Expert Design Systems

Professional background

Expert Design Systems bv (EDS) is an independent company, established in 1984, with the objective to materialise and market the specialised know-how of r+k Consulting Engineers bv on basis of software design systems.

The company is partly owned by key staff of r+k and partly by the owner of r+k. Although there are no formal ties between the two companies, the co-operation and exchange of know-how is intensive.

r+k Consulting Engineers has been established in 1961 and was known under the former name Rutten en Kruisman Consulting Engineers until 1983. The consulting engineering firm is member of ONRI, the Dutch Association of Consulting Engineers and member of FIDIC.

Pipeline specialisation

Expert Design Systems is specialised in dedicated software design systems for structural behaviour analysis of high pressure onland and offshore pipelines, buried as well as (partly) above ground.

This specialisation is based on the experience and know-how of r+k Consulting Engineers who, over the past 50 years, developed special skills on the behaviour analysis and related strength and stability design and integrity evaluation of such pipelines: high pressure pipelines in general for the oil and gas industry and low pressure pipelines for potable water transport, cooling water lines etc.

Materialisation of know-how

Expert Design Systems commissioned r+k the development of PLE-micro-CAD that is available now since 1987 and has been extended with special modules ever since.

The PLE-micro-CAD system is the result of a request from Nederlandse Gasunie in 1965 to design a methodology for the proper analysis of pipelines in soft soils with special emphasis on the non-linear character of the pipe/soil interrelationship. Afterwards the system was extended in the ’70-ties to include offshore pipelines. For Shell UK Expro many designs have been made or audited with help of this powerful system or its predecessor Belipo.

A complete redesign of the system contained in Belipo was started in 1981 to adhere to the new PC based computer use and modern information technology resulting in 1987 in the new system PLE-micro-CAD. This system in turn has been redesigned as Ple4Win in 2007 to run under the Microsoft Windows operating system. Developments are still going on to follow new pipeline design technologies as are included in new Pipeline Codes like the Dutch NEN 3650, British BS 8010 and CEN. Notwithstanding the application of such new technologies the Ple4Win system is still very well suited to adhere to the classic ANSI B31 Codes and their derivatives in many other countries.

The Ple4Win tool may be considered to be a world leading tool in its field, with the most advanced techniques contained to fulfill requirements of these new Pipeline Codes and needs of the industry.

It has shown to be of great advantage that all new facilities in the system are initiated on basis of the consultancy work done by r+k and EDS before release to the market.

Many design and integrity analyses based on a variety of internationally used Pipeline Codes have been performed and approved by certification bodies in various countries.

Spread of pipeline know-how

As a result of its marketing efforts and especially through the exhibition of the knowledge and application potentials contained in Ple4Win the system is now frequently used by others on a license basis. The system has been formally approved by Dutch Authorities and for instance Shell Expro UK has approved the system for use on their offshore pipelines.

The circle of user environments includes companies like Gasunie Netherlands, Gaz de France, Fluxys (formerly Distrigaz) and British Gas, but also certification bodies like Stoomwezen – a member of the Lloyd’s Register Group – and the Province of Zuid-Holland.

Application of know-how in specific pipeline projects

Apart from licensing the Ple4Win system as a general tool for pipeline strength and stability integrity analysis, EDS provides tailor-made computer based solutions for dedicated areas of pipeline analysis based on the 50 years of experience in this discipline.

With respect to special application area’s Expert Design Systems refers to the work on:

  • upheaval buckling analysis for offshore and onshore (overbending) pipelines,
  • pre-sweep and trenching analysis for offshore pipelines at sand wave locations,
  • analysis of suspended pipelines over deep bottom troughs,
  • bottom tow and J-tube riser pull-in analysis,
  • behaviour analysis of hot (and insulated) pipelines,
  • stability analysis of large diameter, low pressure pipelines,
  • behaviour analysis of pipelines in soil settlement and mining subsidence areas,
  • fatigue analysis of bridge suspended pipelines,
  • road- and river crossings, land-fall and horizontally drilled crossing analyses,
  • interaction analysis of building structures and attached or supported pipelines,
  • analysis of causes and development of repair options for damaged pipelines,
  • preparation of documents for pipeline approval by authorities based on various Codes,
  • “fit for purpose” evaluation of corroded pipelines based on intelligent pig measurements.

Auditing pipeline and other projects

Based on longstanding experience in this field, EDS is asked by energy and water companies to look in the conceptual design phase at pipe/soil aspects over potential routings, to assist on special design and installation items, often in co-operation with or on request of the engineering contractor or to act as an independent party to audit designs to be approved by the Client or to integrate work done by several parties, each dealing with its own part of the overall design.

As specialists EDS and r+k are as well asked to assist in claim handling and arbitration. Just to give another example, r+k are assigned by the (UN) International Atomic Energy Agency at Vienna to act as specialists on site evaluation for nuclear plants on the subject of “human induced events” with special emphasis on pipeline safety and the potential impact of pipeline incidents to the projected plants.

A similar specialised assistance was provided to the Municipality of Rotterdam for drafting the “Rotterdam Pipeline Rules” which code is in force now for the heavily industrialised Rotterdam harbour area.