Smart, self-adapting tubular protectors

BEWi Energy

Enabling circular value streams through industrial design

We have helped BEWi Energy design smart, flexible, plastic tubular protectors that adapt to a variety of pipe dimensions and thread standards. Apart from facilitating for the users, the design also enables reuse and recycling of the plastic protectors, which otherwise are discarded after one use.

Going from 100 000 tons of discarded plastic to a circular value stream

The smart, flexible tubular pipe protector adapts to a variety of pipe dimensions and thread standards, which enables reuse and recycling of the plastic protectors, potentially saving 100 000 tons of plastic from being discarded every year.

To protect the threads on oil pipes during transport, plastic covers are used on each end of the pipes. The industry uses 160 million protectors yearly, of which the majority are discarded. This represents a total of 100 million kilos of plastic every year. To help reduce the problem, BEWi Energy has developed a solution - The Smart Tubular Protector. The product protects new and old oil pipes and fit a number of different dimensions and patents. This facilitates for the customers, as it reduces the number of variations of protectors from 1000 to less than 50.

The flexible and plastic-only design enables the protectors to be introduced into a circular material stream. BEWi has already entered into a distribution agreement with the Australian company Evolve Surplus for delivery and recycling of the tubular smart protectors.

Some protectors on the market today contain both plastic and steel. BEWi’s smart protectors are made solely of plastic, which facilitates recycling. This will mean a significant reduction of the CO2 footprint generated by the protectors.

Ergonomic and robot-ready

The new design is ergonomic and user-friendly. The protectors are easy and quick to install and require no tools at all, unlike previous models. The time for montage has been reduced from one minute to 2-4 seconds, which causes less strain on the workers’ muscles and joints. Moreover, the new protectors are designed to be robot-ready. I.e. they are designed for the possibility of robots installing them, instead of humans. As the montage of the protectors is often done in so-called red zones – high risk zones that can pose a danger to worker – the possibility of having robots handling this task is a great advantage.

The new design provides an ergonomic grip that fits different size hands and types of gloves. It doesn’t require any tools to install, which makes the process easy and quick, as well as less monotonous. For the worker, this is a significant advantage, as it exposes their muscles and joints to less strain.

3D printed prototypes daily

The project has been characterized by very close collaboration between BEWi and EGGS, testing and prototyping continuously. We 3D-printed two-component (hard- and soft plastic) prototypes inhouse in our studio almost on a daily basis. BEWi’s high level of competence within tool-production and their international network contributed greatly to the process.

We have designed 14 different variations for casing, tubing and drill pipes. The design is built from two components: the soft plastic on the inside of the protector provides a good grip around the pipe-threads and absorbs possible chocks. Moreover, it offers waterproofing and protects from unwanted substances leaking in. The hard-plastic casing protects from external forces and is equipped with ergonomic handles.


Sounds interesting?

Carl André Nørstebø

You should talk to Creative Director
Carl André Nørstebø
+47 404 01 141

Maren Sjåholm Rimehaug

Have a chat with our Industrial Designer/Service Designer
Maren Sjåholm Rimehaug
+47 900 55 398

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