Simulation supporting certification: Challenges behind certification of offshore structures and simulation way

Company info
SDC Verifier is an engineering company in mechanical and structural design that provides engineering consultancy services and tailor-made code-checking software. The SDC Verifier software is a powerful standard checking tool that helps to automatically verify your FEA results according to 30+ industry standards (DIN 15018, EN 13001, etc.) within ANSYS, Femap, and Simcenter 3D.

Variety of offshore structures and standards 

Offshore structures usually form facilities for production, scientific research, oil and gas extraction, and wind energy generation, such as drilling platforms, oil wells, dredging operations, offshore wind farms, and ocean data platforms. Most consist of a superficial structure above the water level and an intrinsic underlying part. Harsh natural conditions like seismic shocks, extremely tall waves, sea ice, heavy storm or hurricane, and even a collision with a gigantic iceberg must be considered at all design and certification stages. Besides, some offshore structures are among the tallest free-standing structures in the world. That is why offshore structures must obtain many certifications to ensure compliance with all local and global rules and regulations.

Specific industry standards like AISC/ANSI 360-10, API RP-2A, ISO 19902, Norsok N004, and Eurocode 3 (EN 1993) cover the requirements for the steel structure in all working conditions and issues that may occur to the offshore structures during the lifetime, including decommissioning stage, where it is crucial to guarantee stability and safe operation.

How simulation helps the certification process

Because offshore structures work in extreme-stress environments, it is important to predict accurately how they will react to them. What is the load from the force of waves, wind, ice, and failure risk for the structures? Simulation as a calculation and modeling method allows you to design new and investigate the existing offshore structures ensuring their compliance with the standards and helping understand behavior under the wave, wind, current, and seismic loads and generate detailed fatigue life calculations. Using simulation helps to ensure safety and integrity during the life of the offshore project. 

An experienced engineer can perform the calculations required to certify and comply with offshore construction standards manually or using formulas in spreadsheets, but this is a time-consuming task which increases the possibility of error. Therefore, it is better to do this automatically by simulating and calculating directly on the model using specialized software. Moreover, simulation decreases the project’s cost by allowing numerous tests in a modeling environment without requiring real-life tests. Teams worldwide working on different aspects of construction can simultaneously check the latest changes and automatically use them in the cloud computing environment. Solving these challenges is a significant step toward safer and more cost-effective offshore certification operations. Still, for many companies, choosing the simulation is often complicated by the need to build an extra model. Furthermore, in case of changes in the design, they are rarely synchronized and have to be tracked and implemented manually, taking a lot of time for these actions.

SDC Verifier way

A reliable standard verification software has been developed to rationalize routine tasks aimed at passing the complex certification process. SDC Verifier works on top of ANSYS Mechanical, Femap, and Simcenter 3D without needing to build a standalone model for verification. All the changes in model design are instantly available for code checking. The FEA model is automatically verified according to industry standards such as DIN, EN, Eurocode, FEM, AISC, Norsok, ISO, DNVGL, ABS, FKM, and DVS codes, which are prebuilt and stored in a software library of standards. Moreover, SDC Verifier has an open API and a formula editor, so you can see all the steps in the calculation of the relevant standard, as well as modify ready-made standards in accordance with national annexes or create a check in accordance with your own rules.

The dedicated Recognition tool automatically detects beams, plates, welds, stiffeners, and connections based on mesh connectivity, allowing for checking any structure built with 2D or, in some cases, even 3D elements, simplifying engineers’ work.

Engineers often need to change the design to define the best possible one, reduce the material quantity, prevent stress concentrations, remove bottlenecks, and ensure that the structure overcomes all verification and certification steps smoothly. For this purpose, the SDC Verifier Optimization tool automatically checks the design so that the properties of beams, plates, and welds meet industry standards. 

Creating calculation reports is a requirement for certification, but it is usually time-consuming to create them manually, and is not a favorite job for engineers. For this purpose, SDC Verifier has a special tool — Report Designer — that allows you to automatically create reports based on templates and include all the necessary calculation results. Reports can be exported to PDF or Microsoft Word for further editing. 

The benefits of simulation for offshore structures certification

Due to the extreme conditions in which offshore structures often operate, they are strictly checked at all stages, starting from the design stage to decommissioning stage. Using simulation tools that are developed considering all industry requirements simplifies the engineers’ work, saving them time and money at all design stages. The dedicated software checks according to standards, automatically recognizing different types of parts, analyzing loads’ combinations, optimizing the model, and generating reports. This ensures the structures’ compliance with local and global standards and industry rules and regulations, and simplifies the certification of offshore structures.

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