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FMC Technologies develops shape memory alloy solution for subsea industry

FMC Technologies has developed and patented a technology to replace the orbital welding process used to connect small-bore hydraulic tubing used in subsea equipment — the Shape Memory Alloy Subsea Fitting. The technology is based on shape memory alloys — a nickel-titanium material that returns to its original shape after being subjected to environmental changes, such as temperature or pressure. This material is widely used in the automotive, aerospace and biomedical industries. However, FMC Technologies is pioneering its application underwater and solving the problems of corrosion and susceptibility to hydrogen embrittlement that can occur in a subsea environment.

The Shape Memory Alloy Subsea Fitting represents a significant cost and lead-time reduction compared with the orbital welding process. It simplifies and speeds up assembly and inspection times. “FMC Technologies consistently pursues solutions to reduce costs and improve lead time with the highest safety and quality standards,” Paulo Couto, Technology and Engineering Vice President at FMC Technologies Brazil, said. “We are excited about the Shape Memory Alloy Subsea Fitting and certain of its future widespread adoption and subsea application.”

The technology development was done in partnership with Shell Brazil and has earned FMC Technologies a Spotlight on New Technology award at OTC Brazil 2015. The award recognizes extraordinary inventiveness within the E&P industry that contributes to the careful and efficient development of offshore resources.

FMC Technologies has full capabilities in Brazil, including technology development, engineering, manufacturing and services for subsea production and processing systems. Regional operations include two manufacturing facilities, a technology center in Rio de Janeiro and a service base in Macaé.

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