PARKER Hannifin, based in Barnstaple, has won a contract to supply high-reliability valves and tube connection fittings for a North Sea offshore oil and gas project.
The company's instrumentation products division will supply some 10,000 individual valves, tube fittings and other components, including 10 kilometres of tubing, for the Gina Krog oil and gas field, off Norway. This is likely to generate more than £10 million in orders over the next 12 months for the Barnstaple facility.
Turnover at Barnstaple has increased significantly in the past two years as a result of being selected as instrumentation supplier to major engineering projects on offshore platforms.
With many platforms being refurbished and extended, Parker's share of this market has grown so that it is now one of the largest suppliers of fluid instrumentation components in the North Sea sector.
"In the oil and gas production sector today there's an intense focus on extending equipment lifetimes and eliminating the threat to reliability that corrosion brings. The know-how that Parker has built up in the area of anti-corrosion materials is bringing us considerable success," said Andy Guest, of Parker Hannifin.
"A large proportion of our production output is now manufactured from corrosion-resistant alloys instead of more conventional stainless steels."
Ian Huggins, general manager of Parker Hannifin's instrumentation products division, added: "Our products have a performance edge because we always focus on adding value to industry-standard instrumentation products by employing unique features and superior materials and quality to design-out potential failure modes and improve reliability.
"This is particularly relevant in the oil and gas marketplace which is doing all it can to improve safety and reliability, and it's helping our business to flourish even in the face of intense competition from low-wage Asian economies."
To manage the increased business, Parker has invested approximately £600,000 in eight further computer-controlled machining centres at Barnstaple, which employs 200 people. These new machines will be manufacturing many of the tube fittings for Gina Krog.
Tube connectors for the fluid tubing system, although manufactured at a sister factory in Wexford, Ireland, are developed and serviced by the research and development and customer service departments which have recently transferred to Barnstaple.
Parker Hannifin's products and its continued investment is helping it to win more business.