Engineering Insight

Engineering Insight

This project was completed in conjunction with a leading supploer of control systems for the oil and gas industry as part of their Engineering Insight scheme.

The primary objective was to provide an engineering solution to the failure of a pneumatic regulator valve on an offshore oil production facility. More specifically the team was tasked with improving the functionality and safety of the product in line with the manufacturer's project brief and industry standards. Owing to time and budgetary constraints the team were unable to produce any working prototypes. Instead, there was a focus on computer based analysis tools such as Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), to assess the current design and any subsequent modifications. The result was a mechanism which, as well as being innovative, provided the function of a pressure regulator with the means of isolating and/or venting the air pressure to protect the downstream equipment if regulator failure occurs.

During the early stages of the project the sponsoring company added to the brief a requirement for a method to lock the valve and vent the air from the system straight to atmosphere in an over pressure situation. The final solution was the product of multiple conceptual designs, exploring existing locking mechanisms from doors to ball point pens. To validate the mechanism, a series of CAD models were produced and run through both FEA and CFD programs; identifying flow restrictions and stress concentrations that might affect operation.

To conclude the project, the team put together a complete technical and commercial report, detailing manufacturing plans, operation and technical validation as well as a competitor bench marking study and full cost analysis. This information was subsequently presented in a 30 minute presentation to the company's marketing manager and senior engineer..