R&D Centers

Research centers and expertise: global presence


Vallourec has six research centers throughout the world specializing in specific products, processes or technologies.

In France, the Aulnoye research complex houses:

  • the long-established “Vallourec Research Center France” which specializes in metallurgy, non-destructive testing, corrosion resistance, surface treatments, digital product and process simulations, notably for OCTG and mechanical engineering applications;

  • the “Vallourec Research Center Connections” is in charge of the design of the VAM® threaded connection and the industrialization of threading lines. Equipped with modern test benches, it notably enables the tubes and VAM® connections to be sealed to their actual size under the most extreme conditions. It must undergo make-and-break operations, combined loads simulation (tension and compression), deformation, hightemperature and fatigue resistance. Vallourec announced that this center would be extended by 2016.

In Düsseldorf, Germany:

  • the “Vallourec Research Center Germany” is dedicated to designing and developing steel tubes for power plants and oil and gas pipelines. It has also housed a welding lab since 2014;

  • the “Vallourec Research Center Technology” is in charge of research on hot forming for tube production. This long-established center has made innovations in Vallourec’s core processes. It operates alongside the “Vallourec Competence Center Riesa”, a laboratory containing the most modern equipment, which allows Vallourec to increase the pace of development of innovations in process methodologies and equipment. Its versatile piercing, rolling and forging facilities will push back the current limits of steel and alloy hot-forming within the Group.

        

In Belo Horizonte, Brazil:

  • the “Vallourec Research Center Brazil” has teams of experts and test laboratories, adapting the Group’s solutions to the specific needs of its Brazilian customers, as well as developing new solutions. A new “Vallourec Competence Center Rio” is located in the Industrial Park of the University of Rio de Janeiro in close proximity to CENPES, the Petrobras research center. Lastly, Vallourec Florestal, Vallourec’s subsidiary which operates the Group’s eucalyptus forest in Brazil, conducts research work on the forestry and the transformation of wood into charcoal.

In Houston, Texas (USA):

  • the “Vallourec Competence Center USA” is devoted to specific developments of the VAM® connection for the American market. The center’s testing capacity was doubled in 2012.

In total, three​ testing stations worldwide conduct full-scale tests on the behavior of VAM® connections under the most arduous usage conditions.

The Group also performs R&D activities in other regions of the world, notably in Indonesia, through its subsidiary P.T. Citra Tubindo, as well as in Japan, with its longstanding partner NSSMC.

Vallourec Research Center France (Aulnoye)Aulnoye.jpg 

Vallourec Research Center France is the Group's long-established research center. It focuses on alloys and new grades of steel that improve the strength and weight of tubes used by the oil industry or in mechanical applications.

Its work includes: developing alloys and grades of steel, non-destructive testing, corrosion resistance, surface treatment and product and process simulations.

Vallourec Research Center Germany (Düsseldorf)

The Vallourec Center in Düsseldorf comprises two units:      Dusseldorf.jpg

  • The "Boiler & Pipe Line Competence Center" (BLCC) in Düsseldorf is located near major German manufacturers of boilers and steam generators.

It focuses on developing and designing tubes and steel used in conventional and nuclear power plants, as well as oil and gas line pipes.

  • The "Rolling Competence Center" focuses on tube hot rolling research. This unit, which is tasked with innovating in Vallourec's core processes, was recently enhanced by the addition of a rolling laboratory.

Vallourec Competence Center Riesa (Germany)

Inaugurated in January 2011, this German Competence Center houses the latest technology for testing and optimizing manufacturing methods. The center is unique, operating like a mini-plant that brings together all of the Group's key areas of expertise: piercing technology that turns a billet into a tubular blank, and rolling-stretching on a mandrel.

Riesa_1.jpg Riesa_2.jpg 

It is the only research center to combine a piercing mill and a mandrel mill. It enables testing to be carried out under real-life conditions for all units of the Group, and innovative production methods to be developed.

This helps to strengthen Vallourec's competitive advantage. The Vallourec Competence Center Riesa tests the technologies that will enable the Group's plants to improve their quality and speed performance going forward.

Vallourec Research Center Brazil (Belo Horizonte)

Vallourec tailors the Group's solutions for its Brazilian customers in the Vallourec Research Center Brazil Belo Horizonte, bringing together teams of experts and test laboratories.

Vallourec Competence Center Rio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

Vallourec decided to step up its cooperation in the area of research with Petrobras, Brazil's state-owned oil company and the Group's main customer in the country.

Vallourec Competence Center Rio, inaugurated in July 2013, is located close to CENPES, the Petrobras research center.

The new center covers all of the Group's operations in the pre-salt sector, including drill pipes, umbilical products and accessories. It will enable Vallourec to respond directly to the needs and expectations of the Brazilian oil group, which exploits deposits in conditions of extreme pressure, temperature and corrosion.

The Rio de Janeiro research center will also benefit from synergies with the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and the University of Levras in areas such as the environment, robotics and energy consumption.

In addition to research and competence facilities,Vallourec also owns 3 VAM® testing centers:

Learn more about the testing centers