ABS has issued Guidance Note to describe the ABS approach for qualification of new technologies in order to confirm their ability to perform intended functions in accordance with defined performance requirements. They also provide details of the required submittals, the ABS review process and the key interaction points with ABS during the new technology development.
This document introduces a systems engineering approach to qualification that allows for systematic and consistent evaluation of new technologies as it matures from a concept through confirmation of operational integrity in its intended application. The approach is divided into a multi-stage process that is aligned with the typical product development phases of a new technology.
The qualification activities within each stage employ risk assessments and engineering evaluations that build upon each other in order to determine if the new technology provides acceptable levels of safety in line with current offshore and marine industry practice.
The qualification efforts by all stakeholders including the vendor, system integrator and end-user at each stage are recognized and captured within a new technology qualification plan (NTQP). Completion of qualification activities as identified within each stage of the NTQP results in a Statement of Maturity being issued by ABS attesting to the maturity level of the new technology.
ABS further notes that when applying these Guidance Notes for certification or classification purposes in conjunction with Novel Concept Class Approval process, the primary driver for classification acceptance will be safety even though there may be additional functional requirements (e.g., reliability) defined by the client.
The New Technology Qualification process confirms the ability of a new technology to perform its intended functions in accordance with defined performance requirements. The process starts with a comprehensive description of the technology to be qualified, followed by a screening of the technology to reveal the new or novel features that the qualification should focus on.
The process is divided into five sequential stages that progressively qualify the technology from feasible to operational stages as requested.
The five qualification stages are:
- i) Feasibility Stage
ii) Concept Verification Stage
iii) Prototype Validation Stage
iv) System Integration Stage
v) Operational Stage
The qualification activities are based on the information available depending on the maturity level and based on the findings and knowledge gained in the previous stages completed. Typically, there are two main sets of activities within each stage, namely, engineering evaluations and risk assessments.
Upon completion of each of the five stages, a Statement of Maturity will be issued to the vendor(s) and the technology can progress to the next stage of maturity. It is envisioned that some vendors may have developed technologies to a level beyond the Feasibility Stage prior to contacting ABS for this qualification service.
In such cases, ABS would perform an assessment of the current stage of technology development and endorse the technology with the applicable Statement of Maturity based on this assessment. The technology qualification can then proceed starting at that stage and continuing to the subsequent stages. Additionally, the new technology qualification process can be stopped at any stage, and restarted at an agreed upon time.
Further details may be found in the report herebelow