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Jane Pankhurst, Senior Commercial and Business Programmes Manager (KTP)

Sophie O'Callaghan, Commercial and Business Programmes Manager (KTP)

As a KTP Associate I grew as an engineer, as a researcher, as well as a manager. Until a technique is proven, it's difficult for a company to invest such a huge amount in software. The University of Exeter has the software and the computational power to run these simulations.

Dr Amin Hedayetullah, KTP Associate

Reducing product design costs by 80 per cent with Centek

Engineers at the University of Exeter worked with Newton Abbot-based Centek Group to significantly reduce costs and development times for new products into the oil and gas sector.

Centralizers are vitally important for safety in the oil and gas industry, retaining casings centrally within boreholes and preventing leaks at the surface. Centralizers are often in demand at very short notice, with specific requirements depending on the drilling operation.

Existing methods for development of centralizers for demanding oil wells can take up to 12 weeks, and can cost several thousand pounds. Costs for delaying drilling operations are extremely large, and so short development time is especially valuable. Current design and test processes require several concurrent prototypes. Often, further refinements needed after testing can push the cost up further.

Using some of their high performance computers, Engineering staff at the University of Exeter have developed specialist modelling software and a surface response modelling tool which will drastically reduce the number of test cycles, and the total cost and time taken to get new products to customers.

By working with the University of Exeter, Centek have demonstrated they can produce new product designs within one week and cut costs by up to 80 per cent.

This new design tool, which can run on a smart phone on site at an oil well, will not only increase profitability for the Devon-based manufacturer, but also safeguard quality jobs and help Centek Group beat international competition.

A lot of wells require iterations and we've seen projects which have run to 12, 15 iterations to get the right performance. Now with the chance of hitting it right first time, we're hoping to do it just the once, so £600 as opposed to £6000.

Dr Richard Fletcher, Engineering Manager, Centek Group