Not Your Average Garden Hose – Part 2 Transcript

00:00 Marie Haahr: All of the armor materials is not fancy high-tech products, so it's just carbon steel. But what is special is that they're only made for us.


00:22 Michael Gaines: Hello and welcome to NOV Today, I'm your host Michael Gaines. In our last episode, we met Adam Reuben and the team at the Callenberg manufacturing facility in Denmark. It's here that some of the world's most advanced flexible pipe is manufactured on a gargantuan scale, and in one uninterrupted piece that once installed can be in operation for up to three decades. Creating technology that can endure the best or worst of nature, takes a team of dedicated employees, years to develop a product that lies at the intersection of reliability, cost effectiveness and best in class. Not having any formalized institution to teach flexible pipe manufacturing, requires approaching material qualification and selection very diligently and seriously, and then ensuring that you take that to a whole new level. On this episode, we're in the Brondby qualification lab in Denmark, just outside of Copenhagen.

01:26 Michael Gaines: Can you tell me your name, please? 

01:28 Marie Haahr: Yes, my name is Marie Haahr.

01:30 Michael Gaines: And what do you do here? 

01:32 Marie Haahr: I am a metallurgist working with the overall responsibilities of the armor wire materials. I've been here for 10 years, to work with the suppliers and with the qualification of the suppliers, both in terms of the whole way from the beginning of what do we actually need, identifying a need on our side, contacting the suppliers, going there, discussing with them, can they actually make the product, how will they make the product? Buying the first few samples of the product and then testing them, qualifying them.

02:10 Michael Gaines: With her pervasive smile and warm spirit, Marie is quick to share her passion for being a part of the qualification team, and knows very well the impact her work plays in the business.

02:20 Marie Haahr: All of the armor materials is not fancy high-tech products, so it's just carbon steel. But what is special is that they're only made for us. So the only track record we get is the track record we make.

02:35 Michael Gaines: Oh, wow.

02:36 Marie Haahr: Yeah. So it's not like we can go to a supplier and say, "Okay, what do you suggest and what is your track record? How many years have you supplied and how many tonnage?" We have to build it up ourselves. So that also makes the qualification very important and we need to go through a lot of different testing, and testing quite a lot of samples to be sure we have a robust product.

02:57 Michael Gaines: Could you describe what a metallurgist is? 'Cause I think there are lot of people that may have seen the title before, but really don't know.

03:05 Marie Haahr: So me, myself, I'm a chemical engineer. You could also be a mechanical engineer, typically. In Denmark, it's not a protected title, so you don't actually study to become a metallurgist, but you have as an engineer, and then you choose a lot of metallurgical topics in your study time. And then you get out there working with metals, so you know a lot about of...

03:32 Michael Gaines:
Marie then shared with us, what our tour of the qualification lab looked like.

03:36 Michael Gaines: So can you tell me what are we going to see today? 

03:40 Marie Haahr: Yeah. We have our qualification lab over here, so it's mostly small scale, meaning smaller samples, wire links like 10 to 20 centimeters long. Our wires are from 2x7-1/2 millimeter size up to 6x15. So that's the range just to shortly describe our materials. I guess you've seen many of them yesterday in the factory? 

04:08 Michael Gaines: Yeah, yeah, in the flesh yeah. They were, and in full-scale, so it was great.

04:13 Marie Haahr: Yeah. So they come in these coils of several kilometers of wire. And over here we test these small samples, we do static testing in our service, which is H2S testing.

04:26 Michael Gaines: While the qualification lab deals mainly with small-scale tests, there's nothing small about the level of technological advancement of the type of testing going on in this facility. One specific area of many, that the team focuses on is the impact of the lethal gas known as hydrogen sulfide or H2S.

04:47 Marie Haahr: Many of our are service projects, which means that we have H2S also in the analyst, and we need to have a H2S resistant armor wire.

05:00 Michael Gaines: And why is H2S testing important? 

05:03 Marie Haahr: Because H2S facilitates hydrogen permeating into the metal, so it can sit in interstitial in the metal lattice and then actually pulling the lattice apart making the wire crack, or it can diffuse even longer into the material, where it can build up like balloons adding pressure, which can then crack at the end. And if an armor wire cracks, of course the full integrity of the pipe is lost rather quickly.

05:32 Michael Gaines: Okay.

05:33 Marie Haahr: So the more it's stressed, the more difficult to design the pipe.

05:41 Michael Gaines: Testing the chemical resistance to H2S is definitely an important element, but it's not the only one, among the dizzying array of variables that must be tested, pressure is one that can't be ignored. With the flexible pipe potentially being installed and exposed to pressures more than 50 times that experienced at sea level, it's critical to ensure that the materials used are up to the task. To demonstrate their approach to working on this issue, Marie ushers us into an outdoor shed, jam-packed with an impressive array of stainless steel tubing and autoclaves.

06:18 Marie Haahr: So these autoclaves hold a lot of specimens, some of them are loaded, so they have a lot of strain in them. Some of them have been deformed and stretched and rolled and bended several times before they went into the test, to get knowledge of how does this straining in our process, does it affect the wires resistance to corrosion? And we can add a lot of pressure, you can see this one is a five-bar test, so that's not too much, we can have temperature on them. We can, of course have different... The pH and the chemistry in the cells. This one is also five bar, this one is 15 bars, and also this one is 50, at 50 bars. So we have several different pressures and then seeing, okay, when do they start to corrode heavily or crack or do we see any effect of these high pressures? Then we try to put in a lot of steel to have the iron-situation which is characteristics of the NOC environment, and a lot of steel surface and only a limited amount of solutions.

07:41 Michael Gaines: As Marie continues to describe the functionality of the various tests contained within the autoclaves, I can't help but appreciate the beauty of the stainless steel tubing and visual fusion of design and chemistry. As if thinking the same thing, Marie shares that none of the experiments could be completed if they weren't expertly installed by a master craftsman, like Senior Laboratory Technician, Stein Owapay.

08:06 Marie Haahr: And this is what Stein, he does, he makes these amazing walls full of the tubes and measuring devices and clocks and alarms and bottles.

08:17 Michael Gaines: Wow. It seems like a perfect blend of art and science.

08:25 Marie Haahr: Yeah. And everything is, of course you can see everything on the computer, so everything is electronically logged.

08:34 Michael Gaines: I'm glad this was not my responsibility, 'cause it would be a jumble of sad wires and you would never, never be successful. This is wonderful.

08:45 Marie Haahr: Yeah.

08:46 Michael Gaines: Leaving the testing shed, we walked over to another part of the facility. On the way, Marie shared that the timing of our December visit was almost the best time of year to be in Denmark.

09:00 Marie Haahr: Is it your first time in Denmark? 

09:01 Speaker 3: It is.

09:02 Michael Gaines: Yes, it is.

09:03 Marie Haahr: Yeah, you're coming, I think at the second best time of year.

09:07 Michael Gaines: Second best? 

09:08 Marie Haahr: Yeah.

09:09 Michael Gaines: The best time would be when? 

09:10 Marie Haahr: June or maybe April, May, where you have the spring, with everything just booming, because everything becomes like this. So all the leaves fall off and gets in the North of the states as well.

09:23 Michael Gaines: One of the important components of the qualification process, is ensuring that there is the right partnership between NOV and suppliers. They help us deliver the industry-leading technology our customers have come to expect from us as Adam Ruben and Marie shared.

09:42 Marie Haahr: So we have I think seven grades, different grades, which are different combination of tensile strength and solid substance resistance. And then we have five suppliers for each grade and everyone needs a curve if we want to use some dynamically.

10:01 Michael Gaines: So then really selecting and choosing the materials you use and to your point the suppliers you have that relationship in selection is critical, not only because of wanting to ensure that you have the right materials but even just the amount of time that you invest in qualification and validation.

10:21 Marie Haahr: Yeah. That's also why we don't just add new suppliers all the time, because it is a lot of work, it takes a lot of time and it cost a lot of money to go through all these different testing steps. But on the other hand, we do need quite a lot of suppliers to keep capacity and keep costs down.

10:42 Adam Reuben:
So yeah, we have a constant battle with our supply chain, their group, because they tend to focus a lot about the finance costs, so Euros or dollars per ton, that's their focus. And then you have to balance that against the qualifications cost and the performance. But of course, again, since we are using so many tons in just one pipe, it's also if we could just save a small amount on that, it actually also accumulates to very, very high amounts of money.

11:13 Michael Gaines: It sounds like a good tension, right? [chuckle]

[overlapping conversation]

11:22 Marie Haahr:
We usually travel together, the supply chain and the metallurgist, so we can keep their wishes for new products down and they can keep our weird engineering, geeky stuff to a relative level. [chuckle]

11:35 Michael Gaines: So the next time you think about product qualification or ever wonder about the amount of testing that goes into NOV's flexible pipe, you can rest assured that talented and dedicated professionals like Marie Haahr are always on the case, delivering excellence for our customers and championing the world of material qualification for NOV.

11:58 Marie Haahr: So that concludes our wire testing, yes.

12:01 Michael Gaines:
Ah, very good.


12:03 Michael Gaines:
In our next episode, we have the opportunity to sit down with Adam Reuben and Marie Haahr, who we met in the last two episodes. And get a closer look at who they are, and what drives them to be a part of such a vibrant community of professionals within NOV and Denmark.

12:19 S5: What we need to be good at is to be in the forefront of knowing what is needed in the future.

12:26 Michael Gaines: Thanks for listening to this episode of NOV Today. We'd like to hear your feedback. Share your thoughts by Tweeting us at @NOVGlobal and using #NOVToday, or you can contact us by sending an email to [email protected]. To stay up to date on the latest episodes visit our website at There you can find show summaries and links to subscribe on iTunes, Google podcasts or wherever you get your favorite podcasts. For NOV Today, I'm Michael Gaines. Thanks for listening and we'll talk to you later.