MISTRAS Group has grown to become the go-to company for asset protection solutions, having developed industry-leading technology, solutions and skills that have been deployed across a number of key projects around the world. Supply Chain Digital speaks to Phil Cole, International Vice President about how the company can provide the assurance to clients from a range of sectors that their assets are safe, productive and compliant.
MISTRAS Group’s main offerings are heavily technology-focused, and enable a degree of asset protection that is not only world-leading and proactive, but is also adaptable to meet a diverse range of client needs including those coming from industrial sectors, energy companies, and those in charge of infrastructure assets.
Using acoustic emission, vibration analysis, advanced ultrasonics, and a portfolio of unique conventional and advanced NDT products and services, the company monitors mechanical integrity and can deliver both destructive and non-destructive testing. It can achieve all this while supplying customers customised wireless data analytics.
Phil Cole says: “We routinely inspect oil and gas Assets and civil structures such as bridges. Many of today’s offshore platforms that are operated in the UKCS are at their stage in life where life extension programmes are required and the skills and expertise of Mistras to perform RBI and NII is key to the success of these programmes to ensure operational and structural integrity safety.
“We are market leaders in technological advances in NDT with specialist systems for the inspection of areas of known concern in today’s environment such as CUI, trunnions, pipe supports, vessel saddles, and valves. Utilising technologies normally regarded as difficult to access or to interpret results from with our highly skilled personnel places Mistras in the position of being able to offer solutions which many others can’t.”
All told, MISTRAS Group is present in 100 locations across the globe giving it coverage of the UK, Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Its ability to adapt to the nuanced requirements of the industries in providing its services is impressive, whether this be oil and gas, nuclear, petrochemical maritime, paper manufacturing, automotive, or buildings.
Renewables Manager Nicola Mcglynn says: “MISTRAS Renewables Services offer a full and complete suite of inspection, repair and monitoring services. These range from structural monitoring of composite blades where our expertise was born from our extensive experience in the aerospace sector, condition monitoring of Nacelle and Monopile structures, to visual, photographic and video.
“Our experienced Renewables Team have worked alongside the world’s largest energy providers on some of the world’s largest projects such as the London Array, Gwynt y Mor, Whitelee, West of Duddon Sands, and Riffgrund.”
Cole adds: “Renewables is a great new area because people come to us with their problems, and we have provided solutions for them. For example, in the last couple of years we have invested heavily in advanced technologies, much of which is developed and manufactured in-house in our extensive R&D facility. We have also invested in excess of £1 million in our bespoke rope access training facilities ensuring that we have the capability and capacity to continue developing our skill set to service this growing area.”
The work that MISTRAS Group undertakes necessitates a well-educated, thoroughly trained workforce with industry-specific skillsets. With around 7,000 global employees on its books (1,500 of which are based in Europe) the resources and time that the company dedicates to training and employee development cannot be overstated.
Phil Cole highlights that investing in talent development does a lot more than simply ensuring a skilled workforce: “On some offshore projects, our employees might have had £20,000 to £30,000 spent on training in the previous 12 months to get them to the level at which they are required to operate.
“Most of the people who work for MISTRAS are very long term employees. We don't tend to have a high staff turnover in fact it is well below the industry norms. I've been here since 1979 and, similarly, there’s a large number of people who have been here for 20 plus years.”
The company has solidly invested in both practical and theoretical training. Its rope access capabilities are supported by a dedicated training centre certified by the Global Wind Organisation; MISTRAS Group also utilises a variety of online materials for both training testing purposes in line with its global presence.
“Within the Oil & Gas services division we believe strongly in training for in-service Inspection and regular trade testing to ensure that not only are the technicians formally certified but that they are also competent for the tasks that they will be undertaking,” adds Cole.
Cole is keen to stress that the technology-intensive solutions MISTRAS Group offers can save clients millions. He says: “If you look at the history of failures in process equipment, whether it’s power or oil and gas, there are far fewer catastrophic accidents today as a result of a more proactive approach to monitoring, inspection, and maintenance.
“Go back 20-30 years and it was not uncommon for boilers to blow up; that never happens now because you will know when you have a leak early enough to take action. It's the same if you're doing structural monitoring - the advanced notice allows you to plan what you do and to mitigate the occurrence of further damage.”
As a services-based company, Phil says, MISTRAS Group spares no expense when acquiring the latest technology in order to meet and exceed the evolving demands of the market but “if it doesn't exist but we know what's required” then the company’s engineers have the expertise and creativity to develop bespoke technological solutions.
He adds: “If you can perform an operation non-invasively using automation that of course saves countless millions for the client. On the Gabbard wind farm we ran substantial tests and trials on five turbines in the first year as a sort of trial demonstration, to make sure the technology was working properly. We then made the necessary changes and expanded it to close to half of the current wind farm in the following years.”
Having accrued nearly 40 years of experience, MISTRAS Group has grown to become a world leader in technology-driven asset protection solutions. The company’s expansion into the renewable energy sector – particularly offshore wind – has enabled it to weather the fluctuating oil price while strengthening its skills base and business offering.