Pipeline Engineering is a traditional mechanical engineering business focused on the manufacture of polyurethane and metal products for the oil and gas industry. Their aim was to bring in new knowledge to develop products with increased value added.
The aim of the knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) was to develop an innovative, quick-opening closure for large diameter, high pressure pig traps for pipeline inspection purposes. Pig traps enable a 'pig' (a maintenance/ inspection device), to be inserted into a pressurised pipeline. Embedding the resulting product development skills and methodology would enable the company to improve the competitiveness of further products.
The intention was to resolve technical issues associated with the Rapid Opening Closure (ROC), a product sold by the company for use by the oil and gas industry for opening and closing pig traps to launch and receive pipeline pigs.
The ROCs are used intermittently and are exposed to different levels of pressure and hostile conditions, making their design particularly challenging. The design issues related particularly to products of large diameters. The company lacked knowledge on the impact of erosion or corrosion on the product materials, and they needed to be able to link the design and development process with prototype manufacture and validation.
A robust design process
The collaboration has resulted in a design which is competitive in its field, and a deeper understanding of the product's intricacies. A more robust and rigorous engineering design process has been developed and embedded in the company's standard procedures, which will create efficiencies and improve quality.
In common with other companies providing services to the international oil and gas sector, at the time the KTP was running, the company faced challenging trading conditions as a result of depressed oil price and curtailed investment expenditure. However, the KTP was vital to the companys longer term strategic focus on higher value products and services.
Contributions to University research
Benefits to the University include a contribution to research in pressure and corrosion testing, as well as data acquisition and the application of advanced modelling techniques. Two technical papers have been prepared for publication.
Opportunities have been identified that may lead to collaborations regarding other aspects of the companys work.
The KTP associate now holds a lecturing position at Coventry University, due in part to his experience gained on the KTP.
Find out if a Knowledge Transfer Partnership could help your business by contacting the KTP team at the University of Leeds at firstname.lastname@example.org