Innovating to get ahead and safeguard the future

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For nearly 130 years, innovation has been a pillar of Vallourec's success. It is rooted in our DNA, and integral to the Group's strategy.

Innovation, as we conceive of it, is a key factor in improving the service we give our customers, anticipating their needs by developing an ever closer relationship with them, better understanding their current and future concerns, and enabling them to set themselves apart.

Innovation across the whole value chain 

Thanks to our agile approach to innovation, we can meet our customers' new needs more quickly. And these needs change rapidly, expanding the range of innovation opportunities. Our customers now ask us for more than tubes and connexions that can withstand complex environments. They also and above all want integrated solutions that make it easier to use Vallourec products, limit environmental impacts, and enable them to cut their operating costs. 

We rise to this challenge every day, thanks to our open ecosystem. Open to new technologies and partnerships with start-ups, manufacturers, laboratories and universities, via our open innovation challenges (link to open innovation platform), open to employees' suggestions thanks to our in-house innovation platform and, of course, keen to hear our customers express their specific needs in our "Front End Innovation" workshops. We also meet this challenge with our innovation boosters, which allow us to develop the best solutions fast, in agile mode, with measurable results. 

At Vallourec we want to enrich our range of innovative – and in many cases digital – solutions to complement our tubular solutions. For example, Vallourec.smart offers distinctive solutions that combine products and services, optimize and protect our customers' facilities, simplify the traceability of products and their journeys, and thereby cut operating costs. 

To continue to enhance customer satisfaction, Vallourec harnesses all the power of digital technology, and favors a collaborative approach. 
An essential component of the Group's transformation, innovation helps to enhance our leadership and keep it strong.
 

Innovation to break into new markets

We also see innovation as a powerful source of competitive edge, enabling us to stand out against our rivals and counter new entrants. Enriching tubular solutions by harnessing the potential of new technologies enables us to consolidate our medium-term growth in our traditional sectors, and to expand our offering to include new markets and business models.

Solutions for solar power, bespoke and on-demand 3D printed parts, and very low carbon footprint products are just a few examples of offerings that demonstrate Vallourec's expansion into new markets.

Innovation
  • €45m invested in 2018
  • 500 researchers and technicians
  • 6 6 research and skills centers around the world
  • 2 boosters
  • 10 10 partnerships with start-ups and innovative SMEs

We need to redouble our competitive edge and innovate faster using all the tools available today."

Philippe Crouzet Chairman of the Management Board
Sylvie Dubois-Decool

The aim is to anticipate and take advantage of the changes in the sector in order to offer our customers unique solutions and consolidate Vallourec's leadership position over the long term."

Sylvie Dubois Decool Innovation Director

Our "product" innovations

  • CLEANWELL®, a non-polluting coating replacing highly toxic storage and screwing lubricants.
  • New high-performance integral connections.
  • Forged parts, such as "forged crossovers", which help to cut costs.
  • The new "OrbiterTM" coating solution, used on the Humber project, the world's longest tunneled gas pipeline.
  • "VAM® LOX", a premium, large-diameter gas-tight connection, an alternative to weld-on connectors that has already been used by the leading gas operators (in Bolivia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Trinidad & Tobago among other countries).

Our "solution" innovations

Smartengo solutions:

  • Best Fit optimizes pipeline assembly and facilitates welding operations in all types of environment.
  • Running Expert embeds digital technology in a platform for faster and safer casing and production tube running operations.
  • Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, which allows us to create new parts in a matter of hours and avoid our customers having to keep large stocks.

Our "new market" innovations

  • In solar, structural solutions for solar panels in space-limited environments.
  • The roll-out of new business models underpinned by our intangible assets, such as our eucalyptus forests or our R&D capabilities.