Hosing down the competition
SPIR STAR is a specialist in the design and manufacture of thermoplastic high-pressure hoses with spiralised reinforcement made of high-tensile steel wires, for use in the oil and gas industry, water-blasting applications and in highpressure hydraulics.
Founded in 1981 with four employees as a division of the hose manufacturer Papurex, the company quickly grew with the continuous development of new hose types and an increasing demand for high-pressure hoses, and in 2000 the management decided to substantially increase production capacity. Today, the company’s extensive product range includes hoses with ID’s ranging from 3-25mm and with working pressures of up to 46,400 PSI.
The company is headquartered in Rimbach, Germany, where all stages of product design, development, and manufacture are overseen and qualification tests are carried out. It employs around 60 people in this production facility, and the production and technical departments work closely with each other during the assembly process. This strong emphasis on teamwork ensures that SPIR STAR delivers high quality products and guarantees customer satisfaction.
Stefanie Malik, sales and marketing, at SPIR STAR explains the company’s dedication to providing a top quality service to its customers: “The proven quality of our product portfolio ensures customer satisfaction and we are committed to continuing to achieve this. Over the past 15 years we have continually improved our hose range and our ability to manufacture long continuous lengths of hose up to 4500m is one of the reasons that our products are approved and used by all of the major oil and gas companies, including Expro, Statoil, FMC, Total and Shell. We are also able to manufacture longer lengths of hose if our customers require it.”
Through many years of experience in the production and assembly of high-pressure hoses, the company has built up an expertise in the continuing development and production of its products and a specific understanding of what is required in the industry. A close relationship with customers enables the company to react quickly to future needs; this is in fact how the original product line came into being, as standard hose was not meeting customers’ requirements in terms of pressure, temperature, chemical resistance, permeation, weight and volumetric expansion. SPIR STAR has addressed these needs by developing a new product line, which was several years in the making.
Stefanie explains the company’s ongoing commitment to R&D: “One of the important tasks at SPIR STAR is the ongoing development of new hose types and fittings to meet our customers’ requirements with regards to quality, service life and reliability. We have a large R&D department, with a test chamber where our experienced personnel conduct very thorough tests relating to pressure, extension and durability.”
SPIR STAR also works closely with other companies to offer customised solutions such as offshore hose bundles. Stefanie explains: “In terms of the oil and gas market we have hand-inhand co-operation with umbilical manufacturers, such as Cortland Fibron BX, which provides integrated products for the subsea sector. We also provide consultancy to various engineering companies to set the design criteria for deepwater hoses in hydraulic use, chemical injection and umbilicals.”
Within the oil and gas industry, SPIR STAR’s products are currently in use for projects across the world from the North Sea to the Gulf of Mexico, and the company has recently expanded its worldwide network to provide services to Switzerland, Greece, Holland, Sweden and South Africa. Its hoses provide excellent high-pressure performance, very small volumetric expansion, are very lightweight, can endure temperatures of up to 150°C, and are resistant to most chemicals.
Among these are the HT and PPA series that have been especially designed for use in the oil and gas industry. The HT (high temperature) series consists of an inner core and an outer cover made of the material Solef PVDF, manufactured by Solvay. SPIR STAR is the only company in the world using this material in themarket and the design has resulted in a nomination for the SME (small and mid size enterprise) award at ONS 2008. Stefanie describes the company’s reaction to the news: “We’re very proud to be nominated for this award, it’s a great achievement and demonstrates our dedication to innovative products and constant development and improvement.
“The design of the PPA and HT series is unique, using an innovative material and it has several other advantages as well, such as a very low permeation rate and excellent chemical resistance.
“The advantage of it, though – and this is what the innovation award is all about – is the speed and ease with which the hose can be installed, combined with its excellent chemical resistance and low permeation. If we compare it to a steel pipe, this must be cut and measured onsite and the installation of the pipe is very time consuming and costly, whereas our hoses are delivered ready to install in the required lengths, and can be installed immediately with no welding or cutting needed. The ease of the installation means it is a lot cheaper too.”
Stefanie is also confident about demand for both hose series: “The oil and gas market is growing and because the HT and PPA series are so unique there has been a lot of interest in them. Also, as most of the oil rigs currently use steel pipes, we’re seeing a huge demand to replace these with our hoses.”
In terms of the oil and gas market, Stefanie is sure the future will bring more opportunities: “We definitely see the oil and gas industry growing rapidly in the coming years. We are continuing to focus on building our long-term relationships within our supply chain, particularly with Solvay and Cortland Fibron BX. We don’t just view these companies as suppliers or subcontractors, we see them as partners andwe want to build a strong network with them as the foundation of our continued success.”
The company is also strongly committed to greener options. “It is becoming more and more important to use environmentally friendly materials and practices in this industry and we are committed to implementing these options,” Stefanie explains. “We actually produce our own electricity at the factory to power our equipment and machinery, so this is very environmentally friendly.”
This dedication to providing environmentally friendly operations and high quality services, combined with a strong commitment to progress and growth, means that SPIR STAR will continue to deliver outstanding services, build on customer satisfaction and develop new products for many years to come.
Services High-pressure hose