20 May, 2024

Improving efficiencies for offshore industries

09 December, 2016

Oilgear has increased manufacturing automation and testing facilities in order to deliver more cost-effective solutions for the offshore industry.

The offshore and subsea industries use large quantities of low viscosity fluids at high pressure, up to 1000 bar, which would normally create significant problems for conventional hydraulic systems. Oilgear has developed specialist components such as pumps and control valves, which are optimised for operation with low viscosity fluids.

For 95 years, the company has been delivering hydraulic solutions with a specific focus on high technology pumps, valves and control systems. Working closely with OEMs and end users, Oilgear has set the bar high in terms of product quality and reliability. Nowhere is this more important than in the subsea environment, which is both hazardous and environmentally sensitive.

Short lead times

The flexibility of the company means that it can develop a new project from concept to prototype to testing in just 12 weeks and still demonstrate the performance and reliability of the new product. This is in part attributed to the company’s long history of using computational simulation tools and finite element analysis (FEA) to determine the most appropriate design.

Oilgear has invested US$10 million in its facilities around the world and a considerable amount of this investment has been made in the testing facilities which are crucial for observing real world characteristics and using them to improve the simulation programs.

Having used computer simulation tools for over 30 years, Oilgear has adopted SimulationX, which is used throughout the oil and gas industry for fine tuning hydraulic designs. This simplifies the design process when working on projects with OEMs, such as defining ram closure timing for blow-off prevention (BOP) control systems, pressure drop calculations or ROV controls. By using SimulationX, overall development time can be minimised and new control systems brought to full operation more efficiently.

Testing for greater reliability

Within each manufacturing facility, Oilgear has extensive testing equipment that is constantly working to verify the durability of pumps, valves, regulators and custom components. The tests have not only been carried out using low viscosity fluids, but also, in extreme circumstances, sand-laden seawater to test for durability with highly contaminated fluids.

The information gained from years of testing has been used to continuously refine the design of many components including the pumps that are at the heart of every hydraulic system. Oilgear has over 45 years’ experience in manufacturing rugged equipment for pumping environmentally-friendly hydraulic fluids. Designing both fixed and variable displacement pumps, the company has developed hydrodynamic thrust bearing technology and uses polymer coatings to enable operation with low viscosity or other special fluids.

Designing new hydraulic components for the offshore industry is far from simple; the industry is heavily regulated and a number of certification schemes operate to ensure that every aspect of the industry maintains safe and reliable operating procedures. Designing equipment for this industry requires not only excellent knowledge of the standards but also a desire to exceed them where possible to ensure future compliance.

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