Teesside University is helping a company significantly reduce the time it takes to assess where to place vital gas and fire detection equipment.
The partnership with Stockton-based Hazard Detection Solutions Ltd (trading as Hazdet) is helping the company to design hazardous event detection systems and is forecast to bring in substantial profits over the next few years.
Hazdet is working with the University on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) to develop 3D modelling software which that helps determine where fire and gas detection equipment needs to be situated on complex process sites.
The project is already yielding significant results with a software model developed which enables complex calculations which once took hours to be calculated and visualised within a fraction of a second.
Hazdet works with companies in the oil, gas and petrochemical industries and advises them on the best way to deploy gas and fire detectors to provide optimum coverage.
KTPs typically last for two years and are a collaboration between a University and a company.
They are part-funded by Innovate UK to help businesses embed innovations and improve productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills being generated in UK universities.
Computer Game Engineering graduate Cameron Cotterill has been appointed to update Hazdet’s existing fire and gas detection software into a high-performance 3D platform for use in-house.
The potential for its further development into a standalone commercial product is also being reviewed.
Since starting the KTP in December 2014, Cameron has already developed a working prototype of the software with a 3D interface, using high performance C++ programming to significantly reduce calculations.
A typical fire detection calculation which once took more than an hour to complete can now be calculated in less than a second. These efficiencies will enable the company to undertake a larger quantity and scale of projects moving forward.
Cameron said: “Because the calculations run significantly faster than the original software it means mapping jobs take much less time and also give us the opportunity to map much larger sites.
“We can also use the software on site with clients, supporting a more consultative process, rather than taking away plans to work on.
“The accuracy has also been increased which gives a result clients are more likely to believe and agree with.”
Hazdet now plans to use the software for a client in Qatar and also demo it at the Abu Dhabi Petroleum Exhibition and Conference in November.
Hazdet director Simon O’Connor said: “Our existing software was becoming increasingly unsatisfactory and Cameron has developed a programme which has helped to ensure the long-term viability of the company.
“The project has progressed much faster than expected and as we start to use the software on actual contracts over the next few months we expect to be reaping the benefits very soon.”
The business case associated with this collaboration aims to generate more than £1 million additional profits for Hazdet over the next five years.
Tyrone Davison, a Senior Lecturer in Teesside University’s School of Computing, is supervising the KTP. He said: “This has been a very interesting project which has raised some interesting technical issues.
“We are able to use the results of this project to feed into the teaching of final year undergraduate graphics programming students.”
For more information on how Teesside University can help your business, visit www.tees.ac.uk/theforge.