This project began in collaboration with ABS Ltd (now Brunel Oilfield Services) and concerned the development of an all plastic ‘centraliser’ (for supporting well-liner pipes in the extreme environment of the oil-well bore hole). Prototypes underwent extensive international testing in Europe, North America and China until 2002. Lievesley led the design research, idea generation and concept development phases of the work, drawing on his experience of managing design projects with first-time design clients. The design is the subject of a number of international patents, principally: Worldwide Patent WO9925949, also supported by European patents EP1030957 (A3) and EP1030957 (A2), United States patent US6666267 (B1) and UK patent GB2347953 (A). The Director of ABS suggested the idea of an all plastic Centraliser. Lievesley proposed combining metal components in high-wear areas with an all-plastic body to give conservative buyers more confidence in the product. This innovation – zinc alloy rings in the high-wear areas with the plastic body in-between – became the subject of the subsequent patents and proved to be the key to enabling polymer-based products to meet the rigorous functional demands for the first time. The design process revealed to the client the importance of managing perceptions of new products from buyers’ and end-users’ perspectives. Brunel put the product into production, entering it into the UK Plastics Industry Awards in 2003. It was exhibited at the Offshore Europe Exhibition, September 2005 and is featured on the company’s website at http://www.bruneloilfield.com/Ezee-Glider2000.html and on a number of reseller’s websites around the world. Each cite the key point of differentiation as the integral metal ‘anti-swage ring’; proposed in the original design work (see slides). The innovation was featured in the ‘Technology Zone’ section of Plastics and Rubber Weekly (PRW) 14/1103, Page 9, by which time over 100-miles of wells had been completed with 100% success.
|Published - 1 Aug 2001