Showing posts with label Design. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Design. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

American Anti-Climax

American Anti-Climax

smart - car2go 2009
My hybrid car, Toyota Prius, for last seven years is emitting nearly 50% less CO2 than average non-hybrid car. If all the cars and light vehicle achieve such reduction, it is calculated that whole of transport sector would contribute to total of 12 percent reduction of emission. Had it happened by 2012, transport sector alone would have ben able to meet Kyoto Protocol target for the developed countries i.e. 5 % reduction in their total CO2 emission as compared to 1990 emission level.
Considering that technology exists and is proven, I keep wondering why there are no strict global regulations that progressively achieve the emission-standards for the vehicles to the levels of hybrid vehicles.
CAFÉ (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards related to fuel   efficiency in transport sector of United States of America (USA) have now forged forward to do exactly that. Last year, Obama administration set these new standards –CAFÉ regulations-stipulating the average CO2 emissions for cars and light vehicles made in 2025 onwards to be half of that produced in 2010.  Auto manufacturers can achieve this either by improving fuel efficiency of engines or using less carbon intensive fuels.
These new economy rules could more than halve vehicle fuel consumption as compared to 2010 level. Coming from the nation that is described by their own past President as ‘nation addicted to gas i.e. petrol and diesel’ and whose foreign and economic policies are described by the critics to be ‘ as fluid as oil imported from exporting countries’, is now moving towards-take a breathe- total energy independence!  The very thought that notorious gas guzzlers’ nation that imports nearly 60% of its oil will soon reduce its requirement by half is utterly shocking. But it is happening. I call it American Anti-climax, normally seen at the end of the Western Cow Boy Texan movies.
Indeed, ‘new oil’ i.e. shale gas (called ‘fracking gas’) that is being extracted in huge quantities in USA has been the game changer in shifting from America’s fuel-deficit status to fuel sufficient or even fuel exporter status. But very few realize that half of the credit for this anti-climax goes to fuel efficiency and energy efficiency measures set by USA for the passenger cars. This situation is difficult to digest for many, considering that finger of global criticism for the cause of climate change is always pointed at USA.  But the nation that is mostly blamed for creating the problem in the first place has now not only found the solution to that problem, but it is set to help the world. At least it has begun that process. Europe and Japan are likely to follow soon.
Worldwide transport sector contributes up to 30 percent of all man-made emissions. Improving fuel efficiency of the engines is just one of the ways to reduce CO2 emissions and save money for the car owner. But it is not the only ‘driving’ factor for the environmental and economic solution.
Balanced-mind and non-aggressive driving can save more than 10 percent fuel, correct and optimum tire pressure can save 5%, optimum use of air-conditioning in car can save another 5 %. Road conditions, regular tuning of the engines, better tire quality are some of the other factors that can save further fuel and money.
There are critics who are worried that saving money for car owners will make owners to drive more and buy more cars thereby nullifying the benefits for environment. The past experiences in improving efficiency however do not support such ‘rebound’ effect.
At present people in India and China are  ‘bound’ by the addiction of the better-looking car, fast-cooling car ACs, and quick and aggressive accelerating speeds by dodging pot-holes dotted on the roads. Fuel efficiency policies are left far behind that of USA in this drive, even though the big cities are getting affected by the pollution-laden fog which disrupts the normal life in cities like Beijing and New Delhi.
It is time to press accelerator for speeding towards super fuel-efficient vehicles and fill in the potholes of administrative delay. There will be win-win-win situation. Benefit to economy for consumers and for the country, protecting environment-not only climate change but also air-pollution, and improving energy security.   END
By Rajendra Shende, Chairman TERRE, former Director UNEP.
Shared with Sustain2Green by Rajendra Shende.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Trelleborg’s syntactic foam does the job for Ocean explorer


Ocean explorer

Scott Cassell and his Great White submersible are going to great depths to stop ocean devastation.

Scott Cassell, undersea explorer, CEO and founder of the Undersea Voyager Project, spends most of his workday underwater. He stopped logging his underwater time when he reached 13,000 hours in 2007. “Frankly, I feel I am just getting started and cannot spend enough time underwater,” he says.
Cassell has dedicated his life to saving the ocean, working with scientists and researchers in an often-lonely battle to protect the sea. “If the seas fail, all of humankind goes extinct,” he warns. “Thousands of scientists around the world are screaming warning signs, and few care enough to listen to them.” 
There’s urgency to his mission, which is being addressed through the Undersea Voyager Project. The nonprofit project stems from a lifetime fascination with the sea. “Underwater, I have seen how spectacular life really is, and it’s worth saving just for the splendorous beauty it holds – much less the actual life-support system it harbors for our species,” he says.
Cassell spends much of his time in the Great White, a submersible that he recently rebuilt and outfitted with Trelleborg’s syntactic foam. This foam, the industry leader in strength-to-weight ratio, is designed to withstand depths of up to 11,000 feet under tremendous pressure. Since it weighs less than other foam, it can also carry a bigger payload, a real advantage in cramped quarters.

“Trelleborg’s syntactic foam is the holy grail for subsea applications because it is strong yet light,” says Bob Kelly, Vice President of Trelleborg Offshore & Construction in Boston, U.S. “It provides buoyancy at great depths and has very low water uptake, so it’s long-lasting as well.” Trelleborg’s foam typically lasts more than 20 years in sea environments. 
Cassell welcomed the support Trelleborg gave him regarding the Great White, which has a depth limit of 500 fsw (feet of salt water). “I received engineering and kind guidance from Trelleborg,” he says. “I was educated on what the best foam was for our application and how much we would need.” 
Cassell explains that a real benefit with Trelleborg’s syntactic foam is its machinability, shock resistance and strength-to-weight ratio. “We are a small operation, using a small submersible doing a huge job, often on TV,” he says. “Reliability and durability are paramount.”
The energetic explorer and his Great White are rarely stationary. This year alone his project will be going to Asia, the U.S. (the coast of California and Lake Tahoe), Britain’s Channel Islands and the Mexican Yucatan, to perform studies.
Cassell has a long list of memorable sea moments, from riding on the back of a 3,500-pound great white shark off Guadeloupe Island, seeing hundreds of man-sized Humboldt squid and being pushed out of the water by the nose of a gray whale to being surrounded by dolphins, sardines, bronze whaler sharks and 20 gannets while a Bryde’s whale lunge-fed just a few feet away from him.
“Holding a baby octopus no larger than a pea in the palm of my hand as she walked around looking for food between my fingers was pretty memorable too,” he adds. “Sometimes the greatest gifts are the smallest.”
There have been plenty of dangers too, including facing angry poachers and having near-fatal mechanical problems at sea, but he brushes those away, pointing to the daily risks that many people face just getting into their cars. 
The Undersea Voyager Project moves on, and Trelleborg is happy to contribute to it, says Bob Kelly. “We believe in what they are doing and support projects to preserve the environment,” he says. “Personally, I like the way Scott works with the scientific community and how they will be sharing the information to make the world a better place.” 

Trelleborg’s syntactic foam
Trelleborg provides buoyancy and insulation solutions primarily for the offshore oil and gas, marine and offshore fabrication markets. It is the supplier of choice for foam buoyancy systems suitable for subsea operations up to full ocean depth. 
In addition to providing material for the Undersea Voyager Project, Trelleborg’s syntactic foam has been used in other scientific ocean projects, such as the Alvin submersible, used to explore the wreck of the Titanic. 
“They don’t build tons of these vehicles, but when they do, they come to us for the performance of the syntactic foam in submersible applications,” says Trelleborg’s Bob Kelly, pointing out syntactic foam’s safety features. “We’re talking about people’s lives, and you can’t put a price on that.”

Great White submersible
Operating depth: 500 feet
Weight: 3,000 pounds
Length: 14’ 2”
The Great White submersible is “a highly upgraded” Kittredge K-250 personal submarine. “The only thing left from the original design is the pressure hull,” says underwater explorer Scott Cassell. The Great White’s mission is to perform oceanic exploration and research by private citizens and teenagers while being overseen by scientists. All findings from this nonprofit organization are made public. “We love our Youth Ambassador Program in which we select 16 kids each year to learn how to become a submersible pilot,” says Cassell. 
The teens go through intensive training before putting on the orange flight suit of a sub pilot. Afterward, they must give three talks a year to other young people about their experiences. “In my humble opinion, this mission makes the sub a very magical machine,” Cassell says.

For more information 
please contact news@trelleborg.com 

Shared with Sustain2Green by email.

Prius hybrid was the bestselling vehicle in California for the second year in 2013. Model S from Tesla was placed third among the luxury cars.

Prius hybrid was the bestselling vehicle in California for the second year in 2013. Model S from Tesla was placed third among the luxury cars. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Volvo Trucks boosts safety on slippery winter roads


Volvo Trucks boosts safety on slippery winter roads

For trucks with trailers, slippery winter roads and downhill gradients represent a tough challenge for even the most skilled of drivers. There is always the risk of the rig becoming unstable and, in the worst-case scenario, starting to jack-knife. Volvo Trucks has now developed a solution that significantly improves safety.

“Even if the truck driver ultimately manages to control the situation, it can be extremely unpleasant both for oncoming road users and the truck driver, if a rig suddenly veers off its intended course on a downhill gradient,” says Mats Sabelström, brake specialist for the Volvo Trucks brand.

In order to minimise the risk of this type of situation and potential accidents, Volvo Trucks has developed a system known as Stretch Brake that automatically retards the trailer and straightens up the rig on slippery downhill stretches. 
“About 15 percent of the total of 30,000 serious road accidents in Europe every year involve trucks, in a slightly declining trend1. With effective brakes, stability systems and collision warning systems we are already helping drivers avoid risky situations in difficult conditions. Stretch Brake is yet another important part of our long-term drive to increase traffic safety and minimise the number of accidents involving trucks,” says Carl Johan Almqvist, Traffic and Product Safety Director for the Volvo Trucks brand.

Stretch Brake is a complement to the rig’s electronic stability program (ESP) – yet another system that Volvo Trucks was the first truck maker in the world to introduce. While ESP is at its most effective at higher speeds, Stretch Brake is only operational at speeds below 40 km/h. Both systems contribute to better stability and easier steering. 
“One might call Stretch Brake a kind of low-speed ESP. As the rig approaches a downhill slope, the driver manually activates the system. When the driver then releases the accelerator, the brakes on the trailer are automatically applied in a pulsated mode all the way down the hill until the gradient levels out and speed can once again be increased,” relates Mats Sabelström.

Stretch Brake was introduced in 2012 on Volvo FH trucks pulling drawbar trailers and in 2013 on Volvo FM trucks pulling drawbar trailers. In 2014 it will also become available for Volvo FH and FM semi-trailer rigs.
“Drivers who have tested Stretch Brake came away very impressed with the system. As we now also introduce the system on tractor-semitrailer rigs even more drivers will be able to negotiate difficult downhill gradients both more simply and safely,” says Carl Johan Almqvist. 

According to the Volvo Trucks Accident Research Team, which specialises in studying traffic safety, about 60 or so of the truck accidents that occurred in Sweden alone last year could have been avoided with Stretch Brake2. 

Stretch Brake Facts
• Increases safety on downhill gradients, especially on slippery roads and in curves.
• Applies the drawbar brakes in a pulsating mode.
• Straightens the rig, makes steering easier and reduces the risk of jack-knifing.
• Operational at speeds below 40 km/h.
• Introduced in 2012 on Volvo FH trucks and in 2013 on Volvo FM trucks. In 2014 it will also become available on tractor/semi-trailer rigs.

[529 words]

See Youtube-film about the Stretch Brake:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNwJ7Acs_3Y

1 Source: CARE 2011, CARE is the European centralized database on road accidents which result in death or injury across the EU.
2 Source: STRADA 2012, STRADA is a national (Swedish) information system collecting data of injuries and accidents in the entire road transport system. STRADA is based on information from the police as well as the hospitals. 
For further information, please contact: 
Ida Mattsson, Volvo Trucks Media Relations, Phone: +46 31 323 63 42, e-mail: ida.mattsson@volvo.com

For broadcast-quality videos supporting this press release and more, please visit http://www.thenewsmarket.com/volvotrucks
Press images and films are available in the Volvo Trucks image and film gallery at http://images.volvotrucks.com

Volvo Trucks provides complete transport solutions for professional and demanding customers, offering a full range of medium to heavy duty trucks. Customer support is secured via a global network of 2,300 dealers and workshops in more than 140 countries. Volvo trucks are assembled in 16 countries across the globe. In 2012 more than 105,000 Volvo trucks were delivered worldwide. Volvo Trucks is part of the Volvo Group, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trucks, buses and construction equipment, and drive systems for marine and industrial applications. The Group also provides solutions for financing and service. Volvo’s work is based on the core values quality, safety and environmental care.Volvo Trucks boosts safety on slippery winter roads


For trucks with trailers, slippery winter roads and downhill gradients represent a tough challenge for even the most skilled of drivers. There is always the risk of the rig becoming unstable and, in the worst-case scenario, starting to jack-knife. Volvo Trucks has now developed a solution that significantly improves safety.

“Even if the truck driver ultimately manages to control the situation, it can be extremely unpleasant both for oncoming road users and the truck driver, if a rig suddenly veers off its intended course on a downhill gradient,” says Mats Sabelström, brake specialist for the Volvo Trucks brand.

In order to minimise the risk of this type of situation and potential accidents, Volvo Trucks has developed a system known as Stretch Brake that automatically retards the trailer and straightens up the rig on slippery downhill stretches. 
“About 15 percent of the total of 30,000 serious road accidents in Europe every year involve trucks, in a slightly declining trend1. With effective brakes, stability systems and collision warning systems we are already helping drivers avoid risky situations in difficult conditions. Stretch Brake is yet another important part of our long-term drive to increase traffic safety and minimise the number of accidents involving trucks,” says Carl Johan Almqvist, Traffic and Product Safety Director for the Volvo Trucks brand.

Stretch Brake is a complement to the rig’s electronic stability program (ESP) – yet another system that Volvo Trucks was the first truck maker in the world to introduce. While ESP is at its most effective at higher speeds, Stretch Brake is only operational at speeds below 40 km/h. Both systems contribute to better stability and easier steering. 
“One might call Stretch Brake a kind of low-speed ESP. As the rig approaches a downhill slope, the driver manually activates the system. When the driver then releases the accelerator, the brakes on the trailer are automatically applied in a pulsated mode all the way down the hill until the gradient levels out and speed can once again be increased,” relates Mats Sabelström.

Stretch Brake was introduced in 2012 on Volvo FH trucks pulling drawbar trailers and in 2013 on Volvo FM trucks pulling drawbar trailers. In 2014 it will also become available for Volvo FH and FM semi-trailer rigs.
“Drivers who have tested Stretch Brake came away very impressed with the system. As we now also introduce the system on tractor-semitrailer rigs even more drivers will be able to negotiate difficult downhill gradients both more simply and safely,” says Carl Johan Almqvist. 

According to the Volvo Trucks Accident Research Team, which specialises in studying traffic safety, about 60 or so of the truck accidents that occurred in Sweden alone last year could have been avoided with Stretch Brake2. 

Stretch Brake Facts
• Increases safety on downhill gradients, especially on slippery roads and in curves.
• Applies the drawbar brakes in a pulsating mode.
• Straightens the rig, makes steering easier and reduces the risk of jack-knifing.
• Operational at speeds below 40 km/h.
• Introduced in 2012 on Volvo FH trucks and in 2013 on Volvo FM trucks. In 2014 it will also become available on tractor/semi-trailer rigs.

See Youtube-film about the Stretch Brake:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNwJ7Acs_3Y

1 Source: CARE 2011, CARE is the European centralized database on road accidents which result in death or injury across the EU.
2 Source: STRADA 2012, STRADA is a national (Swedish) information system collecting data of injuries and accidents in the entire road transport system. STRADA is based on information from the police as well as the hospitals. 
For further information, please contact: 
Ida Mattsson, Volvo Trucks Media Relations, Phone: +46 31 323 63 42, e-mail: ida.mattsson@volvo.com

For broadcast-quality videos supporting this press release and more, please visit http://www.thenewsmarket.com/volvotrucks
Press images and films are available in the Volvo Trucks image and film gallery at http://images.volvotrucks.com

Volvo Trucks provides complete transport solutions for professional and demanding customers, offering a full range of medium to heavy duty trucks. Customer support is secured via a global network of 2,300 dealers and workshops in more than 140 countries. Volvo trucks are assembled in 16 countries across the globe. In 2012 more than 105,000 Volvo trucks were delivered worldwide. Volvo Trucks is part of the Volvo Group, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trucks, buses and construction equipment, and drive systems for marine and industrial applications. The Group also provides solutions for financing and service. Volvo’s work is based on the core values quality, safety and environmental care. 

Shared with sustain2Green by email

Monday, February 10, 2014

India is trying to experiment solar power for running irrigation pumps.SunEdison Inc., Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd. , Claro Energy Pvt., are being supported by various investors like BlackRock and Standard Chartered Plc.

India is trying to experiment solar power for running irrigation pumps. This will help India to save on fossil fuels as the country spends about $6 billion every year in power and diesel subsidies. SunEdison Inc.,  Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd. , Claro Energy Pvt., are being supported by various investors like BlackRock and Standard Chartered Plc.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Vestas V-164 is the world’s biggest wind turbine which can produce about 8 MW of energy. The wind turbine has been installed at a height of 220 meters and each blade has a length of 80 meters.

Vestas V-164 is the world’s biggest wind turbine which can produce about 8 MW of energy. The wind turbine has been installed at a height of 220 meters and each blade has a length of 80 meters. It is said that bigger the wind turbine the lower is the maintenance cost.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The first Porsche is an electric car which was made in 1898 by Ferdinand Porsche. The car was found in an Austrian garage. The model is known as P1 or C.2 Phaeton model.

The first Porsche is an electric car which was made in 1898. The car was found in an Austrian garage. The model is known as P1 or C.2 Phaeton model. The car was designed by Ferdinand Porsche.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Product Sustainability Conference : Thursday 28 November 2013, London

Product Sustainability Conference

Venue: Etc. Venues Victoria, 1 Drummond Gate, London, SW1V 2QW

Thursday 28 November 2013, London
Shop
Join us in London on Thursday 28 November 2013 and get a valuable insight into the latest developments and trends in sustainable production and consumption.

An extension of BSI’s annual carbon and environmental footprinting conference, our 2013 event will explore the wider topic of Product Sustainability and focus on sustainable product/supply chain innovation.

In three interactive sessions, renowned industry experts will share their views on:
  • Greenhouse gas management and mitigation at the product level: The on-going response to the challenge of climate change
  • Beyond carbon and toward product sustainability: The wider environmental impact
  • Trends and future aspects of product sustainability - Climate resilience and adaptation measures at the product level, responsible sourcing, waste prevention and the ' circular economy'.
We are excited to announce this year’s line-up, which so far includes speakers from BT, Marks & Spencer, Boots, Environment Agency and the European Commission.

Shared with Sustain2Green by bsi.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Monday, October 7, 2013

Ford Model T celebrating 100 years

Ford Model T is an example for disruptive innovation. It was for the first time that mass production of cars made it affordable for lot of people to own one. They could travel longer distances and faster. This gave them the ability to choose where they wanted to live and where they wanted to work. The assembly line manufacturing revolutionized the work. It brought work to man instead of man moving to the place of work. It has evolved into the flexible manufacturing systems. Ford also started raising the wages of the workers and hence the same workers also became the customer of Ford.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

In Germany, emergency lights on police cars need to operate in difficult conditions – driving rain, heavy snow and the high speeds of the Autobahn, a highway system much of which has no speed limit at all


Tough enough for the Autobahn

In Germany, emergency lights on police cars need to operate in difficult conditions – driving rain, heavy snow and the high speeds of the Autobahn, a highway system much of which has no speed limit at all.

When the german company Hänsch Group began developing its new DBS 4000 LED lightbar for police, fire and rescue vehicles, the company’s engineers needed seals they could trust. Three years ago, Trelleborg designers sat down with Hänsch engineers to develop a gasket that could withstand the conditions.
“The automotive sector is really very special,” says Markus Keller, Export Manager for the Hänsch Group, based in Herzlake in northwest Germany. “If you’re driving 200 kilometers per hour on the Autobahn, the seal still has to hold, even in the rain, which finds every little crack. It was a big challenge.”
But it wasn’t the only challenge. At the same time, Hänsch was looking to improve fuel economy by designing the DBS 4000 with an aerodynamic aluminum housing that reduces air resistance. “We needed our gaskets to use the least material possible, to reduce weight and save fuel, while also being weatherproof and UV resistant,” says Mike Kallaway, Business Unit President for sealing profiles in Trelleborg Industrial Solutions. 
Noise was another factor. “On the Autobahn, high pressure from the wind can make the car very noisy,” says Mike Kallaway. “Our gasket was designed to keep noise under control.”
Manufacturing proximity made a difference, too. “One big plus for Trelleborg was that its factory is very close to ours,” says Hänsch’s Keller, explaining that Trelleborg’s facility in Lathen is only about 25 kilometers from Hänsch’s plant in Herzlake. He says Hänsch was lucky because Trelleborg worked with the material they were looking for, a durable EPDM synthetic rubber.
The first DBS 4000 lightbars came out in 2010, and the series has been highly successful, Keller says. “The functioning of seals is always a big issue with lightbars, and these are working very well.” 

Sealing the Deal
Whether on Audi TT sports cars or Istanbul’s Trump Tower, Trelleborg gaskets keep out the elements year after year. Trelleborg’s sealing profiles are ranked No. 1 in Europe. Trelleborg produces sealing profiles in facilities in the U.S., Sweden, Germany, Poland and Lithuania. The products produced include custom-designed gaskets to fit windows, doors, vehicles, solar panels and other products that need a tight seal.

Hänsch to the rescue
The Hänsch Group (officially Firmengruppe Hänsch Holding GmbH) makes warning systems for police, fire and rescue vehicles; designing lights and sirens that save lives. The group has four business divisions: warning systems, engineering, signal technology and automotive. While Germany remains its primary market, Hänsch is now expanding its sales into the rest of Europe.

For more information
news@trelleborg.com 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Promise, Challenges and the Road Ahead for Online Grocery Retail

The Promise, Challenges and the Road Ahead for Online Grocery Retail

By Vinay Mohan Sharma, Product Director ( Retail )

The Promise
The rapidly growing broadband penetration and its fast adoption among the consumers has led to products and services being offered online which were considered the domain of traditional businesses, like groceries.
As per the report ‘2013 Future of Retailing’, e-commerce food and consumable sales will grow at 12% a year for the next 5 years- from 2013 till 2017. For traditional supermarkets, the market share is expected to decline from 39.8% in 2012 to 36.5% in 2017.
Some of the reasons why increasing number of consumers are buying online are similar to that of any other product which is offered online: better prices, broad selection, convenience and time savings.
Retail Online Survey -2009
And the Challenges
Despite its appeal, the market penetration of online grocery retail is still low. The country where it is the highest is the UK where the online grocery sales are 4.5% of total grocery sales (as per IDC report 2013). Market penetration figures are lowest in the US. According to a report by Forrester, less than 10% of online adults have purchased groceries online and only 16% of online grocery buyers purchase groceries online more than once a month.
The biggest challenges for e-grocers are in order fulfillment and home delivery. Retailers have come up with various strategies to address these challenges.
Order Picking:
  1. Pick from Store: This is a good alternative if fast turnover with low investment is needed. Also, leveraging existing assets lets the new entrants to test waters. But order picking in this format is inefficient as compared to having a facility with aisles planned for quickest picking. It is seen that over the weekends when the stores are crowded, the efficiency to fulfill the online orders falls. This is not a viable option while dealing with significant volume without affecting the quality of service offered to the in-store customers.
  2. Pick from dark store: To overcome the loss of picking efficiency over weekends and in general to avoid the competition between regular shoppers and pickers in busy stores, some retailers (especially Tesco) have created ‘online stores’ or also called dark stores. These stores are not for the usual customers but only for the online order pickers. So, rather than picking from the nearest store, the orders are picked from the ‘online only’ stores.
  3. The mega warehouse: A fully automated warehouse with different temperature zones(as high as 12 in case of FreshDirect) offers the most efficient picking. But it has high capital costs (these warehouses are very expensive to build) which leads to high breakeven point for sales.
Order Delivery:
  1. Deliver to Home: From shoppers point of view this is one of the most convenient delivery options. The challenge here is to assign and meet delivery time windows. As new orders arrive and some orders are cancelled, this requires dynamically assigning delivery time windows and dynamically creating and adjusting delivery routes. This is further complicated by high demand for certain time windows, traffic and short delivery windows.
  2. Drive through click and collect: The shopper can collect his order at a time that suits him instead of waiting for the time window provided in case of home delivery. Tesco and Asda have started offering this facility to its customers. Sainsbury’s is not convinced that this service applies to their business model. They have small stores 9comapred to Tesco and Asda) and are located at easily accessible places. Usually click and collect model is for stores that are very big and are not easily accessible. For top-up grocery shopping, customers will not want to drive far to pick up their orders.
  3. In store Click and Collect: In this model, a customer would place the order online, then instead of waiting for it to be delivered, would just go to the nearest store (after checking the stock online) and pick up the order.
The Road Ahead
Even though online grocery is growing at a faster pace than that overall industry average, the consumer adoption to buy groceries online is still low. AT Kearney research shows that 73% of food consumers said they are happy with shopping in stores and not seeing the added value of buying food online.
That said, it is upto the retailers to educate the consumers about the benefits of buying online. This graphic from Tesco.com shows their value proposition to their customers.
Tesco.com_Click_and_Collect
Sainsbury’s, a UK Grocery retailer says that no doubt online model has extra costs (because of picking and delivery), but an average online order makes up for that. An average online order is around GBP100, which is much larger than average in-store. In words of Justin King, CEO of Sainsbusry’s, “An in-store customer that becomes an online shopper, or an online shopper that becomes an in-store shopper in total ends up spending more than they would have done in isolation. And that’s why it’s a profitable addition to any business that has multiple touch-points with customers”

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Automotive industry is continuously demanding more economical solutions from its suppliers

Uniquely Layered For Better Economy

The automotive industry is continuously demanding more economical solutions from its suppliers. Some respond by just cutting costs and prices, but Trelleborg’s approach is very different, instead focusing on innovative solutions.

The Rubore technology is unique. It offers an advanced technique to create a two-to-five layer, rubber-metal sandwich, which has already become world leading in brake shim applications for the automotive industry. The potential benefits of the process have led Trelleborg Sealing Solutions to successfully expand Rubore applications to the world of sealing in general.
Every Rubore seal will be customized to the individual project in order to achieve the optimum solution for the application. By combining unique composite material with specialized designs and engineering expertise, Trelleborg is able to create a number of advantages for the customer.
“The unique vulcanization process used for Rubore seals leads to seal designs which fill even the smallest of holes on the metal substrate or counter surface, compensating for any surface roughness,” says Björn Scherbaum, Teamleader for Rubore Seals at Trelleborg.
This eliminates the need for surface finishing and post-treatment that can drive costs up and add extra stages to production for customers. The lean manufacturing process leads to overall cost benefits and greatly reduces weight of the product, while still maintaining dimensional stability allowing for the creation of complex and intricate geometries in the seal profile. “This permits new designs for groove areas, saving weight on steel and cast parts in particular,” continues Scherbaum.
The stiffness of Rubore products also contributes to a reduction of handling costs. “They are easier to assemble than their alternatives, saving time and reducing logistic requirements. Unlike other products available on the market for similar applications, automated sealing can be achieved, including full robotic assembly, a process which is nearly impossible and costly to use with normal elastomeric seals,” says Scherbaum. “This also adds the benefit of removing human error that can potentially create gaps through misalignment, resulting in unwanted leakage.”
One example of where a Rubore component has already yielded significant benefits is on the seal for a car’s electronic control unit (ECU).
By 2015, it is expected that controls on cars will have shifted to 40 percent electronic and 60 percent mechanical. This makes it all the more critical to achieve a secure seal on the ECU, especially as a failure could result in a serious safety issue. The room available within an engine compartment or vehicle interior is limited, meaning that complex designs which fit space requirements are essential. In a harsh environment, like the engine compartment, the ECU cover is constructed from metal and sealing would have previously been done using a molded gasket, manually inserted into the groove.
Trelleborg realized that the sealing technology to achieve the optimum solution lay within their innovative Rubore technology. A Rubore Cover Seal integrates the seal and ECU cover in a single integrated unit meaning costly manual installation is no longer needed. This results in a perfect solution at a reduced cost. Moreover, integrating the ECU cover and the seal in the Rubore Cover Seal reduces the number of parts, minimizing logistics, assembly and administration costs. 

Heroes and fairies
To promote the unique Rubore process Trelleborg has employed some animated characters, a hero and a fairy, that enable the advantages of this technology to be easily understood in a fun way. To view the Rubore animated movie, go to www.rubore-seals.com.

Uniquely manufactured
The Rubore® process involves two steps. First a resin coating is applied to metal carriers and the rubber is calendered. This is then followed by vulcanization of rubber to the metal, resulting in excellent bonding. The coating process and combination of raw materials with primers/bonding agents is one of the core competencies of Trelleborg’s manufacturing facility in Kalmar, Sweden, where the products are manufactured.

For more information
news@trelleborg.com 

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Housing a collection of fragile historical artifacts next to a busy railroad track calls for special protective measures and vibrations must be kept to an absolute minimum.


The SECRET is in the FOUNDATION

Housing a collection of fragile historical artifacts next to a busy railroad track calls for special protective measures and vibrations must be kept to an absolute minimum. The same technology that is used to protect buildings from heavy earthquakes is used to achieve this.

In the city of Amersfoort in the center of Holland, an outstanding new public building serves as the headquarters of the Dutch Government Service for Archaeology, Cultural Landscape and Monuments (RACM).
The building is a showcase of innovation and sustainability, but its technology goes beyond what most visitors see. One of the building’s groundbreaking features is its vibration isolation technology – in the form of 650 rubber vibration isolation bearings located in the garage beneath the building, in the walls of the basement and on top of its many columns. The result is that the entire building is mounted on shock absorbers, a practice that is fairly common in the world’s earthquake-prone regions but not in the Netherlands. 
“It is rare indeed for Dutch buildings to be constructed on vibration bearings,” says Marcel de Vos, Manager Engineering at Trelleborg Offshore & Construction’s Ridderkerk facility, which made and supplied the vibration isolation bearings. “But since the RACM building is situated right next to one of the busiest railroad connections in Holland, this was considered very desirable. Damping the railroad vibrations not only makes for a comfortable working environment, but it also protects the many priceless and very fragile artifacts in the building.”
Although rubber-mounted buildings are rare in the Netherlands, suppliers of rubber bearings are not, as the same technology is used for bridges and tunnels. A vibration isolation bearing looks deceptively simple: a block made of rubber layers separated by steel shim plates. After the rubber compound and steel grade have been selected, the other main variables to consider are the size and the number of blocks. This is where Trelleborg’s technical and manufacturing expertise comes in, as vibrations are extremely complex mathematically. Engineers must take into account not only the kind of vibrations (frequency, magnitude and duration) but also the weight of the building at various points. This calls for a number of different bearings under the same building.
“This was an extraordinary job both in scale and in complexity,” de Vos says. “The bearings’ performance requirements were extremely tight, to the extent that other companies proposing solutions admitted they could not comply.” Whereas a natural frequency of 8 to 10 Hertz (oscillations per second) for isolation systems is common in the industry, this project called for less than 4.5 Hertz. Most insiders considered this impossible, but after many engineering calculations, Trelleborg delivered an unprecedented 4.3 Hertz.
The treasures of the RACM building, many of them thousands of years old, are now as safe as possible, and intercity trains can pass by without disturbing them. 

Architectural art
In Amersfoort, a quickly growing city with a well-preserved and protected medieval centre, the RACM building rises as a futuristic, slightly leaning piece of architectural art. The building, created by Madrid-based architect and artist Juan Navarro Baldeweg, houses the Dutch National Service for Archaeology, Cultural Landscape and Built Heritage as well as a library, museum, auditorium, art library and exhibition space. In front of the RACM building is a beautiful pond; a sharp contrast to the busy railway behind the building. 

How it works: The natural rubber bearings are placed between the ground and the structure to be protected. The bearings are flexible, thus greatly reducing the transmission of vibration from any disturbances to the structure. The bearings do not absorb the energy of the vibrations from the ground, but prevent energy transfer by mismatching the frequencies between the ground borne vibration and the structure. 

For more information
news@trelleborg.com 

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

TIRES FOR HEAVY LIFTERS


TIRES FOR HEAVY LIFTERS

A focus on excellence and innovation helped Interfit become the U.K.’s leading forklift tire and wheel service provider. Now the company is setting its sights on expanding its service-driven offering throughout Europe – and beyond.

In the U.K., tire and wheel service provider Interfit puts innovation at the top of its agenda. “Innovation is a key part of our brand,” says Paul Morey of Interfit. “In the service world we can’t assume that how we do things today will be enough to service our customers tomorrow. Our biggest investments have been in technology, processes and systems, and we strive to provide solutions to our customers ahead of them actually requesting us to do so. It keeps us ahead of our competitors.”
Interfit’s service system, i-Fit, makes it possible to track product performance for each forklift truck on which it has fitted tires. It tells customers which is the best tire for them for a particular truck on a particular site. A new Web portal will allow customers to order tires, schedule a replacement fitting and assess tire performance online. This is unique in the industry and is expected to bring efficiency benefits for customers and for Interfit. 
Interfit became part of Trelleborg when the Watts Tyre Group was acquired in 2011. Its customers are the global forklift truck manufacturers, and Interfit acts as their third-party fitting service. 
Innovation at Interfit also extends to its processes. The company is trialing tablet PCs for its network of mobile tire fitters, enabling them to receive work and complete jobs without relying on paper and depots. “We spend more time on the road between visits than we do actually fitting tires, so focusing on route planning and scheduling is key to internal efficiency improvements,” says Morey.
Environmental considerations are an important part of company operations. “By fitting the right tire for the application we assist in maximizing the fuel economy of the forklift truck,” says Morey. “We are working closely with our Trelleborg R&D colleagues to share our experiences and data of tire performance in the aftermarket. This will allow us to develop the next generation of tires focused on tire life, fuel efficiency and reuse of materials.” 
Headquartered in the U.K., Interfit also has operations in France and Germany and recently acquired a service and distribution company in the Netherlands. “Our core customer base, the global leading forklift truck manufacturers, are becoming increasingly international in outlook, and we need to respond to that,” says Morey. “We are looking to take Interfit outside of its existing borders through a mixture of organic and inorganic growth strategies, including franchising, in order to meet that requirement. There are many countries, both within Europe and further afield, where franchising presents us with exciting growth potential.”
Morey says that a significant result of joining a world leading industrial tire manufacturer with an ambitious aftermarket service provider is to move Trelleborg up the value chain and closer to the end user. “We have already seen the benefits this brings,” he says, “and we now have very exciting opportunities to grow the business together.” 

Rolling into a new market 
In late 2012, Trelleborg aquired Maine Industrial Tire, a leading U.S.-based producer of large solid and semi-solid tires. This acquisition makes Trelleborg able to satisfy both the requirements from existing OEM customers and new market segments such as construction, underground mining and waste management, all of which use large solid off-the-road tires.
For more information
news@trelleborg.com 

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Friday, September 20, 2013

The unstoppable growth of the world’s cities creates opportunities and challenges for the construction industry


Urban innovations

The unstoppable growth of the world’s cities creates opportunities and challenges for the construction industry.

The urbanization of the planet is continuing at a breakneck pace. The population of the developing world’s cities grows by 5 million each month, and by 2050 it’s predicted that more than 70 percent of the world’s population will be city dwellers. Beyond the social and environmental implications, this trend is creating opportunities and challenges for the companies that build the roads, construct the high-rises and dig the subways of these booming metropolises. 
“In the world’s growing cities you see wonderful architecture and structural engineering,” says Paul Gogulski, a U.S.-based international construction consultant. “They are pushing the limits, with innovative designs and use of materials. But 50-story buildings are going up in China in just 12 weeks, and the windows leak and the elevators don’t work. They will be slums in a decade. These are interesting times for the industry.”
Traffic congestion is a major issue in most cities, and the situation will only worsen as cities grow. “The challenge is to move a lot of people in a congested space,” says Bruce Cage, Managing Director for engineered products in Trelleborg Offshore & Construction, Australia. “With growing urbanization we are going to see more medium- and light-rail systems built in Asia and Australia. We are already seeing an expansion of the rail systems in Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong.” 
In Australia the number of urban light-rail projects has gone from zero to five in just a few years. Recently Trelleborg won the contract to supply rail support systems for the Gold Coast light-rail system. “One of the issues in urban light rail is noise, and we provide noise-attenuating solutions,” says Cage. 
When it comes to the construction equipment that does the heavy work of building cities, the market has largely stagnated in Europe and the U.S. But manufacturers of this equipment are establishing production in India and China, where urban populations are forecast to grow by 497 million and 341 million respectively by 2050.
“India and China have seen a slowdown, although from high levels, but there is still a positive trend in construction,” says Don Farbotnik, Global Market Manager for antivibration for specialist vehicles at Trelleborg Industrial Solutions. Trelleborg supplies a large amount of products, from seals to cab mounts for the off-highway construction market. “They are building a lot of urban infrastructure there, and the big construction equipment manufacturers have turned up.” 

Britain’s JCB and Sweden’s Volvo have established themselves in India, as has Trelleborg, which recently opened a new facility in Bengaluru to serve these original equipment manufacturers and others in the Indian market. 
“The future really does look good for the construction market,” says Farbotnik. “People are cautious right now, especially in Europe, but you can only hold back development for so long. The projects for roads, buildings and bridges that have been delayed will need to be done sometime, and we are well positioned with our product line and our customer base to take advantage when the time comes.”
Rising seawater levels and more frequent and more powerful storms are creating a new set of challenges for coastal cities – challenges that could be addressed by massive construction projects. To protect against the vast destruction wreaked by “Superstorm” Sandy, some experts are proposing a sea barrier for New York harbor. 
“This will definitely be an interesting business area because many cities are at risk,” says Ruud Bokhout, Sales and Marketing Director for infrastructure at Trelleborg Offshore & Construction. “There are no standard solutions for these projects, so they will require the engineering competence and knowledge about rubber and its behaviour that we can provide.”
Gogulski says that although tough times lie ahead for the construction sector as a whole, some companies will thrive. “Companies that innovate can still be very successful,” he says. “And while countries’ economies fluctuate, international companies will be able to handle that, while many smaller firms won’t.” 

Omnipresent solutions 
Trelleborg supplies products and solutions for almost every part of the city and beyond; from subways and tunnels to bridges and facades. Here are a few examples. To learn more, please visit www.trelleborg.com.
What: Rail systems, above and below ground Solutions: Trelleborg supplies rail support systems, mountings, bearings, control links, drive couplings for all types of rail systems.
What: Building 
Solutions: Structural anti-vibration bearings, engineered from laminates of rubber with steel reinforcement, prevent seismic vibration and provide acoustic isolation.
What: Construction site Solutions: Trelleborg is a leading supplier of seals, antivibration systems and tires for material handling vehicles.
What: Bridge 
Solutions: Bridge expansion joints for viaducts and bridges absorb movement caused by high traffic volumes, high winds and temperature variations.
What: Sea barrier Solutions: Knowledge about rubber and its behavior will be vital in creating barriers to protect coastal cities from rising seawater levels and storms.

Play ball!
The Singapore Sports Hub in Kallang, due to open in April 2014, is a 5,000-capacity 
national stadium with a retractable roof. The roof’s installation time is reduced by using an extruded gasket solution supplied by Trelleborg Industrial Solutions. Also, fewer workers are required at roof-level, improving safety. Says Mark Gelok, Project Manager at Trelleborg’s customer, CPI: “Trelleborg has the design, support and ability to 
produce the required gaskets. While it is always hard to work with people on the other side of the globe due to differences in time zones, the contribution thus far has helped develop what we believe will be the best product for the job.”

Sealing dry
Renewed focus on infrastructure projects in the U.S. is presenting new opportunities for engineers, contractors and suppliers. At a major tunnel under a river in Virginia, Trelleborg seals and gaskets are helping to keep the water out.

“We’re seeing an increase in infrastructure investments in the U.S.,” says André de Graaf, a sales manager for infrastructure at Trelleborg Offshore & Construction in the Netherlands. “For the past 20 years there was minimal interest from the U.S. government in infrastructure investments, but with President Barack Obama, there’s been a lot of attention on them.” 
In the state of Virginia, the city of Portsmouth sits across the Elizabeth River from Norfolk, the site of the largest U.S. Navy installation. The two cities are connected by the heavily traveled Midtown Tunnel, which carries a million vehicles per month – seven times as many as when it was built 50 years ago. An emergency defense alert could cause gridlock as federal workers scrambled to reach the navy base, according to Craig Quigley, Executive Director of the Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance.
To avoid this scenario, a new tunnel is now under construction next to the old one, and the contractors are employing Trelleborg’s Gina gaskets and Omega seals to keep the river out.
“In the U.S., the Virginia project is one of several projects we expect to be involved in,” de Graaf says.
He acknowledges that getting into the U.S. market can be challenging. “Americans tend to choose American suppliers for their infrastructure projects,” he says. 
Trelleborg’s standard Gina gaskets and Omega seals have previously been used in Boston, but its new molded, high-resilience Gina gaskets have never been installed in the U.S. The global engineering firm Parsons Brinckerhoff approved the new design proposal. Then the client, the Virginia Department of Transportation, and the contractor Skanska-Kiewit-Weeks Marine, visited Trelleborg in the Netherlands, and they were convinced that Trelleborg offered the best solution. 
“Our proposal has many benefits: high stability, low aging behavior, one seal fitting all depths, low initial compression force and high allowable shear movement,” de Graaf says.
Deliveries will take place from 2013 through 2015, and the tunnel is scheduled for completion in 2016. De Graaf sees a bright future for immersed tunnel projects in the Americas. “People are flocking to cities, and the solution to mobility issues is to build tunnels,” he says. 

Gina gaskets and Omega seals
Gina gaskets and Omega seals are used between the sectional elements of immersed tunnels to keep external water pressure from flooding the tunnel. The combination of seals also allows the transfer of hydrostatic loads and movement between the ends of the tunnel due to soil settlement, creep of concrete, temperature effects or earthquakes. The designs are generally based on an expected tunnel life of 120 years.

For more information
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Friday, September 13, 2013

Trelleborg set to slash downtime with launch of innovative SealWelding technology


Trelleborg set to slash downtime with launch of innovative SealWelding technology

Trelleborg has launched a revolutionary new SealWelding technology which allows seals to be welded in-situ on an FPSO platform, eliminating the need for it to disconnect and return to shore. 

Manufactured from Trelleborg’s already well-established seal material, this new technology will massively reduce the downtime and associated costs that come from maintaining an FPSO swivel stack. Currently, swivel stack maintenance requires a vessel to travel back to shore so that components can be completely disassembled and seals replaced. 

“The offshore oil and gas sector has been going strong since the late 1940s, however, as the industry continues to move toward even more demanding offshore applications in order to drill deeper and reach further, the use of floating production, storage and offloading vessels have become particularly popular in recent years. While these offshore facilities have opened the potential of oil and gas exploration and production, maintaining them can often prove difficult and time consuming, especially as environments become more challenging,” commented Henk-Willem Sanders, Technical Manager Europe, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions. 

“This is because with a number of component failures able to easily lead an FPSO to a shutdown that requires onshore maintenance, the cost and travelling time required to return an FPSO to shore can very quickly add up. In fact, when maintaining the swivel stack, a critical element onboard any facility, typically the FPSO would be down for between six and 12 weeks and the cost of that could rise to 100s of millions of dollars.

In situ maintenance
“With seals playing a vital role when it comes to ensuring the continued efficient and safe operation of an FPSO swivel stack, the industry has been looking for a way to solve the issue of onshore maintenance by developing a practice which would allow operators to remove and replace the seal in situ on the FPSO offshore – and I am pleased to announce that with our new technology, we have more than met the challenge.”

By optimizing billet welding, Trelleborg’s new technology is able to weld the original seal material in-situ. In a controlled manufacturing area, Trelleborg starts the process by producing a seal which has been cut in one place using a specially designed tool. The product is then packed so that it is well protected and avoids any damage in transit.

Offshore, onboard the FPSO, the seal is unpacked and installed onto the swivel by highly trained personnel from Trelleborg’s service team; the skilled engineer installs it in the Weld Head Enclosure (part of the welding machine) which, certified to ATEX zone 1, is then pressurized so that the welding can take place. Fully enclosed, production on other swivel stacks can continue without risk.

Smooth running
A Control Cabinet, which is purged and will also be certified to ATEX zone 1, ensures the smooth running of the process, as well as monitoring and logging all data. After the process is finished, the seal is safely removed from the Weld Head Enclosure before being polished and checked. If the values from the recorded data are satisfactory, the seal will be released for installation. 

Henk-Willem continued: “We are confident that our new fully tested and portable system is not only set to make life for the offshore operator safer and easier, but also dramatically improve the bottom line for the oil company.”

[570 words]
For more information please contact
news@trelleborg.com

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Below is a full white paper about SealWelding by Henk-Willem Sanders, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions

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SLASHING DOWNTIME WITH INNOVATIVE SEAL WELDING TECHNOLOGY
By Henk-Willem Sanders, Technical Manager Oil & Gas, 
Trelleborg Sealing Solutions

Executive Summary
The offshore oil and gas sector has been going strong since the late 1940s, however, as the industry continues to move toward even more demanding offshore applications in order to drill deeper and reach further, the use of floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels have become particularly popular. Eliminating the need to lay expensive long-distance pipelines from the processing facility to an onshore terminal, the FPSO is suitable for remote or deepwater locations where seabed pipelines are not cost effective.

But, while offshore facilities have opened the vast frontier of the world’s oceans to oil and gas exploration and production, they have also resulted in new and unique challenges. For example, while FPSOs can provide an economically attractive solution for smaller oil fields which can be exhausted in a few years and do not justify the expense of installing a pipeline, maintaining those installations can often prove difficult and time consuming, especially as environments become more challenging. 

With financial data suggesting that losses from an hour of downtime for an offshore production facility is amongst the highest of any industry, every moment saved in downtime means significant cost savings for the operator. This white paper will consider why optimizing the design, operability and safety of FPSOs has never been more important if downtime is to be combated and will focus on the development of new seal welding solutions which have been specifically designed to help operators do this.

An Issue of Downtime
While originally all oil platforms sat on the seabed, as exploration moved to deeper waters and more distant locations in the 1970s, floating production systems were developed and introduced. A viable solution which brought with it significant advantages including the ability to move production to a new location once the field became depleted, this technology quickly proved popular and now over 200 vessels are currently deployed worldwide as FPSOs. 

However, along with new benefits came new challenges and it wasn’t long before the maintenance of these facilities became a hot topic setting the offshore agenda. This is because with a number of component failures able to easily lead an FPSO to a shutdown that requires onshore maintenance, the cost and travelling time required to return an FPSO to shore can very quickly add up. 

As such, reliability, safety, and flexibility are of key importance when securing maximum up-time for a FPSO facility and offshore operators are continually on the lookout for ways to reduce the chance of FPSO shutdown, avoiding the associated downtime that must occur for maintenance. 

Keeping Operations Afloat
A critical element onboard an FPSO facility, the swivel stack is the heart of the turret, mooring and fluid transfer system. The swivel ensures that all fluids (liquids and gas), controls, and power are transferred safely from the geo-stationary components (wells, flowlines, manifolds, risers) to the rotating vessel and its process plant, under any environmental conditions. 

Seals are vital when it comes to ensuring the continued efficient and safe operation of an FPSO swivel stack. As replacement of the seals in a swivel stack requires the FPSO to travel back to shore so that components can be completely disassembled and seals replaced. In fact, this whole operation is extremely time consuming and requires huge preparation time; typically the FPSO would be down for between 6 and 12 weeks and the cost of that could rise to 100s of millions of dollars. 

With every second saved in downtime being an addition to the bottom line of the operator, cutting out the travelling time required to return an FPSO to shore for a seal replacement could provide operators with a huge financial saving in downtime.

Simple Idea, High-tech Solution
The idea to solve this issue of offshore maintenance was an obvious one – to remove and replace the seal in situ on the FPSO offshore. However, to actually do this and create a technique which would fulfill this idea was not so simple. 

It would require the development of a technique which would bond the ends of a cut seal offshore, something which would prove extremely difficult. Adding to the challenge, seal welding has to be possible when other swivels are still in production - this could be extremely high risk without special safety features incorporated into the welding equipment. Furthermore, the equipment would need to be portable so it can be transported to the FPSO, and a committed and fully trained service team put together that could go out to the FPSO’s to perform the operation.

A commonly used technique for leading manufacturers of seals is billets welding. However, dedicated to meeting the wants and needs of the offshore operators through innovation, some manufacturers have been working to provide an enhanced solution. Investing significant time and resources they have been able to develop a viable, fully tested portable system which will replace seals in-situ by optimizing the billets welding technique for a seal profile. 

A Step-Change Solution
The latest in seal welding technology has more than met the challenge and is set to revolutionize the FSPO market. An example of this innovation can be seen by Trelleborg Sealing Solutions. 

Trelleborg has developed a new seal which, manufactured from its established seal material, can be welded on the platform without the need to return to shore. By using a well-established and proven material as opposed to a modified substance, Trelleborg has been able to avoid integrating something which has not been fully tested into the new system to ensure full compliancy and reliability for the offshore operator. 

In a controlled manufacturing area, Trelleborg starts the process by producing a seal which has been cut in one place using a specially designed tool. The product is then packed so that it is well protected and avoids any damage in transit.

Offshore, onboard the FPSO, the seal is unpacked and installed onto the swivel by highly trained personnel from Trelleborg’s service team; the skilled engineer installs it in the Weld Head Enclosure (part of the welding machine) which, certified to ATEX zone 1, is then pressurized so that the welding can take place. Fully enclosed, production on other swivel stacks can continue without risk.


A Control Cabinet, which is purged and will also be certified to ATEX zone 1, ensures the smooth running of the process, as well as monitoring and logging all data. After the process is finished, the seal is safely removed from the Weld Head Enclosure before being polished and checked. If the values from the recorded data are satisfactory, the seal will be released for installation. 

Conclusion
Safety on FPSOs is of paramount importance and in the harsh offshore oil and gas industry, operators must take every precaution to minimize risk at every turn. But at the same time, spiraling maintenance costs and project downtime has proven to be a real issue for the offshore sector. 

With seal welding a requirement for the smooth running of the FPSO swivel stack, a critical element of operations, replacement involving a melting process has always had to be conducted offshore, resulting in extremely costly and time-consuming downtime for the facility as the FPSO has to be disconnected. 

As such, for many years there has been a desire for a safe and reliable alternative to this process which can be carried out in-situ. However, after years of development, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions has created a fully tested, portable system which is not only set to make life for the offshore operator safer and easier, but also dramatically improve the bottom line for the oil company. 

This white paper is based on a presentation given at Offshore Technology Conference, Houston, Texas, U.S., May 2013. 
http://www.wikio.co.uk