Remote monitoring enables engineers to identify issues on cranes before they become problems, while hybrid systems extend the depth of subsea lifting
Manufacturers of cranes and deck machinery, not to mention vessel operators, are set to benefit from significant developments in the remote monitoring and analysis of their systems.
Measuring multiple sensor parameters from offshore and merchant ship cranes enables engineers to identify underperformance and condition issues before they become serious problems and cause vessel downtime.
Monitoring performance enables machinery experts to identify areas of improvement. MacGregor for example, has identified some key benefits and invested in digitalisation technology to monitor and analyse its crane equipment.
Macgregor director of new service business models, digital and new business transformation Daniel Lundberg explained this investment strategy during the Annual Offshore Support Journal Conference in London in February. He said vessel owners have “pain points” when it comes to operating heavy-duty and advanced machinery, including: emerging failures not being recognized; and component failures bringing operations to a halt.
However, monitoring crane performance using MacGregor’s OnWatch Scout reduces these risks, according to the company. “We can analyse and predict conditions and identify potential failures,” said Mr Lundberg. “We can minimise unplanned downtime and more effectively plan maintenance activities.”
This involves sensors on the crane transferring data to the vessel’s bridge. Here machine-learning models and data analytics is performed by Edge computing (offline) in order to identify and predict issues. The data is then further transmitted to a cloud-based facility for customers to view the same results on shore.
An alert is triggered when potential problems are identified. This is sent to onshore engineers and to the vessel for further analysis.
“If there is a fault on the crane, this data will be displayed on a traffic-light system that shows the alarm,” said Mr Lundberg. “An engineer can drill down to view the alarm. Regardless if there is a condition monitored- or predictive alarm, we provide domain knowledge such as recommended steps and spare part recommendations that is displayed onboard the vessel allowing engineers to deal with the issue directly. Same information is also displayed for team members on shore."
He believes investment in the digitalisation of cranes will lead to increased vessel earnings potential, efficiency and overall profitability.
Why invest in digitalisation of deck machinery:
The benefits of hybrid cranes
Investment in hybrid cranes can also benefit offshore construction vessel owners, according to Huisman Equipment sales manager Timon Ligterink. In his presentation at OSJ’s Subsea Conference in London in February, he explained the positive aspects of installing cranes that have both steel wire and fibre rope.
“Fibre rope is an economically and technically appealing alternative to wire rope in subsea lifting applications,” said Mr Ligterink. “But, heave compensation on fibre rope is unsafe and undesired due to heat problems.”
However, steel wire is heavier than fibre rope, so it has reduced deployment capacity in deepwater subsea construction projects.
Mr Ligterink thinks a hybrid system would work for deepwater deployments, without the undesired heat from heave compensation.
“A hybrid system of wire rope for heave compensation and fibre rope for lowering solves these challenges without requiring an active cooling system,” he said. “This is the best of both worlds.”
Reasons for fibre rope versus steel wire:
(Source: Huisman Equipment)
Huisman supplies a hybrid lifting crane with safe working loads up to 1,200 tonnes. Its latest contract awards have not yet reached this level. In November 2019, Huisman secured a contract for the design, engineering, construction and delivery of a 5,000-tonne tub-mounted crane (TMC) on board Jan De Nul’s newest offshore installation vessel.
This vessel is under construction at the CMHI Haimen shipyard in Xiamen, China. It will be available for offshore windfarm construction and offshore oil and gas platform decommissioning when it enters service in 2021.
Its TMC is designed for both main hoist and auxiliary hoist operations in harsh weather conditions and the crane is outfitted with Huisman’s dual main hoist system for easy upending of large structures.
Huisman was also selected to supply a 4,000-tonne offshore mast crane (OMC) to Royal Boskalis Westminster’s crane vessel Bokalift 2. This vessel will be capable of lifting jackets for wind turbines off the deck of the vessel up to 100 m above the deck.
A fly jib allows lifting of smaller components up to 125 m above deck. Hoisting tackles will enable this OMC to upend long monopiles from a horizontal to vertical position.
Bokalift 2 will be used after delivery for installing jackets for the Taiwanese Changfang and Xidao offshore windfarms.
Recent installations and agreements
Seaonics has delivered high-end winch packages for a research vessel set to be delivered this year. It supplied equipment for 183-m Rev, which is financed by Kjell Inge Roekke’s Rosellinis Four-10 and is being outfitted at Vard Brattvag in Norway.
The Seaonics package will enable lowering and lifting of equipment through Rev’s moonpool using a 20-tonne fibre rope crane down to 6,000 m water depth, according to Seaonics sales manager for offshore energy Lars Haahjem. The package includes a Seaonics control system with remote access and diagnostics and high-precision active heave compensation winch control.
Mr Haahjem told OSJ that Seaonics had also supplied an XT handling system for retrieval and deployment for subsea wellhead equipment to Odjjell Drilling.
This package was successfully tested on semi-submersible drilling rig Deepsea Nordkapp. It consists of an electrical-driven main hoist lifting winch, two routeing sheaves, a roller cross and an electro-drive container, said Mr Haahjem.
“This is the first delivery on a semi-submersible, but it could also be used on a monohull well intervention vessel,” he said.
Meanwhile, Liebherr Maritime Cranes is installing an HLC series crane on DEME’s installation vessel Orion in Rostock, Germany. It is assembling an HLC 295000 crane with a 160 m boom and height of 90 m. This crane assembly will be capable of lifting to a height of 180 m, with a weight of 5,000 tonnes at more than 30-m outreach.
Liebherr also supplied a travelling cargo crane TCC 78000 with maximum lifting capacity of 1,600 tonnes and lifting height of 158 m.
This year, Liebherr plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of manufacturing in the US by opening a new US$60M facility as an expansion to its base in Newport News, Virginia.
Heila Cranes has signed an agreement with UAE-based vessel builder Albwardy Damen to service marine and offshore cranes. This includes overhauls, maintenance, repairs, inspections, technical reporting, advice and the supply of spare parts. Heila has also opened a Middle East centre for electrical and automation crane servicing.
Heila Cranes also supplied cranes to a new dynamic-positioned multicat workboat being outfitted for Van Wijngaarden Marine Services. Kilstroom is a Damen-designed and -built Multi Cat 3013 with two HLRM 440-4S telescopic knuckle boom cranes.