Leader of design engineering and R&D for Oil & Gas Transfer
Hi David. Please can you start by introducing yourself and telling us a little bit about your background?
Hi there. I’m David Ponchon, the leader of design engineering and R&D at Trelleborg Fluid Handling Solutions. I’m in charge of a design and testing team responsible for building a range of transfer solutions for the oil and gas sector.
Before joining Trelleborg, I worked for Bureau Veritas in the pipeline and riser team. We were in charge of design and review for various clients, including Trelleborg, which was actually how I ended up joining the team.
How long have you been working for Trelleborg?
I’ve held a number of positions during my time here. I started out as a project manager back in 2011, working on a big project in West Africa. This lasted about two to three years, and after that I became a design manager and was in charge of all the design analyses and computations we can perform when working on specific projects. Two years ago my position changed, and I became the technical manager. So, in addition to the design aspect, I now have the responsibility for the industrialisation of our products as well as the R&D activities.
Can you explain to our readers what you mean by the industrialisation of products?
For each order we get, we have to write the manufacturing procedures as every order requires a specific hose. We have technicians in the team who are in charge of writing these procedures. When we develop a new product we also have to think how we’re going to manufacture it in the workshop. This is the industrialisation of a product.
Thanks. Now can you tell us about some of the challenges involved when manufacturing a product?
The planning is often the most challenging. We have to stick to the planning and make sure that none of the hoses are rejected during the production stage, otherwise we lose valuable time and have to procure new materials – all of which will delay the final delivery of the order.
Are you working on any new projects at the moment?
We have extended our range of products with nipple hose technology. This technology was well known by some of our competitors, but was fairly new to us. I have been put in charge of qualifying the design for this technology for Trelleborg.
I’m also developing new material that can be used for hoses to offer a higher performance and resistance, which helps maintain the hose throughout its entire service life. This extends the lifetime of our products and reduces our imprint on the environment.
What is the most enjoyable aspect of your role?
It’s great to design hoses on paper and on the computer, and then manufacture those hoses and compare the predicted behaviour to the actual behaviour. Each time you conduct an analysis, you can use the results to improve future models.
What trends are you currently seeing in your role?
At the moment we are seeing more demand for our API Spec 17K certified products, for both oil transfer and seawater intake applications. API Spec 17K certified products have supplementary requirements to the normal specifications of a standard hose. To get this certification, we have to take account of all the specific features and constraints of the project when designing the hose, and perform a full set of engineering analyses. This process results in a tailor-made solution that is fit for purpose for the whole design life of the application.
Finally, what sort of things do you enjoying doing outside of work?
In my spare time I love to get out of the city and surround myself with nature – I particularly enjoy fly fishing and long walks in the countryside.
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