Fugro’s expanded soils testing laboratory at the group’s UK headquarters in Wallingford, Oxfordshire

7th October 2013 marked the official opening of Fugro’s expanded soils testing laboratory at the group’s UK headquarters in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, by the Mayor of Wallingford, Councillor Bernard Stone. As a direct result of the significant increase in the number of samples being taken from offshore wind developments, coupled with Fugro’s existing work in the buoyant global offshore oil and gas industry, an investment of over £1 million has been made in increasing the space of the laboratory and in state-of-the-art equipment.

Fig 1. Roger Brown Associate Director of Laboratories at Fugro, explaining the new testing equipment to guests.

The floor space of the laboratory has been increased by 50% and recent new testing equipment includes systems from GDS Instruments: GDSTAS - Computer controlled Stress and Strain Path Triaxial systems, EMDCSS - Cyclic Simple Shear systems, DYNTTS - Cyclic Triaxial systems, GDSCRS - Constant Rate of Strain consolidation systems and GDSRCA - Resonant Column systems.

“We confidently expect demand to grow from the marine renewables sector during the next few years and are now ready to meet, and hopefully surpass expectations,” said Tony Hodgson, Fugro’s global renewable energy business development manager. “A better understanding of the seabed conditions can result in a more cost-effective foundation design. What’s more, the wide choice of foundation options means different types of soil testing are required to determine the design parameters.”

GDS Instruments has been supplying Fugro with testing equipment for soil and rock for a number of years. Technical Sales Director, Jerry Sutton, says, “The Fugro lab really is at the forefront of the shift to more rigorous testing and hence refined subsurface structural design - land and sea. For example, all of the GDS triaxial systems at Fugro are equipped with bender elements (for stiffness measurements), local strain measurement (for small strain measurements), mid-plane pore water pressure measurements and a new generation of loadframe capable of much more accurate test control and a wider range of tests. The types of tests that Fugro performs are custom designed for each project and far outstrip BS, EN, ASTM and other international standards.”

 Roger Brown with Mayor or Wallingford Staff and Guests of Fugro.  
Engineer working on Fugro's  new triaxial systems.

In the last ten years Fugro has been very active in preliminary and detailed soil investigations for offshore wind development in the North Sea and Baltic Sea, and more recently in United States waters, performing numerous preliminary and detailed geotechnical investigations as well as more than 25 detailed investigations in accordance with German BSH regulations. In the offshore oil and gas industry, Fugro has a long history of soil investigation testing with the group’s expertise used in the waters off almost every continent in the world