Since the development of the first VAM threading, innovation has been one of the Group’s pillars of success and Vallourec’s teams have been tirelessly innovating in the area of threading and the metallurgy of tubes.
Today, the Oil & Gas sector is undergoing major changes driven by numerous and diverse factors: the development of non-conventional petrol and gas, climate issues, the impact of digital technology (Big Data, Internet of Things, RFID), the development of new technologies (additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence, etc.).
These drivers of change offer many opportunities and they are boosting the culture of innovation at Vallourec, where our strategy is:
Vallourec’s premium tubes and connections allow customers to safely use complex reservoirs of petrol and gas or to build high-performance power plants. Vallourec intends to continue to serve its customers’ needs in these highly technical areas, like the development of customized threadings for the pre-salt oil fields in Brazil. The Group also intends to offer further value propositions to its customers, specifically to help optimize the costs and profitability of their projects, to facilitate the use of Vallourec products and to minimize environmental impact. Vallourec’s new Cleanwell coating, which both speeds up the screwing of tubes and obviates the need for highly-polluting lubricant, is an illustration of these value-adding solutions and services that complement our premium products. The Group’s ongoing ‘digital’ projects optimize client operations on pipes while also offering improved traceability.
In order to develop these new solutions and services, Vallourec’s marketing, sales and technical teams in all regions are headed up by a network of front-end innovation experts so as to more effectively identify and reduce the sources of customer costs. They assess customers’ needs over the life of projects and propose custom solutions. The Group’s customers are directly involved in this process.Alongside these initiatives in the Group’s historical markets, Vallourec is investigating and designing solutions in new sectors in order to develop new drivers of growth.
in order to allow customers to do the same and to enable Vallourec to maintain its leadership position.
To differentiate itself, the Group draws on expertise in the area of R&D as well as solid and recognized internal process skills, which are constantly being developed. Our 500 researchers spread over 6 research centers around the world enable us to both remain at the forefront of Vallourec’s core technologies and to anticipate future needs thanks to our closeness with customers. In an environment where costs are being cut, Vallourec has maintained its R&D budgets at high levels in order to continue to develop and strengthen its expertise, in particular in technologies linked to premium products like metallurgy, corrosion, threading and non-destructive inspection.
Vallourec also benefits from win-win outside partnerships with start-ups, laboratories and companies with expertise in new technologies. In particular, the Group has launched partnerships with innovative and nimble start-ups and companies in fields such as artificial intelligence, big data, augmented reality and additive manufacturing.
These partnerships, linked with by specific training for project teams, allow new solutions to be developed more rapidly thanks to more agile project management practices.
Our quest for innovation is not confined to developing new premium products. It also focuses on creating solutions for our customers by integrating tubes and services. It involves improving manufacturing processes, not least the ability to perform full-scale testing and non-destructive monitoring measures.
Launching of the Open Innovation Challenge on September 5 2017 on intelligent pipes topic.