KAEFER Energy in Norway on Innovation

The many faces of innovation

The path to the future is illuminated by bright ideas. KAEFER Energy in Norway is at the forefront of innovation. But it’s not just about technology…

When we think of innovation, we usually imagine technological progress and new, exciting engineering. That is, of course, a fundamental element of it, but for the team at KAEFER in Norway, innovation has many further facets as well.

“When we talk about innovation at KAEFER Energy, we think of new ways to bring about improvements in terms of employee safety, differentiation, the economy and our colleagues’ work environment,” says Bård Bjørshol, CEO of KAEFER Energy in Norway. “If you consider that many of our people work in challenging environments, full of difficult operations when it comes to ergonomics, as well as exposure to noise, dust and vibration, innovation has to work for them as much as it does for our technology, clients and for our organisation. Innovation is more than just technology. It’s about improving working lives as well.”

Health, safety and satisfaction

One way in which innovation is a driving force at KAEFER Energy is through the benefits brought about by LEAN. In addition to providing greater efficiency, LEAN has contributed to solid improvements in health and safety figures as well. On top of that, the involvement of employees in evaluating and improving their own work-processes has been increased, leading to greater satisfaction and pride amongst the workforce. This was clearly demonstrated in the latest employee survey taken in October. So, by adopting innovative methods for efficiency as well as colleague protection and involvement, LEAN has helped KAEFER in Norway to make great progress on its journey of continuous improvement. Furthermore, Bjørshol highlights that one of the main goals for KAEFER Energy is to be “the best company for our clients and for our workforce”, which includes the highest possible job security.

“Innovation is more than just technology. It’s about improving working lives as well.”

Bård Bjørshol CEO KAEFER Energy

“Our aim is to become the most industrialised fabrication work-shop utilising and developing smart technology.”

Arve Martinsen Head of Innovation KAEFER Energy

In terms of developing and implementing new technology “our equipment and methods are directed towards enlarging our service portfolio and securing jobs by awarding contracts in the current marketplace as well as in new market segments,” he says.

A natural progression has been towards the efficiencies provided by digitalisation. Technology such as robotic process automation (RPA) can facilitate mundane, repetitive tasks such as invoice documentation, the collection and visualisation of HSE statistics or travel cost compilation, for example. On top of that, smart technology and innovative solutions lead the path towards Industry 4.0. “Our aim is to become the most industrialised fabrication workshop utilising and developing smart technology,” says Arve Martinsen, Head of Innovation at KAEFER Energy. “Digitalisation of data, machine learning and automation are key for our future and also represent innovations that we can export to other areas around the KAEFER-world as best practice.”

Braving the path towards ever greater transformation together

Norway is at the forefront of innovative new technology, in part thanks to the support received from a variety of government initiatives.

KAEFER Energy is currently working on several highly complex projects with a substantial research and development component. The high level of innovation has been widely recognised in the industry, as well as within the financial and public organisation community in Norway. As a Norwegian company, KAEFER Energy is in the position to apply for and possibly receive capital funding through various initiatives supported by the Norwegian government.

These state-run programmes are important instruments that motivate and encourage companies to seek development and invest in innovative solutions, as well as to increase the variety of partnerships that foster new technology.

For example, KAEFER Energy is taking the lead on an energy research project together with the renowned independent research organisation SINTEF, which was supported by the Norwegian research council.

“We’re very grateful not just for the financial support, but also for the fact that these types of programmes foster creativity, and innovation, with greater insight and more recognition,” Martinsen explains. Bård Bjørshol agrees: “It creates a culture of collaboration, research and innovative thinking, which we all collectively profit from.”

Finding the fuel of the future

One product of this innovative mindset is a recent, Lloyds approved and certified cryogenic fire box solution. At the end of 2018 a new ISO standard for cryogenic spills was released (ISO 20088).

The company’s response was a new kind of insulation box that can withstand liquified natural gas (LNG) leakage onto a pipe for 60 minutes at a temperature of -196 degrees Celsius, directly followed by a jet fire for another 100 minutes. The key lies in the way the layers of insulation are composed to resist extreme cold and heat. It’s a matter of striking the right balance.

This is just one example in insulation and there will be many more in the areas of maintenance, digitisation and smart machinery. Norway may well be known for its vast reserves of natural resources. Yet the fuel of the future is innovation and everything that goes with it.

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