Jan De Nul Orders Imeca Pile Gripper for Les Alizés

Jan De Nul has selected Imeca for the delivery of an electrical motion-compensated pile gripper for its new floating installation vessel – Les Alizés.

Les Alizés
Les Alizés. Source: JDN

The tailor-made gripper, with an integrated X-Laboratory guidance and survey system, will allow safe and efficient installation of next-generation monopiles with pin-point accuracy, JDN said.

The delivery of the gripper delivery is planned for the second half of 2022.

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With the construction of both Les Alizés and the jack-up installation vessel Voltaire well underway, Jan De Nul Group will shortly have the capability to not only install next-generation foundations, but also wind turbines, safely and efficiently, the company said.

”For this innovative Motion-Compensated Pile Gripper we have challenged our suppliers to meet our functional requirements,” Jan Van De Velde, JDN’s Head of Newbuilding Department, said.

”Imeca is an experienced system integrator with a solid offshore track record, and will form a strong team with its complimentary partner X-Laboratory, known for its innovative plug-and-play control solutions for offshore wind applications. With this gripper investment, we stay one step ahead in offering the renewables industry a one-stop-shop installation solution.”

Les Alizés allows the installation of very large components including jackets exceeding 4,500 mt, and heights in excess of 100 metres; and monopiles weighing over 3,000 mt and an outer diameter exceeding 12 metres.

”Previously tools and mission equipment were designed to fit for one project. Now our tools are designed to cover the requirements of current and future projects. This approach considerably increases sustainability as tools can be used for multiple projects, and safety risk reduces as the operators become familiar with the equipment,” Van De Velde said.

The Imeca Motion-Compensated Pile Gripper will come equipped with an integrated survey system that enables continuous monitoring of the monopile from insertion into the gripper to hammering completion. This will considerably improve the control over the monopile and will positively affect the decision-making process between operational steps, JDN said.

Thanks to the X-Laboratory Guidance System’s embedded emergency recovery control mode, the gripper will be able to control the monopile even in the hypothetical absence of the DP system and thrusters. The gripper will operate autonomously to keep the monopile and vessel stable, long enough to return all systems to a safe state.

”The challenge for this gripper project was to have a safe and reliable solution providing the required workability in all operational phases in an efficient manner,” Kara Konate, Technical Director Imeca.

”This requires a tremendous precision and reactivity on a large machine. We have achieved this through an innovative low friction bearing system and our internally developed electric drive and control system making use of permanent magnet assisted electric motors. Supercaps are used to reduce the power demand from the vessel. We are very proud to have been selected and look forward to our cooperation with Jan De Nul and our partners.”

Imeca is a trade mark of REEL SAS.

Photo: Les Alizés. Source: JDN