A beautiful goal
Established in 1982 by Score Group founder and current chairman Charles Buchan Ritchie, Score (Europe) Limited has enjoyed rapid growth and success over the last three decades to become the leading single source provider for valve services; a reputation that stems from unrivalled expertise, excellent customer service, state-of-the-art facilities and continuous investment in both staff and infrastructure.
The chairman is clearly a visionary and has developed a unique team of top industry professionals, who think in the same mindset and are always trying to work out what is going to happen next in the market.
The Group, now over 30 years old, was focused mainly on valve repairs in the early days before moving to its current integrated valve services approach, which is marketed as Intelligent Valve Management™. The company grew rapidly, due to strong relationships with its local customers, through delivering great service. In 1984, an enhanced testing facility was set up to enable Score to independently type test and certify valves for all manufacturers. The enhanced testing facilities also introduced the capability to test valves’ performance in extreme pressure and temperature environments, prior to going into service, instead of just testing to industry minimum acceptance standards. This development was necessary to ensure valves were fit for purpose in every instance and assured that they would perform when installed in, for example, harsh environments such as North Sea offshore oil and gas production facilities.
Today, Score (Europe) offers its services to the oil and gas, petrochemical, Ministry of Defence, marine, utilities and power generation industries – both nuclear and fossil fuels. It has a broad spectrum of valves available for immediate supply to the sectors it operates in. Meanwhile, geographically, the company has developed a presence in more than 30 strategic locations across the globe; these include the UK, Scandanavia, Central Europe, North and South America, Africa, the Middle East, the Far East and Australia.
One of the key things that gives Score (Europe) a competitive edge in the valve market, is not just the 30 years of developed valve knowledge and engineering capabilities, but its highly committed and competent team of people. Score is a people driven business and recently won the large employer of the year award at the Skills Development Scotland Modern Apprenticeships Awards; to win these awards you need to invest in the infrastructure of the company as well as the personnel. The training Score offers is unrivalled; it has even set up its own specialist training company within the group, which is something its customers are also benefiting from having access to.
Dedicated to continuing its sustainable growth through investing in people and infrastructure, Score (Europe) started its highly successful apprenticeship programme in 1984. Today, the company has almost 300 apprentices following a wide range of disciplines, accounting for around 20 per cent of its 1500 strong global staff. This number is expected to continue to rise, with the firm keen to take on up to 70-100 extra apprentices each year. The company doesn’t have a “hire and fire in boom and bust economies” approach, but instead favours the “job for life if you want it” approach.
In its early life, Score (Europe) excelled in managing and maintaining populations of safety valves and block valves, delivering cost savings and improved in-service valve performance to its customers in doing so. However, seeing the opportunity to expand into control valves, the company developed a strong team of control valve specialists and invested heavily in emerging technology such as valve diagnostic equipment, which was designed to focus valve maintenance budgets and activities and to verify valve and operators’ performance, whilst also improving process efficiency for its customers. This focus on technology has accelerated significantly over the last few years, with the dynamic firm investing several million pounds in designing, developing and manufacturing its own range of condition monitoring equipment and services. This has resulted in the delivery to market of products perfectly suited for compliance with performance criteria on for example safety critical ESDVs.
Score’s ultra-portable MIDAS Meter® is designed to monitor valves’ in-service performance at normally manned plants, using Acoustic Emissions (AE) technology to find leaking valves and then quantify their leak rate. The equipment helps owners to make the exact maintenance intervention required, at the optimum moment, to maximise in-service reliability, reduce exposure to risk and enhance process efficiency. Its MIDAS® Sensor is designed for more critical valves, where there is a need for continuous monitoring of valve performance in service. The permanently installed sensor does the same thing as the MIDAS Meter®, but without the requirement for manual data collection. A 4-20mA electrical output signal is sent back to the control room, where the signal is processed such that a graphic interface then displays the performance of the valve it is attached to. The user interface is designed to give a quick and easy to understand visual indication of valves that are not performing to the required standards. The most complex and advanced valve monitoring system on the market, Score’s V-MAP® system, uses additional sensors which allow customers to monitor their most critical valves – such as Emergency Shutdown Valves (ESDV’s), Pressure Safety Valves (PSV’s) and Blowdown Valves (BDV’s) – for any/all signs of developing failure modes.
Score’s innovative new products and services have put the forward-thinking firm ahead of the curve when it comes to upcoming compliance requirements. By no coincidence, these innovative new products and services exactly satisfy the HSE’s recommendations for valve lifecycle management, following their “KP4” audits of ageing assets, both onshore and offshore. The “KP4” audits found that platforms built 40 years ago, with a life cycle of 25 years, are still operating with in some cases unknown valve populations; i.e there was no up-to-date database of what valves had been installed (or when) and furthermore their owners could not provide evidence of what condition the installed valves were in. Looking at this issue on a wider international basis, the ISO 55,000 series of standards for asset integrity management are due to come into effect in 2014, which will recommend that all owners of high risk operating processes with mechanical equipment will have to manage their installed assets in line with best practice, which is to document the installed equipment and then monitor its condition over time. Score has invested heavily over the last four years and is continuing to invest to make the required valve condition monitoring products available. It is consequently now in the best possible position to support its customers in these activities.
With the Score team’s enthusiasm and passion for continuous improvement, investment and innovation, it is sure to continue to deliver benefits to its customers, creating opportunities and delivering success to all stakeholders in its chosen markets along the way.
Score (Europe) Limited
Services: Intelligent valve and gas turbine solutions