Olnica helps the Vallourec counterfeit committee with a high-performance solution against counterfeit steel pipes.
R&D team of 500 engineers in 6 research centers around the world
Budget of €47 million on its R&D operations
Vallourec filed 28 patents in 2017
“Given the critical nature of the applications and projects on which our tubes are used, it was crucial for our in-house Counterfeit Committee to quickly find cutting-edge solutions to act against counterfeiters at different points in the supply chain.”
Protecting high-value steel
Vallourec is a world leader in seamless steel tubes, automotive parts and stainless steel, which it provides to the energy, construction, automotive and mechanical industries.
Seamless steel pipes, used for complex industrial applications such as oil and gas wells or next-gen power plants, are highly safety sensitive. They’re exposed to extreme pressures and high temperatures, often in harsh environments. Their failure could have devastating consequences.
The higher the value, the greater the risk
The seamless steel pipe manufacturer was dealing with the threat of counterfeit products entering its supply chain, in the 20 countries in which it operates. These products used the trademarks of Vallourec – a company which spends over $60 M annually on R&D – and even came with false certificates. By confusing customers about the source of products, counterfeiters were illegally gaining a profit from the Group’s investments and reputation. And there was a risk of accidents if the counterfeit products were substandard and non-compliant with industry standards. In that case, Vallourec would be held responsible. The Group also risked losing customers drawn to cheaper products.
A 2-step process to verify and authenticate
In 2017, Vallourec called on Olnica to help develop a double brand-protection solution for Vallourec, called Valguard.
As Vallourec tubes come off the manufacturing line, they are issued a unique certificate. These describe the properties of each tube, and are used as a first-phase check on the validity of Vallourec products. Each certificate is given a QR code, and is digitized by Olnica, storing time-stamped data in the Olnica Cloud. In the field, any worker can now check the validity of the code with a smartphone app.
Then the pipes themselves are authenticated. A uniquely coded Olnica Taggant is applied to the surface of the pipes in the mill. Using Olnica’s Pocket Lab sensor and the Authenticate smartphone app, anyone along the supply chain can now check the pipes’ origins beyond doubt. And weed out substandard pipes that shady vendors may try to smuggle into the supply chain.
Olnica Customer Successdesigned unique solution.
Olnica Flashlightfor easy visual identification in the field. Olnica Pocket Labportable reader.
Olnica Authenticateapp for iOS and Android Olnica Secure Track & Trace Cloud
Robust for industry
The solution is robust – it has to be as it’s used in all tubular products and process applications: petrochemicals, industry, mechanics, oil and gas line pipes and power generation.
Intellectual property protection
The Group’s technological edge – the result of a massive global R&D team – is safe, as is the company’s image and financial results.
Ongoing support for the jointly-developed Valguard solution comes from Olnica’s Customer Success Team. Making sure the anti-counterfeit solution stays a step ahead of the criminals.