Norway’s Red Rock says the first example of its new range of 3D motion-compensated cranes, which was installed on Bernhard Schulte’s service operation vessel (SOV) Windea Jules Verne, has fully met the shipowner’s expectations during an initial series of tests
As highlighted earlier this year by OWJ, the Norwegian company applied its expertise in software, sensors and mechatronic engineering – a multidisciplinary branch of engineering that focuses on engineering electrical and mechanical systems, including robotics, electronics, computing, systems, control and product engineering – to develop a next-generation crane for the offshore wind industry.
Kristiansand-based Red Rock’s crane for the SOV has a lifting capacity of 3 tonnes at 25 m, but the company is already working on a series of much more capable cranes that can meet the needs of larger wind turbines. It also recently secured a contract to supply cranes for Jan De Nul’s new heavy-lift crane vessel Les Alizés (see below).
The company has been delivering heave-compensated cranes to the offshore oil and gas industry some time, but more recently has applied its expertise in motion compensation to the demanding SOV market in which, in addition to compensating for heave it is also necessary to compensate for roll and pitch and the pendulum effect.
To do so, the company sourced its own sensors and put together a sensor package combined with specialised controls and a hydraulic system.
The company told OWJ that in testing at sea in challenging conditions, the 3D motion-compensated crane worked well, and Bernhard Schulte Offshore was able to transfer loads from vessel to offshore wind turbines safely and securely.
Red Rock’s software-based control system for the crane determines what the actual motion of the load is in real time. This information is used to compensate for the motion by dampening its effects with the company’s 3D tool tip. The motion-compensation solution developed by the company combines mechanical, hydraulic and electrical principles to perform the actions required by the software.
Red Rock chief executive Christoffer Jørgenvåg said, “Thinking outside the box and looking at how the customer will use the crane in practice, we discovered early on that there was a missing element in some of the other concepts on the market.
“While 3D compensation stabilises the tip of the crane and cancels out the motion of the vessel, motion caused by, for example, wind, adds another dimension, and is not accounted for in the conventional 3D compensation systems.”
As highlighted above, Red Rock was also recently selected to supply cranes for Jan De Nul’s newbuild crane vessel, Les Alizés. The company said it will supply telescopic knuckleboom-type offshore cranes. The new vessel is being built in China.
Les Alizés will be ready for operation in 2022 and will be fitted with a main crane with a lifting capacity of 5,000 tonnes. The vessel will mainly be used to construct offshore windfarms, but will also be suitable for use in decommissioning projects in the offshore oil and gas sector.
Les Alizés will be able to load out, transport and install multiple wind turbine foundations and, being a floating unit rather than a jack-up, will be able to install next-generation, heavy, large foundations in deep water.