The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult has taken delivery of a bespoke subsea cable bend fatigue test rig.
Northumberland-based Osbit designed and built the 15-tonne cable fatigue test rig to ORE Catapult’s specifications. The test rig is capable of testing floating wind and tidal cables, carrying out operational research and acting as a representative test bed for all aspects of subsea cable development.
“This project is a great case study showing how we employ our risk-mitigating programme delivery system to develop appropriately engineered solutions, fully aligned with our client’s requirements,” Brendon Hayward, Managing Director of Osbit, said.
“We achieve this by applying Informed Engineering, an in-house methodology combining awareness of functional requirements and boundaries, with understanding of operational objectives. This has supported us in ensuring a suitable system was delivered On Spec, Budget and In Time – OSBIT.”
The rig’s key features include testing up to three samples simultaneously, testing while fully submerged in seawater, performing electrical and mechanical testing simultaneously, and testing within a UKAS-accredited laboratory.
With cable-related failures accounting for up to 80% of offshore wind project insurance claims, the rig enables the testing of offshore array and subsea cables to improve their efficiency and resilience, supporting the development of next-generation wind farms and associated electrical infrastructure.
The development of floating wind represents an important economic opportunity for UK companies in research and development, design and manufacturing – with 4GW of installed floating wind capacity expected by 2030, representing an annual market value of GBP 3bn, according to ORE Catapult. The development and qualification of dynamic cables and connectors suitable for floating wind is crucial for the development of the sector, especially as these wind farms move further from shore and are subjected to harsher conditions. The offshore renewables’ sector has identified cables as a key area for technological improvement.
Alex Neumann, ORE Catapult’s Electrical Infrastructure Asset Manager, said: “By adding the new test rig to our UKAS-accredited HV laboratories, we are able to fully integrate our extensive suite of specialist test and measurement facilities and engineering expertise to provide a better understanding of failure modes and in so doing improve the efficiency, performance and resilience of subsea cable systems.”