UK marine engineering company Houlder has delivered the first of two offshore pile upending tools for the 400MW Rampion offshore wind farm development, off the Sussex coast.
Through wireless auto-engagement, the tools help reduce crane times and installation costs while keeping personnel away from hazardous deck locations. The remote controlled hook-up and release system engages directly with the foundation pile flanges.
It is a self-contained system with rechargeable hydraulic and electric supplies. Recharging is carried out at a deck-mounted docking station.
“The pile upending tools are compatible with 855t 5m diameter piles. These are not small pieces of equipment and handling them offshore, let alone upending them from 0 to 90 degrees, is one of the riskiest operations during wind farm construction. Our tool needed to be incredibly robust, but also lightweight enough to ensure easy integration with existing craneage. Some very ingenious design work has gone into the steel structure and hydraulics. It also goes without saying the control system needed to be simple to use but also provide complete fail safety,” Andy Lovell, the Project Director, said.
The first of the tools was installed on the MPI Discovery in January 2016. The second will be delivered to the Pacific Orca installation vessel later in the year alongside other Houlder handling equipment currently in development.
“By working with E.ON and the Rampion project so closely, Houlder is playing a key role in developing UK offshore wind infrastructure – providing a fantastic opportunity to innovate,” ” said James A. Russell, Houlder Marine Equipment Director.
”We can do this because our engineers have practical hands on experience of offshore construction. Our work is not theoretical and this feeds into our equipment designs including the Rampion pile upending tools. We supply on a completely turnkey basis on both our purchase and rental contracts. Customers experience a seamless design, fabrication and installation service. When requested we also offer training, maintenance and emergency call-out services.”
The Rampion offshore wind farm, developed by E.ON, the UK Green Investment Bank and Canadian energy company Enbridge.Ltd., is due to be completed in 2018.