The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic required an immediate response and shift in operating model to ensure that we could place the safety and health of our colleagues and clients at the heart of a resilient business model, whilst continuing to safely deliver on behalf of our clients.
Covering a wide range of competencies across
Materials, Technology and Innovation (MTI) and the Space &
Defence (S&D) sector, the Industry business unit showed
resilience in a volatile, uncertain, complex and
ambiguous year. Although below target for revenue, we performed
well against target for margins. The COVID-19 pandemic had a big
impact on manufacturing industries, particularly affecting our MTI
business. Margins were supported by a reduction in
travel with the S&D business delivering a
positive financial performance, exceeding 2019 performance and MTI
equalling 2019 in terms of contribution margin.
We started 2020 very well with a realistically optimistic outlook for the coming year. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic required an immediate response and shift in operating model to ensure that we could place the safety and health of our colleagues and clients at the heart of a resilient business model, whilst continuing to safely deliver on behalf of our clients.
In S&D, we restructured the UK team to focus on Technical Services and Project Delivery, which gave us sustainable effectiveness and an operational edge to see us through 2020 and beyond. We pursued organic growth, reinforcing relationships with key clients. We also commenced activities to identify and acquire companies that would enrich and broaden the portfolio of services currently available to our clients. This resulted in the analysis and due diligence phases for the acquisition of Interconsulting that was finalized in Q1, 2021. This will strengthen our presence in the Avionic Market.
Although MTI continued to experience a high volume of requests for proposals (€135M offers vs. €130M in 2019), the implementations of many projects were slowed down. In the third and fourth quarters, however, there was an uplift as we helped clients access funds as part of Europe’s “NextGenerationEU” recovery and stimuli package. Focused on areas such as smart factories, energy transition and decarbonization, RINA is well-placed and very capable of providing support.
Working to offset the slowdown in manufacturing, MTI focused on different groups of clients, such as the food sector, transferring technology and expertise to deliver new solutions in areas such as ensuring secure quality throughout the food production chain. We also accelerated engineering activities in delivering working prototypes and proof of concepts in the second half of the year.
Creating a sustainable future
Through MTI, we have strong connections to industry in helping to increase sustainability and decarbonization through both energy and material efficiency and can test up to 1,000 bar of hydrogen, supporting the test of components in readiness for energy transition. In 2020, we assisted industrial leaders in accessing innovation funds in areas including CO2 capture, recycling of organic waste, plastics recycling
and generation of energy from
The UK Defence industry is driving towards net zero emissions by 2050 (NZ50). To support this effort, we are helping it use data to increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions and presented a paper this year at the annual International Naval Engineering Conference (INEC) on Naval Vessel Mission Fuel Expenditure Optimisation.
Highlights of 2020
Across the Industry business, the main highlight for 2020 was the resilience and commitment of our people, who swiftly adapted to new ways of working to support clients. Our established relationship with
Thales Alenia Space Italia was reinforced as
the first system engineering support service
consultancy firm for the GALILEO Programme
and with a primary focus on security governance and cybersecurity services with a growth of 20% of revenues in 2020.
S&D successfully applied for and was awarded the Armed Forces Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award. This award is very much respected in the UK Defence Industry and demonstrates that we are a veteran friendly employer.
In March 2020, we were awarded an important cooperation project with TKES on Grain Oriented Electrical Steel. The results obtained during 2020 have strengthened our partnership, with high chances of new projects going forward.
COVID-19 brought Industry 4.0, energy transition and the importance of the skills of people all into focus, helping to drive decisions and investment going forward. RINA is ready to help in these areas and has ambitious targets for the coming year.
Looking at ways to increase revenue, we are actively looking to develop new digital platforms, increase resilience and create greater business opportunities.
Heavily dependent upon engineering hours, we
will enlarge our services and move to new
business models where we can reduce time
to market and grow faster. We will grow our prototyping business, increase competencies in advanced materials and strive to expand our market in the space sector.
Setting new standards in cybersecurity
Using its knowledge and capabilities in cybersecurity vulnerability assessment, RINA helped an Italian public administration organization to identify its vulnerabilities across its network and Internet published services. The analysis identified several known vulnerabilities that could have been exploited by attackers to gain unauthorized privileges. Thanks to this activity, the organization can now prioritize its mitigation and remediation activities to reduce its cyber-risk exposed surface.
Keeping classified information safe
In line with the National Scheme for information security evaluation for IT products, RINA provided customers with support for the risk analysis phase and mandatory documents development for two systems pertaining to the management of classified information used in the European GNNS program and the operation of a Defence System. Both activities, which are currently ongoing, are based on the Common Criteria scheme, starting from the evaluation assurance level defined by the risk analysis.
Digital security at sea
During 2020, several shipping companies asked RINA to verify their cybersecurity position and identify how they can establish or improve their cyber-risk management processes in line with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) recommendations to address such risks within the Safety Management System (SMS). Desktop analysis of documentation, on-board surveys and inventories were performed to provide “as-is” pictures to enable the companies to identify aspects not addressed by their International Safety Management (ISM) manuals.
Enhancing drone safety and security
The GAUSS project aims at developing a high-performance positioning system for drones within the U-Space framework focusing on VLL (Very Low Level) and UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) operations. Its objectives include fast and thorough achievement of acceptable levels of performance, safety and security for current drone and future U-Space operations. A key element is the integration and exploitation of exceptional features of the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) for precise and secure positioning to enable U-Space operations, supporting the management and coordination of all drones in the VLL airspace.
The main objectives of the project include obtaining a multi-constellation/multi-frequency solution with enhanced safety and security levels, reliable PVT for signal integrity, precise positioning and orientation of individual drones, enhanced navigation performance and manoeuvrability, and EGNOS integrity features and service levels.
RINA showing expertise in ‘out of this world’ cybersecurity
Galileo, Europe’s Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), provides improved positioning and timing information with significant positive implications for many European services and users. Since 2013, RINA has been involved in security engineering activities, especially focusing on the Classified service of the system reserved for government-authorised users for sensitive applications requiring high levels of integrity and availability while preserving the confidentiality of information.
In 2020, RINA was awarded two new activities related to cybersecurity:
Helping ensure supply chain operations
Following 2016 main gate approval, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) was obligated as a supplier of Government Furnished Assets (GFA) to comply with UK supply law and became accountable for obligations consistent with those of a regular Original Equipment Manufacturer. Unprotected by Defence Equipment & Support policy, the project team required visibility of risks, assured delivery of required equipment from the supply chain and de-risking of the delivery programme. RINA’s team of legislation compliance SMEs assessed which statutory regulations applied to the GFA scope, based on technical understanding of the equipment and the law. It advised the project team on how to present required declarations and supporting evidence within sensitive disclosure agreements for the strategic weapon system. The CASD Legislative Compliance contract is on-going and remains one of RINA highest value contracts for Space & Defence. The contract was extended in 2020 and will be extended again in 2021, before a competitive tender in early 2022.
Supporting competitive tenders
In December 2020, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) awarded Elbit Systems UK a £102 million five-year contract for a new Dismounted Joint Fires Integrator (DJFI) system. The system will equip Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) and others from the British Army, Royal Air Force, Royal Marines, and UK Special Forces responsible for directing joint fires. It is a dismounted network combat system powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and will interface with the UK forces’ radio communication systems.
RINA Space & Defence SMEs supported Elbit during the 12-month long competitive tender process in 2020. They will also assist contract delivery with a range of engineering services in support of Elbit’s design, verification, validation and capability deployment activities, including ILS, safety, and training. RINA hopes to further receive a 5 year contract from Elbit.
At the heart of military communications training
In a contract running from November 2018 to November 2021, RINA continued its support of the British Army’s Director of Information with its SSCT. The project aims to ensure military personnel are effectively trained to prepare, operate, maintain, administer and manage the BCIP system across relevant job roles through the delivery of high-quality courseware for the current and future versions of the system. The service is critical to the delivery of communications training across the MoD, with BCIP training materials used by Defence Colleges and Communications and Information Systems (CIS) Schools, the Army Recruiting & Initial Training Command (ARITC), and for distributed training. The delivery of courseware includes equipment emulations, cross platform eLearning packages, Computer Based Training (CBT)/Computer Aided Instruction (CAI) and instructional aids. RINA provides a cost-effective, reliable, and continuous service, delivering high-quality materials. The project team includes radio communication experts, course designers and multi-media specialists.
RINA to supply critical training expertise
Capita plc is responsible for training all UK MoD Defence firefighters as part of a major contract with the UK MOD to deliver Defence Fire and Rescue (DFR) capability. Support Capita and Defence through the DFR Project (DFRP), RINA reviewed all existing firefighter training for compliance and bought non-compliant training in line with Defence Systems Approach to Training (DSAT) standards. The DFRP is a critical operations support service that enables the UK’s military to operate appropriately and safeguard the nation. RINA supported Capita with expert training analysts and course designers, multi-media specialists and project managers. Capita is the largest business process outsourcing company in the UK (c.£4 Bn revenue in 2019); however, they do not possess RINA’s training expertise to deliver this critical element of the project.
Using AI to predict maintenance of underground cables
Terna S.p.A, the Italian transmission system operator, has committed to spend €7.3 billion to modernise and strengthen the country’s power network over the next five years by supporting Italy in becoming an “energy hub” for the European and Mediterranean area. RINA is supporting Terna in this journey through the implementation of an innovative and pioneering project to develop predictive maintenance algorithms for high voltage (HV) cables, using advanced analytics and machine learning techniques.
RINA established an expert team to design, develop and deliver state-of-the-art algorithms by harvesting and analysing terabytes of acquired data from thousands of installed sensors within Terna’s network. The project involves development of a predictive maintenance solution, the main objective of which is to enhance and optimize the operation and maintenance processes of the underground HV cable network.
Two projects based on RINA expertise in steel manufacture
RINA’s historical cooperation with thyssenkrupp Electrical Steel (TKES) in the field of silicon steel was interrupted in 2007 after the dismantling of TKES’ in plant in Terni. In March 2020, TKES awarded RINA an important cooperation project on Grain Oriented Electrical Steel. The results of this project obtained during 2020 have strengthened the partnership and created opportunity for new projects.
In 2020, Big River Steel, USA, launched a tender for a continuous annealing line (ACL) for non-grain oriented electric steels to produce special grades for automotive electric motor applications. Different to standard, BRS has expressly requested that the winner of the tender for the ACL will guarantee the performance of the entire production cycle to produce top electrical steel grades. BRS requires that winner of the tender be supported by RINA and activities should start in 2021.
Following its acquisition of TISCO in 2020, Baosteel is now the largest steel producer in the world.
Baosteel is working to consolidate its position in steel volume and quality, and further internationalize its business. In December 2019, it opened a new R&D Centre in Munich and, during the ceremony, signed a framework agreement with RINA for collaboration on R&D projects and service assistance.
During 2020 several projects have been discussed in detail and Baosteel has selected and approved a shortlist. The activities cover the entire range of competences RINA can offer, from product qualification to production support, from process development to product development.
Helping create a sustainable world through circular economies
Industrial symbiosis (IS) is a system approach that connects industrial stakeholders to leverage underutilised resources in a more integrated and sustainable way. There is a need for further knowledge on IS in Europe, particularly in the implementation and operational stages that require the support of harmonised frameworks and data reporting structures. The EUH2020 funded CORALIS project is a demonstration project designed for the execution of real IS initiatives and the prevention of obstacles faced by these initiatives. The project will address the technical, managerial and economic factors and set the basis for definition of IS readiness.
The CORALIS project will deliver a harmonised framework to monitor results and evaluate their impact from a life cycle perspective, implemented into a virtual assessment platform. RINA coordinated the high volume of Italian industrial participation. The project has embedded the idea of “Hub for Circularity”, which will be the European base for the integration of Circular Economy approaches.
Supporting sustainable fusion power for the future
RINA is a key supporter of the European Consortium for Development of Fusion Energy (EUROfusion), which backs and funds fusion research activities within the European Commission’s Euratom framework program. EUROfusion's mission is to pave the way for fusion power reactors.
RINA supports the development and qualification of innovative materials, fabrication of components, corrosion prevention and remelting technologies for circular economy. Key activities include simulation of water-cooling system conditions to assess life of components, development of advanced steel alloys, protective coatings, safe recycling of end-of-life materials produced both during operation and after decommissioning operations, and production of lead lithium alloys.
Helping the steel industry of the future
This project will develop a Blueprint for a sustainable, coordinated European steel skills agenda, and strategy for short-term and ongoing anticipation and implementation of new skills demands. The project will be piloted by the development of modules and tools and allow pro-active practical activities to meet the future requirements of the industry. It involves 24 European steel partners including RINA, which brings experience based on its applied research and training activities with Steelmaster and Eurosteelmaster, and high-level training courses at national and EU level.
Objectives include proactive identification of skills demands, accounting for skills gaps and shortages and forecasts of supply and demand; identifying ways for effective implementation of new vocational education content, and new ‘train the trainer’ and leadership programs. The partnership will further work to secure necessary political support, improve the attractiveness of the steel industry for talented people and increased diversity.
Communications of the future – which could support I4.0
RINA’s strategic consultancy with ESA and space integrators AIRBUS and Thales Alenia Space Italia (TASI), resulted in it being awarded two large contracts in 2020 within the ESA 5G and satellite communications framework: 3GPP and Narrow Band-IOT. Project objectives are to integrate safety layers and 5G standard protocols into the space satellite structure, and to demonstrate feasibility of satellite 5G communication for the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular, the projects are deployed to extend 5G technology to Non-Terrestrial Network to cover several use-case scenarios, giving the potential of ubiquitous data availability with no latency.
RINA has delivered one turnkey project for a key customer. The customer further employed RINA for additional services including design, quality assurance, prototyping, functional testing, and several layers of industrialization to finalize small series production. The project is continuing towards additional new products, evolving from the original design and enhancing robustness, cost-efficiency and reducing switch time to further match operative requirements.
Helping ensure the supply of life-saving medical equipment
In 2020, RINA provided technical support for EU Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive exemption renewals to COCIR, the European Trade Association representing the medical imaging, radiotherapy, health ICT and electromedical industries, for their member companies.
Medical devices, such as Computed Tomography (CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and ultrasound are technically complex but cannot be sold in the EU without RoHS Directive exemptions, some of which allow use of materials that have a smaller negative health and environmental impact than possible substitutes.
RoHS Directive exemptions expire and must be renewed before key deadlines pass. RINA has global expertise in preparing RoHS exemption renewal requests, in-depth knowledge of the EU RoHS Directive and a strong understanding of medical device technology and substitution issues.
There will be many business-critical exemptions requiring renewal in the future so that manufacturers in this vital sector can continue to sell their products in the EU.
Cutting the cost of windfarm operations
In 2017, the UK’s Offshore Wind Programme Board published a review of high voltage export cable reliability, showing that of the seven post-commissioning failures the UK offshore wind industry had experienced, issues in the fibre optic cable were responsible for six. Each failure was estimated to have cost just under £23 million in repairs and loss of wind farm energy production.
Ørsted and Nexans each produced modelling to investigate the mechanism of failure, identifying the fibre optic core as the cause. RINA’s cable engineering experts were commissioned by the Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) to undertake a Fibre Optic Cable Protection Assessment project to validate this modelling and suggest design recommendations to mitigate risk.
RINA put forward five recommendations which, although will increase the cost of the export cable between 0-0.5%, will not affect installation cost and overall savings will be significant compared with the cost of cable failure.