Conference features theme of “Shaping the Future of Mechanical Equipment Technologies.”
Participants in the first Saudi Mechanical Engineering Technology Conference and Exhibition listen to an exhibition presentation. The event was held Dec. 12 and 13 at an al-Khobar area hotel.
Green energy, robotics, and 3D printing were among the paramount innovations under the spotlight at a recent technical conference.
The first Saudi Mechanical Engineering Technology Conference and Exhibition (Saudi MET) was organized by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers-Eastern Saudi Arabia Section (ASME-ESAS) and held at an al-Khobar area hotel on Dec 12 and 13.
The theme of the conference was “Shaping the Future of Mechanical Equipment Technologies,” with hundreds of industry professionals and operational managers attending the event over the two days.
Khalid Y. Al-Qahtani
‘Kingdom Plans to be Hub of Knowledge Exchange’
During his inauguration speech, Khalid Y. Al-Qahtani, chief engineeer, said that the conference was an opportunity to share knowledge.
“Saudi Arabia has been a reliable source of energy for more than eight decades and has ambitious plans in the 2030 Vision to continue that role — not only in conventional energy sources, but new ones like solar, wind, and hydrogen fuels,” he said.
“As part of this leadership, experts and professionals, both in the Kingdom and internationally, have contributed to the advancement of engineering knowledge, especially in the energy sector. Technical events, such as conferences and exhibitions play a key role in sharing knowledge, showcasing the latest technologies, networking, and unlocking win-win opportunities.
“You may already have noticed the exponential increase in the number of technical events held in Saudi Arabia. That’s because our Kingdom plans to be a hub of knowledge exchange in addition to being a hub of energy.”
‘Engineers Embrace the Concept that Every Problem Has a Solution’
Khalid M. Al-Mansour, the conference chair, had earlier opened the event and emphasized the importance of the work engineers carry out in solving problems for the business.
“As engineers we share a common passion — problem solving. Most people find problem solving frustrating, but that’s because they have a narrow mindset.”
— Khald M. Al-Mansour
“Whether due to attitude or education, they only look at one approach. And when that fails, they give up,” Al-Mansour said. “As engineers, we embrace the concept that every problem has a solution — if you combine science with creativity. Engineering is essentially creative .
The first keynote presentation delivered on day one was by Chip Eskridge, chair of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) B31 standards (pressure piping), on additive manufacturing — also known as 3D printing.
Speaking to Aramco LIFE after his speech, Eskridge said that the technology could help significantly speed up company processes, including getting vital parts for factories.
“Additive manufacturing allows you to deviate from the traditional way of manufacturing. Now, you can take an AutoCAD (a computer-aided design) file of a part, put it in the machine and the welding machine will make the part as per the drawing.,” Eskridge said. “Some of the old parts might take 12 weeks to get manufactured the old way, with additive manufacturing that part could be made in two or three weeks.”
The presentation on 3D printing was immediately followed by a talk on robotics by Samir Mekid, director of Interdisciplinary Research Center for Intelligent Manufacturing and Robotics at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.
Asked about the impact of robotics on the workplace in recent years, he said, “The impact that has been seen over the past few years in the work environment is that [areas] that are difficult to access by a human, [can be accessed by] the robot, which can do the job for long periods of time.
“It also offers safety for the human, safety for the plant where you can control the operating conditions, and nothing happens that can harm the plant or the environment. It also helps in an extreme environment, where you have high temperatures or high pressure.”
Green energy was one of the main talking points on the agenda on day two of the Saudi MET, with Jim Meyer, ASME Board on Pressure Technology Codes and Standards, delivering a presentation on the topic.
On what the future of the sector looks like, he said, “Twenty years ago, we anticipated hydrogen was coming — we were 20 years ahead of it. Now, in the past year, it has exploded but we’re still not in production and we expect that to be coming in the next couple of years because we have another semi-energy crisis with some of the political issues around the world. It’s going to happen but it’ll have its Achille’s heel.”
— The Arabian Sun: December 26, 2022