Gloucester-based Advanced Insulation – a leading manufacturer of technical and insulation materials for the upstream oil and gas industry – has won the regional Smart Product Award at this year’s EEF/Aldermore Future Manufacturing Awards for its ContraFlame® MS400 lightweight cellar deck protection system for offshore oil platforms.
Won against stiff competition from businesses across the South West and South Wales, this regional win means Advanced Insulation is now automatically entered for the national award, which will be announced at a gala reception being held in London in April.
Being close to the ocean’s surface, offshore platform cellar decks are exposed to the elements and therefore often insulated. They also require protection from fire as they accommodate numerous high-pressure pipe systems containing hydrocarbons and traditional solutions use fibrous insulation with a thin stainless steel protective sheet welded underneath. But this design presents a number of issues and is one that Advanced Insulation was able to significantly improve upon.
One issue with the traditional design was that too many supports were required to secure the protective steel sheets to protect them against wind loadings. This not only results in extra weight being added to the platform, but is also estimated to cost in excess of £100 000 to support each tonne of weight on an oil platform. Additionally, due to the number of fixings required by the support system, installation can take a long time and, when complete, cannot be easily sealed and is therefore prone to premature corrosion from seawater.
Commenting for Advanced Insulation, managing director Andrew Bennion says: “Offshore oil platforms are becoming increasingly complex in response to the needs of oil fields that are more difficult to exploit and located in increasingly hostile environments. As a result there is a drive for lighter, more robust materials that are quicker to install.”
He adds that, based on its manufacturing expertise and material technology, Advanced Insulation developed ContraFlame MS400 to meet this niche market requirement.
ContraFlame MS400 is a robust deck insulation system that uses Advanced Insulation’s patented phenolic-based material technology. It is simple to install, offers significant weight savings (up to 100x) compared to traditional systems and can achieve savings up to £10 million per platform. Additionally, the new insulation system benefits from the company’s compression moulding capability and achieves a 60-minute hydrocarbon fire rating for each 107mm thick panel.
Advanced Insulation’s ContraFlame MS400 has already achieved significant successes, has been approved by BP, Dong Energy and Exxon and has already generated multi-million pound savings for major international oil companies.
Summarising for Aldermore, Richard Whitehouse says: “Innovative companies that bring new products to market make an important contribution to the UK economy and drive growth and success. It’s important that their achievements are recognised. We congratulation Advanced Insulation on its well-deserved success at the regional awards and wish them the best of luck for the national finals.”
Adapted from press release by Joe Green