R&D, Innovation key contributor

Vallourec has significantly enhanced its technical capability and skills base to enable it to design extremely reliable bespoke high-tech solutions within a short space of time.

Partnerships with world leaders

The Group runs R&D programs in partnership with industries, suppliers, customers and university laboratories that are world leaders in their fields:

Long-standing partners

  • NSSMC for the development of VAM® connections
  • The Salzgitter Mannesmann Forschungsinstitut in Duisburg, our long-standing research partner on improving manufacturing processes.

University Partnerships

Finally, Vallourec undertakes basic research in partnership with several university laboratories worldwide.

  • Mines ParisTech (France)
  • RWTH Aachen University (Germany)
  • Carnegie Mellon University (United States)
  • Universidade de São Paulo (Brazil)

R&D examples

  • In Brazil, the “Vallourec Presalt Project” is dedicated to developing solutions to meet the technological challenges posed by the huge presalt reservoirs found off the coast of Brazil. One of these is Tupi, the second largest oil and gas field discovery of the past 20 years. Vallourec teams are working closely with teams from the national oil company Petrobas to develop new solutions for confronting extreme operating conditions, particularly corrosion and the risk of collapse.

  • The VAM®HTF joint was specially designed as a compact solution for very high torque applications. This product line has been deployed at various facilities for several different customers operating in very severe conditions.

  • The newly developed 12% VM12 chromium steel alloy, designed for use at high temperatures, is now being used industrially in highly efficient, ultra-supercritical power plants. This steel’s outstanding resistance to steam oxidation is of particular interest to our customers.

  • PREON® is a patented large-span tubular roof frame system which has been developed for industrial and commercial buildings.

Key figures

Engineers and technicians500
R&D Budget1.5%of the Revenue
Research and expertise centers6


A culture of innovation among our researchers

To foster and instill a culture of innovation within the Group, Vallourec is stepping up knowledge sharing both internally and with clients.

Constant communication with our Clients

Beginning with the creation of the VAM® joint in 1965 up until the development of the VAM® 21 connection recently, the innovative premium products designed and developed by Vallourec have enabled the Group’s clients to access hard-to-reach hydrocarbon resources or to improve the performance of their power plants. These innovations are all the result of a process of ongoing R & D communication between our researchers and clients aimed at developing solutions that match their individual operational needs.

  • Petrobras: developing solutions for the pre-salt fields off the coast of Brazil
  • Total: premium connections for difficult wells
  • Weatherford: premium connections for innovative applications
  • British Petroleum: drill pipes for horizontal drilling, tubes and connections for risers
  • Hitachi Power Europe, Alstom, Doosan: high performance steels for USC power plants (electrical energy)

The 'expert career' program

To raise the profile of careers in engineering, innovation and R&D, Vallourec has established an 'Expert Career' program in order to offer new career opportunities to Group engineers working in Technology and R&D.

These engineers can now choose, at each stage of their career, between management responsibilities and responsibilities for technical expertise, with equivalent status and pay. To facilitate this, the Group's Human Resources Department has established bridges between the two career paths.

Participation in conferences

Our researchers regularly participate in major international conferences in their areas of expertise, either as active members or via publications and presentations on our latest research.

 

Vallourec has significantly enhanced its technical capability and skills base to enable it to design extremely reliable bespoke high-tech solutions within a short space of time.

Missions of R&D

  • Develop and fine-tune innovative technologies and solutions
  • Identify and promote best practices and best available technologies
  • Roll out a culture of innovation thanks to an internal system for managing expertise and knowledge 

Resources

500 engineers and technicians

R&D brings together a worldwide network of 500 engineers and technicians, spread across the various research and testing centers.


A significant budget

In 2014, R&D expenses totaled €95.7 million.​​


6 international research centers

Vallourec's 6 research centers, based in France, Germany, Brazil and the US, are equipped with high-performance investigative and modeling tools and provide expertise for Vallourec's core competencies: metallurgy, heat transfer technology, non-destructive testing, corrosion, surface treatment and product and process simulations, etc.

Partnerships with world leaders

The Group runs R&D programs in partnership with industries, suppliers, customers and university laboratories that are world leaders in their fields:


Long-standing partners

  • Sumitomo for the development of VAM® connections
  • Tubacex for the development of stainless steels
  • The Salzgitter Mannesmann Forschungsinstitut in Duisburg, our long-standing research partner on improving manufacturing processes. 


Client Partnerships

R&D involves a continuous process of dialogue with our customers and the Group works closely with some of them to develop solutions that meet their specific business needs.

  • Petrobras: developing solutions for the pre-salt fields off the coast of Brazil
  • Total: premium connections for difficult wells
  • Weatherford: premium connections for innovative applications
  • British Petroleum: drill pipes for horizontal drilling, tubes and connections for risers
  • Hitachi Power Europe, Alstom, Doosan: high performance steels for USC power plants (electrical energy)


University Partnerships

Finally, Vallourec undertakes basic research in partnership with several university laboratories worldwide.

  • Mines ParisTech (France)
  • RWTH Aachen University (Germany)
  • Carnegie Mellon University (United States)
  • Universidade de São Paulo (Brazil)

These R&D arrangements and the productive synergies developed with many different partners enable Vallourec to maintain its technological lead, as demonstrated by numerous examples.