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The next generation

By combining the use of cutting-edge technology and in-depth knowledge of the offshore drilling industry, Aker Solutions and its customers are ready to create a new industry standard.


The official opening of Aker Solutions' iPort centre takes place during the Offshore Northern Seas (ONS) conference in Stavanger, the largest energy and offshore conference in Norway.

First Interactive’s main product is 3D simulator software technology for training, planning and testing purposes in relation to drilling projects. The technology behind the simulators is derived from the gaming arena, which has given strong data processing engines and great visual quality. Techniques such as laser scanning are used to get the physical measurements of every rig correct.

The process is called Visioneering®; the combination of visualsation technology and engineering. Visioneering® goes beyond the simple use of simulators and involves cooperation and close dialogue with the client at every stage of every project.

“The main feedback from clients has been that the simulator makes quality assurance of rigs and equipment much easier,” says Ole Paulsen, CEO of First Interactive. “Having access to complex information, in the form of images, simplifies project planning and execution, clarifies communication, and reduces risk and cost in addition to having simulators as working tools,” says Paulsen.

Furthermore, training in simulators has proved to be an efficient way of gaining offshore experience without ever having set foot on a rig, which provides significant cost and HSE benefits.

The uniqueness of the iPort Centre is that it combines the simulators, technological facilities and services under one roof – in one port. The iPort Centre will have five main areas on the ground floor, each equipped with a simulator. The five areas include a dome shaped training simulator; two Visioneering® suites; a mission control room, and an online rig support room.

The dome simulator will be the biggest simulator in the iPort. It will mainly be used for training of offshore personnel.

In the two Visioneering® suites, personnel can meet for planning, engineering and precommissioning; to check compatibility between pieces of machinery; to check compatibility between existing software/equipment and new software/equipment to be installed - all in accordance with the Visioneering® work method.

In the mission control room, clients can bring their own servers and have access to simulators to visualise drill floor activities (XfactorDES) and drilling processes (XfactorDPV) from their rigs. Other possibilities include multi-discipline operational training, well construction and drilling management, mission control and support.

The online rig support room will contain personnel who provide 24 hour support for troubleshooting and general support for day-to-day operations. The support personnel will have access to all rig documentation as well as a simulator. The hope is that this will improve the communication between onshore and offshore personnel and facilitate rig operation and repair without having to send personnel offshore.

In addition, the first floor will have a small cinema with a specialised screen, walkways, and a meeting room associated with the mission control room.

With all these technological inventions and facilities available, the iPort centre will provide clients and visitors with everything they need to ensure their projects’ success – all under the same roof.

Read more about the solutions behind the iPort centre:
Visioneering® combines “visualisation” and “engineering” in a brand new work method. Here, planning, organisation and project execution involves the use of 3D simulators for testing, training and quality assurance every step of the way. The ultimate goal is to reduce risk, ensure reliability, and lower offshore operational downtime and costs.

Xatrix™ is a 3D engine, and the foundation of First Interactive’s suite of 3D simulators. Based on advanced gaming technology, Xatrix™ is capable of handling large quantities of data simultaneously, portraying these as highly detailed 3D scenarios and landscapes. Xatrix² is the new version of the Xatrix™ engine. It is still under development, but new features include more realistic lighting and shading to 3D scenes and improved 3D model initialisation and loading speed, enhancing the user experience.

XfactorDES (drilling equipment simulator) generates identical 3D models of rigs, including their control systems. The simulations are so accurate they can be used to test the actual equipment, train offshore crews, and plan entire projects – all while remaining onshore. The PDES (portable DES) is in a transportable container, thus it can be moved to different locations without having to be de- and re-assembled.

XfactorDPV (drilling process viewer) receives signals from the many sensors on and around the drilling equipment, which are then translated into detailed images of the drilling operation. This provides a clear picture of the health, progress and risk factors in the well, which would otherwise be portrayed as graphs and numbers.

XfactorMOS (marine operation simulator) is built upon Xatrix™. It has identical control systems and physics to those of the ROVs (remote operation vehicles) used for subsea operations, as well as a collision detection system. Including the data regarding subsea constructions and their surrounding environment, XfactorMOS can be used for virtual subsea construction check-ups and maintenance, as well as subsea operation planning.

XfactorLOS (lifting operation simulator) is also built upon Xatrix™. XfactorLOS has identical control systems to the simulated cranes; space management technology, and collision detection. XfactorLOS can be used for pre-testing, planning, or to demonstrate lifting operations before these are implemented with real cranes.

XfactorRTM (Real Time Monitor) is under development. Its function will be to gather information from offshore platforms and forward it to their simulated versions. It is still in need of some finishing touches, but has made it to the testing stage.

Aker Solutions ASA headquarter
Snarøyveien 20, P.O.Box 169,
NO-1364 Fornebu, Norway
Phone: +47 67 51 30 00
Fax: +47 67 51 30 10

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