Describes the systems engineering approach to qualification, allowing for a systematic and consistent evaluation of new technologies as they mature from a concept through confirmation of operational integrity.
The marine and offshore industries continually invest in new technologies to streamline operations, reduce costs and improve safety. Recently, low commodity prices have intensified this effort. More often than not, these new technologies are developed faster than the industry codes and regulations that govern them.
This lack of service history, established standards or regulations for proposed new technologies raise questions about readiness, maturity and safety. The ABS new technology qualification (NTQ) services offer guidance on early adoption and efficient implementation of new technologies – demonstrating level of maturity – and that potential risks have been systematically reviewed.
ABS New Technology Qualification services are based on the ABS Guidance Notes on Qualifying New Technologies, giving vendors and end-users a clearly defined approach to confirm new technologies perform intended functions in accordance with defined performance requirements. The guidance notes also provide details regarding the required submittals and key interaction points with ABS during the new technology development.
The guidance notes define any new design (materials, components, equipment or systems), new process or procedures with no prior in-service experience or any classification rules, statutory regulations or industry standards directly applicable to them as a new technology. It is possible to categorize the type of “novelty” in one of four categories:
The guidance notes introduce a systems engineering approach to qualification that allows for systematic and consistent evaluation of new technologies as they mature, all the way from a concept through to the intended application in operations. A five-stage process is followed that aligns with the typical product development phases of a new technology:
The qualification activities within each stage revolve around risk assessments and engineering evaluations that build upon each other in order to determine if the new technology provides acceptable levels of safety in line with current offshore and marine industry practice. The qualification efforts by all stakeholders such as the vendor, system integrator and end-user at each stage are recognized and captured within a new technology qualification plan.
Through Statements of Maturity, issued at each stage in the qualification process, vendors are able to demonstrate feasibility and maturity levels to gain a competitive advantage with customers, partners and potential investors. Additionally, regulatory agencies can be confident that foreseeable hazards associated with the introduction of the proposed new technology have been systematically reviewed. Upon completion of the Prototype Validation Stage, eligible products can be “Type Approved” under the ABS Type Approval Program to limit repeated evaluation of identical designs. When all engineering evaluations are complete in the Prototype Validation Stage, a Product Design Assessment (PDA) can be issued prior to further consideration for ABS Type Approval.
The new technology qualification process is integrated with the Novel Concept Approval process to facilitate a seamless transition to Class Approval. An asset such as a marine vessel or an offshore unit becomes a novel concept if the incorporation of any new technologies appreciably alters its service scope, functional capability or risk profile. ABS can class or certify novel concepts when requested by using the process in the ABS Guidance Notes for Novel Concepts.
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|Identify design improvements early on – minimizing risk to project schedules and safe operations|
|Leverage ABS expertise in qualifying new technologies across industries – qualify new technologies using a defined systems engineering approach
|Demonstrate technology maturity from concept to operation with ABS Statements of Maturity
|Avoid repeated evaluation of identical designs through ABS Type Approval
|Validate feasibility of a novel concept for project partners by obtaining ABS Approval in Process (AIP)
|Provide confidence to regulatory agencies – that hazards associated with new technology have been systematically reviewed
|Experience seamless transition from new technology qualification to class approval