Elevator's Accelerator: Ones to watch – Viewport3 Ltd
Founders from Cohort 3 of Elevator's Accelerator Programme have been working hard to ensure that Oilfield operators in the North Sea are offered improved levels of value from subsea scanning, with the application of new underwater scanning techniques by Aberdeen start-up company Viewport3 Ltd.
The north sea’s ageing infrastructure poses many challenges to oilfield and marine operators, something which will rise exponentially as the region moves further into the decommissioning phase.
Viewport3 Ltd is owned by Richard Drennan and Chris Harvey who met in 2016 during Elevator’s Accelerator Programme which they hold in high regard as a resource for start-up businesses. Richard and Chris took their 3d-data-based businesses into the Accelerator programme, and quickly realised the synergies between the two businesses. 6 months later, they founded their collaboration, Viewport3 Ltd.
Recently awarded incubator membership at Subsea UK, the innovative business aims to reduce the time and cost associated with performing subsea scanning operations. The company has developed a process which allows digital cameras to be used to glean geometric information, enabling engineers to import real-world shapes into their CAD design software.
The ability to react quickly to client requests for subsea scans offers a new level of efficiency and value to the subsea sector. “When an operator finds a concern with subsea hardware, it is often found through the digital camera of the ROV being used,” says Technical Director Chris Harvey.
“Too often, a call then goes out for a laser scanning spread, which adds a delay to the project. Our message is simple; leave the ROV in the water, let us chat to the ROV pilot and suggest best flight path for scanning, and send us the images. In many cases the virtual geometry can be delivered before the end of the shift, allowing engineers to get on with the work of remediation. In certain environments, we’ve proven the accuracy down to 60 microns; the width of a hair. If you can point a camera at it, we can work with it”.
The business has enjoyed a positive first year of trading and is on course to exceed its six-figure first-year revenue target. “We’re encouraged every day by the engagement level of local industry,” said Richard Drennan, the company’s Operations Director.
“Innovation has been a buzz word for too long, but in the current climate strong action is needed to stay competitive, and having a support vessel on hire for longer than needed can be a huge and unexpected cost for our customers. Advances in software and cloud-computing allow us to use the assets available on-site, namely the digital cameras. If we and other innovative suppliers are able to play our part in reducing brownfield project costs, we might just see one or two more developments get through the approval stages. Project CAPEX budgets have never been under so much pressure”.
Bill Brown, Technical Manager at TRAC Oil and Gas said: "Having conducted verification trials of the system on ex-service components TRAC Oil & Gas Ltd was impressed with the accuracy of the results."
The offshore industry spends millions of pounds every year to perform scanning operations on subsea and topside equipment, with applications in disaster recovery, lift and dive planning, and reverse engineering to assist with brownfield projects. Engineers are often forced to resort to more rudimental methods and it is believed the technology will increase the speed of projects, and make the outcomes more predictable and reliable.
“There is a wealth of talent in Aberdeen which is not being utilised. Anyone with an oil and gas background will have talented friends who are unemployed,” continued Richard. “There is a great opportunity at hand for Aberdeen to embrace and excel in this technology and nothing would make us happier than to be able to provide opportunities for some of these people”.
Jules Lancastle, Elevator's Accelerator Manager - Aberdeen said about the collaboration: 'Chris and Richard are definitely in a stronger position as a Co-Founder team. They are on our ‘Ones to Watch’ list and we look forward to supporting their continued success.’
Elevator's Accelerator Programme is open for applications until 1st December and events as part of the Founder Fusion Season, where you can meet fellow Founders and potentially find a future collaborative partner for your own business are taking place regularly at Elevator's Aberdeen Centre for Entrepreneurship throughout the next three months. Find out more here.Back to blog