Feret says that in addition to improving R&D, there are many bottom-line building ways to use prototypes that haven’t been widely seen among professionals in the oil and gas industry. For example, trade show floor models help companies illustrate how their part fits into a large or complex applications. Travel demo pieces can help manufacturers avoid costly re-builds and shorten their sales cycle. Jigs and fixtures, casting patterns, and more can be quickly printed and used in production lines.

“So many times data or just a blueprint doesn’t give someone everything they need to be able to make a decision,” she said. “A 3D product can be used to highlight areas of interest a lot more effectively to a manager or operator. And if they’re able to sign off on a 3D version, there’s no confusion.”

Engatech is just one of hundreds of companies with solutions focused on increasing efficiency and cutting costs exhibiting at the 2015 South Texas Oilfield Expo. The show is open exclusively to industry professionals and has a focus on networking, deal-making, and trade. Arnold-Feret said it’s why the expo is a trade show of choice for Engatech.

“It’s in the right place, at the right time, doing the right things. People who come to this show are there for a reason; they’re there because they want to do business.”

For more information on Engatech, contact them at (866) 499-7500 or visit the website at

To attend the 2015 South Texas Oilfield Expo for free, register online at

Thermoplastic materials for 3D printing, courtesy of Engatech
Thermoplastic materials for 3D printing, courtesy of Engatech
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Oil and gas operations are commonly found in remote locations far from company headquarters. Now, it's possible to monitor pump operations, collate and analyze seismic data, and track employees around the world from almost anywhere. Whether employees are in the office or in the field, the internet and related applications enable a greater multidirectional flow of information – and control – than ever before.

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