Vulcan SFM, Sheffield Forgemasters' subsidiary specialising in high-strength castings and forgings, today despatched the heaviest casting it has ever made for use in the North Sea’s largest gas field.
Sheffield Forgemasters’ specialist offshore technology and project management division has released the second and final 100 tonne cast-node, which is part of a £3m contract with Dutch company Heerema.
The castings will form high strength and fatigue resistant nodal joints to connect the main leg and brace tubulars which make up the jacket of an offshore oil platform. They have an integral trunnion and with these and two other castings also supplied by Sheffield Forgemasters, the massive 9,200 tonne jacket for the Valemon platform will be lifted and rotated onto its mooring location.
Ian Nicholls, managing director of Vulcan SFM, commented: “The castings are made in a specially developed material offering a balance of strength toughness and weldability. The strength is developed through heat treatment involving water quenching and this is the biggest casting we have ever quenched, which has been made possible by the investments we have made in our quenching facilities.
Mr Nicholl explained that Vulcan SFM designed the casting to handle immense stresses when in the field. “The nodes we have manufactured over a twenty five year period of supply into offshore use, have a zero failure rate,” he said.
Vulcan SFM, launched in 2006, stands as one of the only companies worldwide which has the experience of manufacturing such complex safety-critical offshore castings and because of this it has seen a successful 2010/2011 financial year, breaking targets by nearly £18m.
Much of Sheffield Forgemasters financial success has been attributed by the company to its investment in skills and the development of its workforce.
Earlier this year the company was receognised at The National Apprenticeship Awards as Large Employer of the Year. More recently a delegation from the Department of Business Innovation and Skills visited Sheffield Forgemasters to inspect its apprenticeship programme. There are intentions to use the company’s bespoke apprenticeship scheme as a template for the development of national frameworks.
Sheffield Forgemasters has been shortlisted for the People and Skills award at The Manufacturer of the Year Awards 2011 and the company CEO, Graham Honeyman will be chairing part of the Manufacturer Directors Conference.