At Trelleborg, the fluid transfer systems that we create always take into account the wider context in which they function. It’s not enough for us to simply design a hose in isolation; we understand that the way it interacts with other equipment and surroundings can have a profound effect on its behaviour throughout its service life, and, as such, the opex required for it to optimise functionality.
As a product manager for many of Trelleborg’s specialist hose solutions, this is something that Jonathan Petit, Product Manager, deals with on a regular basis. Many of the products within this segment - including chemical hoses, seawater intake hoses, LPG hoses and customised oil hoses - require significant customisation to fit in with their specific functions, and a detailed understanding of the environment in which a product will function. This is where Jonathan’s mechanical engineering background plays a crucial role. With a background in aerospace making hydraulic cylinders and electric actuators, and working with tolerances measured in microns, Jonathan is able to use his experience and knowledge to create innovative solutions to deliver the best performance, while simultaneously never taking his eye off the need to minimize capex and opex.
Jonathan divides his time managing and developing products – listening to customers, with a view to understanding the challenges they face, and creating the products they need to succeed.
This approach is exemplified by the development of solutions for seawater intake – the SWILINE range of hoses. Seawater intake hoses are used to bring cold water onto floating production platforms, such as FPSO or FLNG. Both platforms require huge quantities of cold water to absorb the heat generated in their operations. This is particularly vital for FLNG platforms, which need as much as a staggering 40,000 cubic metres of water per hour to absorb the calories exhausted when LNG is compressed and liquefied. This requires large hoses with high flow rates, which must then operate for up to 25 years in some cases.
Installing these hoses presents a unique challenge. The standard method is for the hoses to be constructed beside the hull of the vessel, using a temporary clamp. The hoses are then clamped together, and fitted to a spool piece, before being lowered into the water, flooded, and then submerged. Divers then tighten bolts to connect the hose to the platform.
This technique is not untypical and offers simplicity from a capex point of view, however when it comes to maintenance, the need to use divers each time makes this method particularly capex-intense – particularly when maintenance is required and the hose must be detached from the platform.
An alternative method is to create a seawater intake hose that doesn’t require the need for a diver to install. In this instance, the hose is installed via a caisson – a steel pipe – either through the hull or just outside the hull. Each section of the hose is inserted into the caisson, and then clamped together as the hose is lowered by a crane into the water. The first off hose is connected to a riser head, which can be latched into place with a hydraulic jack and manual pump – meaning that there is no need for any assistance from divers. This configuration is now increasingly popular, and has been put into use by major oil companies such as Statoil.
In this diverless solution requires exact engineering precision. Tolerances of 0.1-0.2mm are needed to maintain a minimal gap between the riser head and the caisson, to minimise the relative movement that causes wear and tear over the years. This kind of highly technical engineering is where Jonathan and his team come in; enabling the product to function optimally for extended periods of time, reducing the need for maintenance and the opex associated with it.
At Trelleborg, our experts understand that context is important, and work closely with our customers and partners to constantly innovate and find new ways of doing things.
To contact Jonathan:firstname.lastname@example.org