‘With this everybody can become Barney’
Reducing costs, increasing efficiency and ensuring safety in order to achieve optimum results on their project, this is what every offshore contractor dreams of. It is also exactly what IHC IQIP had in mind when developing the Combi Lifting Spread. By creating a crane tool that can safely and easily be linked to the different equipment required during the installation process, IQIP found an efficient way to reduce risks, time and also costs during foundation installation and decommissioning.
The idea for developing the Combi Lifting Spread came in 2014 during an offshore wind farm project in Germany. Watching the boom motion while lifting different pieces of installation equipment triggered IQIP to engineer a more efficient solution. “Typical offshore cranes have a set of slings to connect to equipment. The main hook needs to be lowered to deck level to connect and disconnect the slings. This requires manpower and time and it also generates considerable wear to the crane sheaves and wires making the project more costly,” says IQIP’s Technical Account Manager Henk van Vessem. “We wanted to find a way to reduce the crane movements and thus speed up the installation process while at the same time reducing the risks for the crew.”
Wear and tear on steel wires and sheaves is caused by the poor spooling on drums due to lack of tensioning. This is caused by limited load during long empty hook traveling. Henk: “To prevent this, hook traveling needs to be limited as much as possible and/or the empty crane hook weight needs to be optimised. By combining an upending tool (UET) with other existing equipment this challenge could be solved. After potential customers validated this solution, the UET evolved to what we now call the Lifting Connector.”
But the tool does more than reduce hook traveling and optimise the empty hook weight. The socket connection clamps within the Lifting Connector make it possible to easily connect with the different pieces of installation equipment. This not only reduces the hook traveling height, but also the bending and straightening of ropes caused by huge height differences. “And it reduces the number of shackles, hoisting slings and spare parts needed on deck where space is already very limited,” adds Henk. “By creating a Combi Lifting Spread with which we can easily lift multiple pieces of equipment, we have not only reduced the crane movements by over 50%, but also the man power required for manually connecting the slings between the crane and the installation equipment. We made the whole operation safer by limiting human interference. Together with less wear and tear, this will have a direct impact on the maintenance costs of the installation equipment.”
But there is more to this solution than meets the eye. Although IQIP’s services extend to assisting contractors on site and operating their own equipment, the Combi Lifting Spread is also easy to operate by any crane operator. The new functionalities, like GPS, Video Image Processing and the Base Inclination System, that are currently under development and will be added in the future, will further simplify usability. The operator will effortlessly be able to hit bullseye and link the Lifting Connector to the sockets of the needed installation equipment, thus reducing monopile installation time by at least 10%. “With this equipment, every crane operator can become a Barney*.”
*Raymond van Barneveld, nicknamed Barney, is a Dutch professional darts player and five time World Darts Champion.