Longitude Engineering

Longitude Engineering

Offshore marine engineering company uses Femap to expand its engineering capability

We use Femap because it is proven software with a reliable front end in which we have trust. It is a very cost-effective solution. Without a finite element tool half of what we do would be difficult; fatigue calculation, for example, would be impossible without a tool like Femap. Without the ability to carry out structural analysis with Femap, it would have been impossible to tender for the job. - David Bignold, Director, Longitude Engineering/LOC

OC Group member, Longitude Engineering, uses Siemens PLM Software technology to optimize efficient global collaboration for business growth. 

The overriding concern for clients, contractors and direct suppliers operating within the shipping and offshore energy industries is risk reduction. With technical expertise and hands-on experience, LOC (London Offshore Consultants) Group, is a recognized leader in this area, focusing on transportation and construction in the marine environment and advising on technical matters when accidents and disputes arise. 

The ability to predict performance in a range of circumstances is critical, particularly with regard to the structural design and analysis of offshore structures. This is the specialist area of LOC Group company, Longitude Engineering, which as a part of its core services assesses strength, fatigue and vibration in fixed and floating structures. 

Much of the engineering input required for a marine project is unique, particularly as structures are typically built specifically for each application, or modified for a specific project need. Core tools that analyze performance and strength are therefore critical and Longitude Engineering relies on Femap. 

“We use Femap because it is a proven software with a reliable front end in which we have trust,” explains David Bignold, director, Longitude Engineering. “As a commercial tool, Femap is used all over the world for challenging projects in aerospace, defense, automotive and industry, so we know that it has been thoroughly tested.” 

With 35 offices worldwide, LOC has access to many potential markets, yet the specialized capability underpinned by Femap was initially limited to just one of Longitude Engineering’s sites. Although larger offices within the group did undertake some engineering, smaller offices simply did not have access to the tools. “There was clearly a huge opportunity to strengthen our engineering capacity, be more consistent when bidding for multi-national contracts and deliver a better service to customers,” says Bignold. “It seemed to me that extending and encouraging the use of Femap was key, yet it was difficult to build a business case for this on the traditional model of named user licenses for specific locations.” 

With licenses available across a wide area network in five different time zones, consultants across the globe can now standardize on Femap. “Our network across the company used to consist of individual servers specific to each office. Now we have connectivity across all our servers and engineers can access Femap on their own computers,” comments Bignold. “The software is actually on their machines, they log on to a license and it is easy to see exactly who is logged on.” 

This allows ‘follow the sun’ efficiency for LOC’s global workforce. For example, as United Kingdom (UK) engineers begin their business day, they can take over licenses used by co-workers in Singapore; and at the end of their day they pass them to users in the United States. As there is no fixed overhead for using Femap, there is every incentive to access a license for any analysis need. “It is a very cost-effective solution,” says Bignold. 

The use of Femap is helping to achieve engineering consistency across the group, with LOC operating at a high level and Longitude Engineering going into the full detail. 

According to David Bignold, the role for LOC and Longitude Engineering is to provide better information. Femap is used to show, for example, what forces a structure can withstand, or where material can be reduced. “Clients do expect us to know worst case scenarios, particularly when they do not have their own in-house engineering expertise,” he says. 

“We have the capability to do a very powerful analysis like a non-linear calculation to estimate the structural response and size of a dent that would be created in the event of a boat impact against a fixed or floating structure.” 

In terms of business growth, the advantage for LOC is that it is now a one-stop shop offering design and assessment of structures using finite element analysis. 

David Bignold notes, “Working independently or together, LOC and Longitude Engineering need to be looking for big projects across the world. A portion of these projects will include finite element analysis and Femap has the power to do more than we need.”
“In fact, without a finite element tool half of what we do would be difficult; fatigue calculation, for example, would be impossible without a tool like Femap.” he concludes.