Effective simulation and analysis management using AELCloud

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The Problem

Geo-intelligence and asset integrity provider, Fugro, required a large number of simulations of subsea power cable installation operations to be performed to verify procedures, component sizes and weather windows. Some of the analysis results were required at critical milestone points within the larger project which mean server capacity needed to be scalable on demand to meet these deadlines.

The Solution

To handle this project, we implemented our AELCloud system. This software is an online platform which we developed in-house, which runs analysis and simulations on both cloud and the client’s own local servers. It drastically reduces the time traditionally needed to run simulations, and ensures information amassed is high-quality and traceable.

On this subsea installation project alone, AgileTek ran about 27,000 OrcaFlex simulations, equating to around 57,000 hours or just over six years’ simulation time. Eight terabytes of simulation file binary data were saved and AELCloud processed a total of 1.5 billion data points for critical metrics in the system.

Data at this scale cannot be stored on a laptop or processed with Microsoft Excel, which is why AgileTek have invested in a distributed digital data store with built in redundancy and a highly efficient query language.

Using AELCloud created a number of benefits:

  • Historically, engineering companies have owned their own physical servers, controlled and managed by corporate IT departments. AgileTek does not have an IT department and do not own any physical servers. Instead, we use on-demand server technology in the cloud to provide large machines that are optimised for computationally intensive tasks such as OrcaFlex analysis.

  • For the AgileTek engineers, visualising and inspecting the data for these simulations was effortless with the AELCloud web interface. The critical loadcases were clearly highlighted and links to graphs showing key metrics were plotted right in the user's web browser. Summary results sheets were then automatically produced to highlight the weather limits for key operations. These were provided in a format that is easy to use on the vessel, while modelling methodology is documented separately in a concise engineering report.
  • The true power of AELCloud is that all data transfer, results specification, results post-processing and reporting is performed automatically on a secure web application. This dramatically reduces the number of manual steps required to report the critical results.

    AgileTek's Managing Director, Steve Rossiter explained the rationale behind developing AELCloud: "I'd seen too many projects over the years where the time to processes simulations resulted in delays that impacted project milestones, production slots and vessel availability.

    “Constraints on storing and processing data also cause analysts to make assumptions about what data is worth processing and what isn't. In the age of big data these delays and limitations should not exist and so we built AELCloud to take advantage of this new wave of technology. After a year of development, it was great to see the system in action on this project with Fugro.”