Robots and Planning Tools Increase O&M Vessel Uptime by 35 Per Cent

A mission planning software for offshore wind farms and robotic maintenance solutions could together increase working hours of vessels deployed for offshore wind maintenance campaigns by over a third.

This is according to the latest analysis within the EU-funded ATLANTIS research project, which is exploring the use of remote offshore inspection and maintenance techniques for wind farms. The project also seeks to optimise offshore wind farm vessel uptime by expanding the understanding of the relationship between hydrodynamics and safe vessel availability.

Operators prepared to commit to fast-emerging robotised maintenance technology can see significant gains, according to ABB, which developed a dedicated mission planning tool for offshore wind farms within the project.

ABB’s OCTOPUS tool, based on its ABB Ability™ Marine Advisory System, enables operations to be planned using safety limits based on acceptable vessel responses, rather than solely on the wave conditions.

In a desk study focusing on the ATLANTIS test location off the coast of Viana do Castelo in Portugal, ABB calculated the extent to which vessels deploying robotics-based maintenance, rather than personnel, can work across a wider operational window and increase vessel uptime up to 35 per cent.

“Accurate advice prevents costly last-minute cancellations in challenging but acceptable weather conditions, also providing clarity in situations where vessels can be idle in port when they should be working on site”, said Antto Shemeikka, Vice President Digital Services, ABB Marine & Ports.

Dr. Andry Maykol Pinto, Project Coordinator, ATLANTIS, said: “We firmly believe that remote solutions will play a greater role in vessel operations in the future, with smart decision support systems such as our OCTOPUS suite of products increasing efficiency without any compromise on safety”.

The ATLANTIS research project is being staged at two monitoring testbeds in the Atlantic Ocean: one in the waters off the coast of Viana do Castelo, Portugal, and the other further out at sea.

By better understanding how vessels and robots behave, researchers will identify opportunities to improve inspection and maintenance procedures.

With funding from the EU research and innovation program Horizon 2020, the project is targeting a more efficient, cost-effective and sustainable offshore ecosystem. The ATLANTIS project results will be made available under EU’s Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS).

Photo: EDP Renewables