Classification and verification society develops “remote witnessing” system to aid inspection
With cost efficiency still the driving force behind industry innovation, classification society DNV GL has recently developed a new solution for remote surveillance services for subsea equipment manufacturing. Its primary goal in developing the technology was to reduce cost, as well as improve safety for surveyors and increase the flexibility of testing schedules.
So-called “remote witnessing” equips technicians with hardware and software that provide remote support or, depending on the type of test and its critical points, a standalone camera system that can be installed to increase savings and flexibility. At the local office, a DNV GL surveyor is connected to the technician delivering technical expertise in a timely manner.
“Remote witnessing is a part of other DNV GL operations. With this in mind, it was logical that we look at how remote witnessing can improve both on- and offshore subsea verification,” said DNV GL business development lead Eric Allen, who works in the society’s US-based subsea and wells team. “This is an area where digitalisation can be coupled with existing processes to provide effective verification services resulting in high cost and safety benefits.”
Setting trends DNV GL’s surveyors tested the surveillance technology in partnership with Trendsetter Engineering Inc. (TEI) on an HPHT Subsea Capping Stack project. To do this, DNV GL developed specific protocols and optimised the camera and software interface, with the aim of ensuring that remote surveyors can deliver the same level of inspection as if they were on site.
That is not to say the solution is limited to this equipment – it is applicable to various types of components and testing. “What sets our remote verification technology apart is that it’s not only first to market but it’s easily transferable to many applications. The approach itself is being implemented in the offshore platforms, however its application to the fabrication and testing facilities to offer cost savings, flexibility and improved transparency is something that DNV GL is pioneering,” the company explained to InnovOil via email.
The initial pilot was a necessary step used to identify gaps and establish a solid foundation of protocols. It also demonstrated that remote witnessing was an acceptable tool that can deliver results for independent surveillance when suitable conditions are met.
“The success of this pilot programme improved efficiency and delivered cost savings,” said subsea and wells team head Martha Viteri. “Working together with our industry partners we clearly recognised how this will change the future of surveillance.”
As third-party surveillance accounts for a significant portion of a project’s verification costs, DNV believes that this new execution model can offer substantial cost savings and improved efficiency by eliminating travel and idle time. “Remote surveillance demonstrates DNV GL’s commitment to drive innovation forward and deliver actual cost savings and faster results (for evidence and feedback) for the benefit of our customers. In addition, this creates a safer way of working for surveyors,” added Viteri.
Overall, it said, the industry’s attitude to the project has been “overwhelmingly positive,” and that companies have recognised that these remote programmes can be “a stepping stone towards novel solutions that respond to the need of leaner and more efficient.”
In the longer term remote surveillance and similar digital initiatives form part of a larger puzzle that can provide operators with more cost-effective solutions.” We trust that industry will continue to take advantage of all these offerings,” DNV GL added.