Vallourec Umbilicals installs a new orbital welding line

In July, Vallourec Umbilicals launched a new orbital welding line for Super Duplex stainless-steel tubes in Venarey-Les Laumes (Côte-d’Or).

This line will enable us to increase our production capacity and better meet the growing demand in the offshore umbilicals market by reducing turnaround times.

Umbilicals are a key component in a subsea installation. They are used to connect the equipments on the seabed to a control station at the surface. Made of small-diameter tubes, cables and/or optical fibers, umbilicals are used for transporting fluids, supplying power, and transmitting information.

Our thinner Super Duplex stainless-steel tubes will yield lighter, more cost-effective umbilicals, that are therefore easier to install at sea. Their strength and mechanical properties, superior to those of other products currently available on the market, improve the overall performance of the umbilicals in operation. These are just a few of the qualities that have made the demand for this new, unique product increase steadily since it was put on the market in 2015.

The growth outlook made it possible to launch an investment project in August 2016 that aimed to increase plant capacity. This involved installing a new orbital line alongside the existing line.

Thanks to the lessons learned from the existing line, the architecture for the new line was redesigned and a system of intermediary grids was developed to save time when performing operations, to reduce yields and thus to improve productivity for the plant as a whole.

"The project is being completed one week ahead of schedule with no cost overruns, and we have achieved our goals by closely monitoring our suppliers and effectively managing risks. The new line has been certified by Bureau Veritas and has already been approved by our customer TechnipFMC Umbilicals, so we will be able to accelerate our ongoing production and deliver earlier than we initially expected,"explained Erwan Geoffroy, Project Manager at Vallourec Umbilicals.

Stéphane Chrobot, Chief Operating Officer at Vallourec Umbilicals, underscored the value of this investment for the company:"This extra capacity strengthens our position and enables us to keep pace with our growing market while also reducing our turnaround times. With better overall efficiency, we are now able to produce straight tubes with a high throughput, giving us access to new markets, including the one for flying leads*".

*flying leads – flexible connecting pipes