Sixty-five percent of the world’s offshore pipelines are designed and installed to DNV GL’s technical standards. To develop and update these standards is a long story. SFI CASA at NTNU is part of it.
DNV GL joined CASA for many reasons. The SIMLab Toolbox was one of them. The toolbox contains the accumulated results of many years of testing, modelling, simulation and verification, all made available for industry. Among the tools is the material model. It describes the behaviour of materials and structures.
“We deal with complex questions where good coupling of materials and structures is essential. One example is our close cooperation with Statoil on offshore pipelines, where SIMLab’s material model was very useful. It illustrates perfectly the usefulness of our CASA membership. To be able to learn more and at the same time meet customer expectations in this way is pure joy,” says principal specialist Agnes Marie Horn. She represents DNV GL on CASA’s board.
“CASA is an important arena for us. The appointment of Erling Østby from DNV GL as Professor II in CASA enables transformation of knowledge and interaction with the students,” Horn continues.
The Statoil example points to one of DNV GL’s key business areas. It is the world’s largest technical assurance and advisory company to the renewable as well as the oil and gas industry, as illustrated by the dominant position of the offshore pipeline standards.
“Yet our technical standards are by no means given once and for all. We are constantly challenged by our customers – and we welcome that. They want to know: “What is really the critical condition?” On one hand, we generally belong to a world of conservative estimates. On the other, while oil companies and other clients want to ensure robust and safe operation they don’t want to pay for superfluous security. This means that we have to increase our understanding continually. It is not sufficient to know when materials and structures fail. We need to know why. This is where SIMLab’s material model and other tools come to use,” says Horn.
DNV GL’s history goes more than 150 years back and started with classification of merchant vessels. Today, it is the world’s largest classification society for ships and offshore mobile units.
The core of the business still is quality assurance and risk management, with a portfolio ranging from electrification to food, from healthcare to software. DNV GL is one of Norway’s most international companies, with some 13 000 employees spread out between 350 offices in more than 100 countries.
Dedicated to research
DNV GL is owned by the Norwegian foundation Det Norske Veritas and has a clearly stated dedication towards research. Every year, five percent of its revenue is set aside for the purpose.
The dedication is visible in in-house research with support from the labs in Oslo, Ohio, Singapore and elsewhere, but also as in-kind and economic contributions to research partners like SFI CASA. DNV GL takes part in half a dozen SFIs under the Centre for Research-based Innovation scheme of the Research Council of Norway and operates its own technology excellence network.
“What characterizes CASA is the openness. We meet partners at the forefront of their respective industries and can learn from them. The automotive industry is a good example. This is unique. It helps us in our own strategy of always being innovative and in the forefront when we work with our own labs. Indeed, the strong partners were one of the convincing arguments for joining CASA in the first place. Another argument, of course, was the strong track record of the SIMLab research group,” Horn says.
There are challenges ahead. Always. In DNV GL’s case, age is one. Example: what happens to polymer coatings in arctic waters after 30 or 40 years of use? This is a typical area where digital solutions are needed and part of the motivation behind the establishment of DNV GL Digital Solution.
“As of today, we have some way to go when it comes to good understanding of material responses after several decades. Because of this and because of the extreme conditions in many of the environments where our clients operate, we need to be conservative in our estimates.
“That said, very much is happening in the world of materials. With the help of big data through CASA and all our other research efforts, we keep on moving towards the vision of being able to simulate almost anything,” Horn continues.
“DNV GL has digitalization as one key company strategy. However, to move from words to solutions we need concrete building blocks. From the materials point of view we see CASA and the toolbox as potentially important pieces of the puzzle we must solve. Collecting knowledge and ways to use materials information in a structured and versatile way will be an important success factor in reaching the ambition of providing the industry with step-change digital solutions,” says Horn.
Agnes Marie Horn has NTNU roots. After graduating, she moved to France, before working for several years for Aker in Oslo and Exxon in the US prior to joining DNV GL 12 years ago.
In her new position as CASA board member, she is back at the department she graduated from.
“I really enjoy the meetings in CASA. They are always very rewarding,” she concludes.