Logistics And Frieght Forwarding

Motion and heave compensation add to load-handling capability

Motion and heave compensation add to load-handling capability CargoSafe uses a new 3D crane jib from Van Aalst Group

Despite the poor market for offshore vessels, manufacturers of cranes, launch and recovery and heave compensation systems continue to be developed, and access systems are being enhanced to handle equipment and light cargo as well as transferring personnel In October, The Netherlands-based Safeway added to its range of motion compensated equipment with an innovative 3D crane jib. CargoSafe is the latest addition to its range of motion compensated systems for the offshore oil and gas and offshore wind sectors.

The company says CargoSafe can be used to upgrade cranes on offshore vessels to 3D motion compensated functionality. CargoSafe uses a new 3D crane jib from Van Aalst Group, which owns Safeway, and is described as a “cost-efficient, compact add-on which fits any existing crane”. Hydraulically powered by the crane, the unit provides an additional auxiliary hoist that compensates for ship motions.

The controls are integrated into the crane cabin. “All vessel owners know the dangers related to swinging loads due to a vessel’s motions,” said Safeway. “This causes dangerous situations for the crew and limits the vessel’s overall working capabilities. With CargoSafe, the vessel owner can suddenly use the vessel for more jobs offshore.

CargoSafe is a logical step in development from our Safeway 3D technology. “We have often been asked by clients to increase the lifting capacity on our motion compensated gangway, but based on the trend of increased load-handling requirements, we found it useful to develop a smart, special-purpose 3D cargo-handling tool,” said Van Aalst Group chief executive Wijnand van Aalst. With the addition to its product range of CargoSafe, Van Aalst Group now offers 3D motion stabilised personnel transfer with its Safeway system and 3D cargo transfer with CargoSafe.

Basic design of CargoSafe has been completed, and a patent application has been filed. Detailed design is underway and will be completed at the end of February 2017. Recent months also saw The Netherlands-based SMST expand its product range with the SMST access and cargo tower, which it describes as “a complete package of tower with elevator and access bridge trolley system”.

The modular setup of the new system with variable height adjustment settings allows safe and efficient transfer of both cargo and personnel. The access and cargo tower, which is available for purchase or rent, enables stepless transfer from multiple deck levels up to a turbine or other offshore structure. The height of the access bridge can be adjusted to the landing height of the platform.

An integrated elevator with capacity for personnel and cargo pallets stops at several levels to optimise logistic performance of the vessel. The motion compensation system that is part of the access and cargo tower compensates for the movements of the vessel in all directions. Active and passive compensation are incorporated into the system.

A rotating platform, for which SMST says a patent is pending, allows operators to work port and starboard of the vessel, resulting in maximum utilisation and performance of the system. The concept is certified according to DNVGL-ST-0358 and based on proven components. In October, Dutch shipowner Vroon confirmed that one of its walk-to-work vessels, VOS Start, is to be fitted with Barge Master’s new Barge Master Gangway, a system that also enables transfer of personnel and cargo.

The Barge Master Gangway incorporates an access tower with elevator, providing stepless access. An adjustable pedestal enables it to connect at different heights. The vessel fitted with the gangway will be available for projects in the second quarter of 2017.

“During the development of the gangway, we worked closely together with Vroon,” said Martijn Koppert, chief executive officer of Barge Master. “We developed a total logistics solution for efficient installation and maintenance of offshore platforms and turbines.” Mr Koppert said the Barge Master concept has a small footprint and is light and of modular design. “Our next-generation walk-to-work vessel VOS Start will offer a very high standard of onboard accommodation for up to 60 client personnel plus a state-of-the-art walk-to-work configuration supported by Barge Master,” said Jan-Piet Baars, Vroon’s group director offshore. Seaway Heavy Lifting has awarded Dutch company Seatools a contract for the design and delivery of a piling template instrumentation and control system. The system will be used for the offshore piling operations on the Beatrice offshore windfarm.

The contract includes the complete mechanical, electric, hydraulic and software design of the pile template instrumentation and control system. Seatools also recently introduced an intelligent active heave compensation module, HeaveMate. It describes HeaveMate as an easy-to-integrate system for new and existing offshore and subsea equipment such as winches, cranes and launch and recovery systems (LARS).

It can be delivered either as an OEM package with the essentials for heave compensation (black box controller with sensors and software) or as part of a complete turnkey system, including mechanical and hydraulic hardware. The system has already been delivered for a retrofit project in which a passively compensated LARS was upgraded to an actively heave compensated system. By developing standardised, cost-effective active heave compensation (AHC) solutions with ‘smart tools’ for testing and commissioning, Scantrol in Norway has gained a growing share of the market for heave compensation equipment.

Earlier this year, the company delivered its 65th active heave compensation system. Over the last few months, Scantrol has experienced increasing interest in its products, even in an otherwise slow market. It notes that most recent orders were for adding active heave compensation systems to existing winches and cranes. “This can be a cost-effective, value-adding solution for vessel owners to be competitive in a market with a limited number of new contracts,” the company notes. “In order to get a contract in today’s market, vessels are often required to have AHC equipment installed on board.

For operators that do not have this technology, the consequence can be that the vessel is excluded from the bidding process,” said a spokesperson for the company, noting it has experienced a growing interest in AHC upgrades in the last 12-18 months, even for smaller vessels. Cranemaster in Norway recently introduced what it claims is the world’s largest passive heave compensator. The company said it has extended its product range to a safe working load of 1,000 tonnes and maximum stroke length of 4,000mm.

The new unit has already proven its worth during installation of monopiles on the Rampion offshore windfarm off the south coast of the UK.

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