Research and development, a key contributor to innovation

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As a key factor of differentiation and competitiveness, research and development is a powerful asset for Vallourec. It’s what allows us to push the boundaries further than ever thought possible.

As such, we invested €45 million in 2018, enabling our 500 researchers and technicians to develop the very best technologies across our 6 research centers around the world and to form partnerships.

Our approach focuses on three key areas:

  • Quickly designing bespoke solutions with strong technological content that are perfectly reliable;
  • Maintaining our technological leadership by bringing forward technical solutions;
  • Actively participating in the continuous improvement of production processes.
In this perpetual quest for development, we’ve multiplied our capacity to act, both internally and externally, to strengthen our skills and equip ourselves with the most advanced technologies available.

First-class partnerships

To quickly develop our various innovations, we’ve chosen to partner with cutting-edge stakeholders in their respective fields and industries. We develop R&D programs across the world with manufacturers, suppliers, customers and academic labs, including:
  • Our long-standing partners:
    NSSMC working for the development of VAM® connections.
  • Our university partners:
    In Europe, the USA and Brazil, we play an active role in research, including at Mines ParisTech (France), RWTH Aachen University and BFI (Betriebsforschungsinstitut) in Düsseldorf (Germany), Carnegie Mellon (United States), and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).
  • Our start-up partners:
    Vallourec organizes lots of innovation challenges open to start-ups, accelerating the development of various projects. R&D is a vital component in selecting the most innovative start-ups and technologies. It’s at the heart of our collaboration with start-ups and other selected partners.

Innovative and disruptive design and production processes

From cloud computing to the digital assimilation of data through artificial intelligence, big data and additive manufacturing (3D printing), today, the challenge of differentiated R&D involves mastering even the most innovative and disruptive processes. The many technological solutions that exist in this area are opportunities that our researchers are working hard to integrate within our operations and make it possible to broaden the scope of R&D possibilities.

Committed researchers recognized both internally and externally

Our culture of innovation also means sharing knowledge. That’s why our researchers regularly take part in major international conferences in their various fields of expertise, both as active members of working groups and by publishing their work, as well as presenting our very latest research

The Experts program

Bringing together some 300 employees worldwide across 14 different areas of expertise, our Expert program is there to encourage vocations by valuing technical roles. This community helps our experts mutually enrich their skills, share their expertise and contribute to the Group’s wider development.

Participation in process communities

Deployed within the Group, these multi-disciplinary teams rely on sharing best practice ideas and various technologies available across our major business families, promoting fast and continuous progress in production processes. They develop indicators common to all plants and analyze the overall performance of our facilities. The internal SHALYN Industry 4.0 platform has also been introduced for managing and overseeing production processes.