Indigenization of Buoy Components Using Additive Manufacturing Technique
Keywords:buoy components, deep sea, additive manufacturing, fused deposition modeling
The Ocean Observation Systems (OOS) group of the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) is involved in the design, development and sustenance of moored data buoys in the Indian Seas. The moored buoy systems deployed in the Northern Indian Ocean provide real-time, continuous observation of surface meteorological and oceanographic parameters which help in monitoring extreme weather events and natural disasters such as cyclones and tsunamis. Buoy components are of different sizes and shapes and are made of various materials, including metals and plastics. However, due to unique and critical design requirements, the development of deep-sea components faces hurdles caused by manufacturing limitations. The advent of additive manufacturing (AM) has met the demand for quickly producing parts. Due to the high pressure and low temperature conditions, it is extremely difficult to design and develop deep sea components. Consequently, High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) material has been selected for the subsurface floats. The float is manufactured using the Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) additive manufacturing technique in the Fabheads 1K FDM printer with pellet based extrusion method. These subsurface floats are used at a water depth of 500 m in NIOT buoy systems, with a working pressure of approximately 50 bar. Taking a factor of safety of two into account, the part is designed to withstand 100 bar. To assess the component's performance under deep-sea hydrostatic conditions, it underwent testing in the hyperbaric chamber test facility at NIOT. During the qualification process, the component successfully withstood the design pressure of 100 bar and imploded at 102 bar. This study is part of NIOT's ongoing efforts to indigenize deep-sea components using AM and assess its future prospects.
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