Ampelmann has teamed up with Seaqualize, a Dutch marine motion technology specialist, to develop a new version of its offshore access system for smaller vessels, such as crewboats.
The Ampelmann S-type motion compensated offshore access systems is designed specifically for integration into large, high-speed vessels such as those involved in crew change operations.
It is designed to compensate for the sometimes challenging motion characteristics of these vessels when in dynamic positioning (DP) mode alongside a platform. This is combined with a significant reduction in power requirement and weight of the gangway which has made it possible to install it on small vessels.
The solution Ampelmann has developed incorporates heave compensation technology from Seaqualize. This patented technology engages the non-linear force of a gas spring to create an easily adjustable counterbalance, enabling balanced heave compensation. Numerical and scale models have demonstrated the energy efficiency of luffing can be increased to more than 90%.
A full scale prototype of the S-type was funded by a subsidy of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs. While primarily targeting the crew change market, the offshore wind market will also hold opportunity for this new generation of gangway, due to the reduction in power requirements and weight.
Ampelmann’s commercial manager Wiebe Jan Emsbroek said “The crew change market requires a lightweight transfer system which enables safe and cost-effective alternative to other crew change methods, such as helicopters.
“Integrating balanced heave compensation technology into the S-type will offer a huge energy saving of up to 50% compared to our current gangways. It utilises electric actuators opposed to conventional hydraulics, which results in reduced fuel consumption for the vessel and significant overall project savings.”
Production is due to start on the S-type in early 2018. In total, claims Ampelmann, the cost of operators using the system on a crewboat will be around 30% cheaper than helicopters.