R & D Centers

Vallourec has significantly enhanced its technical capability and skills base to enable it to design extremely reliable bespoke high-tech solutions within a short space of time.

Missions of R&D

· Develop and fine-tune innovative technologies and solutions

· Identify and promote best practices and best available technologies

· Roll out a culture of innovation thanks to an internal system for managing expertise and knowledge


500 engineers and technicians

R&D brings together a worldwide network of 500 engineers and technicians, spread across the various research and testing centers.

A significant budget

During 2013, the company invested 87.4 million euros in research and development.

6 international Research and Development centers

Vallourec's 6 research centers, based in France, Germany and Brazil, are equipped with high-performance investigative and modeling tools and provide expertise for Vallourec's core competencies: metallurgy, heat transfer technology, non-destructive testing, corrosion, surface treatment and product and process simulations, etc.

3 testing centers

· Aulnoye (France)

· Houston (USA)

· Batam (Indonesia)

Partnerships with world leaders

The Group runs R&D programs in partnership with industries, suppliers, customers and university laboratories that are world leaders in their fields:

Long-standing partners

· Sumitomo for the development of VAM® connections

· Tubacex for the development of stainless steels

· The Salzgitter Mannesmann Forschungsinstitut in Duisburg, our long-standing research partner on improving manufacturing processes.

Client Partnerships

R&D involves a continuous process of dialogue with our customers and the Group works closely with some of them to develop solutions that meet their specific business needs.

· Petrobras: developing solutions for the pre-salt fields off the coast of Brazil

· Total: premium connections for difficult wells

· Weatherford: premium connections for innovative applications

· British Petroleum: drill pipes for horizontal drilling, tubes and connections for risers

· Hitachi Power Europe, Alstom, Doosan: high performance steels for USC power plants (electrical energy)

University Partnerships

Finally, Vallourec undertakes basic research in partnership with several university laboratories worldwide.

· Mines ParisTech (France)

· RWTH Aachen University (Germany)

· Carnegie Mellon University (United States)

· Universidade de São Paulo (Brazil)

These R&D arrangements and the productive synergies developed with many different partners enable Vallourec to maintain its technological lead, as demonstrated by numerous examples.

R&D Centers

Vallourec Research Center France (Aulnoye)

Vallourec Research Center France is the Group's long-established research center. It focuses on alloys and new grades of steel that improve the strength and weight of tubes used by the oil industry or in mechanical applications.

Its work includes: developing alloys and grades of steel, non-destructive testing, corrosion resistance, surface treatment and product and process simulations.

Vallourec Research Center Germany (Düsseldorf)

The Vallourec Center in Düsseldorf comprises two units:

· The "Boiler & Pipe Line Competence Center" (BLCC) in Düsseldorf is located near major German manufacturers of boilers and steam generators.

It focuses on developing and designing tubes and steel used in conventional and nuclear power plants, as well as oil and gas line pipes.

· The "Rolling Competence Center" focuses on tube hot rolling research. This unit, which is tasked with innovating in Vallourec's core processes, was recently enhanced by the addition of a rolling laboratory.

Vallourec Competence Center Riesa (Germany)

Inaugurated in January 2011, this German Competence Center houses the latest technology for testing and optimizing manufacturing methods. The center is unique, operating like a mini-plant that brings together all of the Group's key areas of expertise: piercing technology that turns a billet into a tubular blank, and rolling-stretching on a mandrel.

It is the only research center to combine a piercing mill and a mandrel mill. It enables testing to be carried out under real-life conditions for all units of the Group, and innovative production methods to be developed.

This helps to strengthen Vallourec's competitive advantage. The Vallourec Competence Center Riesa tests the technologies that will enable the Group's plants to improve their quality and speed performance going forward.

Vallourec Research Center Brazil (Belo Horizonte)

Vallourec tailors the Group's solutions for its Brazilian customers in the Vallourec Research Center Brazil Belo Horizonte, bringing together teams of experts and test laboratories.

Vallourec Competence Center Rio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

Vallourec decided to step up its cooperation in the area of research with Petrobras, Brazil's state-owned oil company and the Group's main customer in the country.

Vallourec Competence Center Rio, inaugurated in July 2013, is located close to CENPES, the Petrobras research center.

The new center covers all of the Group's operations in the pre-salt sector, including drill pipes, umbilical products and accessories. It will enable Vallourec to respond directly to the needs and expectations of the Brazilian oil group, which exploits deposits in conditions of extreme pressure, temperature and corrosion.

The Rio de Janeiro research center will also benefit from synergies with the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and the University of Levras in areas such as the environment, robotics and energy consumption.

In addition to research and competence facilities,Vallourec also owns 3 VAM® testing centers.

Sustainability Report