Additive manufacturing is a new manufacturing technology to produce parts that are used in both research and production plants at BASF. The goal is to use the new freedom of design to optimize components – and thus improve chemical processes.
The Technical Inspection at BASF SE in their role as Notified Body (user inspectorate) has now certified an additively manufactured autoclave as a pressure equipment for the first time. This equipment conforms to the European Pressure Equipment Directive (2014/68/EU). Within the scope of this Directive, the autoclave made from austenitic stainless steel (operating pressure = 225 bar) meets the Category III requirements. Therefore, BASF is the first company to execute a certification process including a procedure qualification for a 3D-printed pressure equipment. In the future, safety-relevant parts, which cannot be manufactured using conventional methods, will be designed, manufactured and quickly put into operation at BASF using this process. The new design enables faster temperature cycles to be achieved, better regulation of an even temperature distribution, as well as the tempering of the component.