Smart innovation increases operational efficiencies on German offshore wind farm

The first use of a new offshore innovation by Ampelmann and Siem Offshore Contractors delivered major operational efficiencies on Germany’s first commercial offshore windfarm.
Ampelmann’s E1000 motion compensated access system, with a gangway which transforms into a crane boom, performed over 12,000 people transfers and 7,000 cargo transfers safely between an offshore support vessel and the wind turbines over a ten month period. The increase in operational man-hours on the maintenance programme for the windfarm has resulted in a contract extension for Ampelmann by Siem Offshore Contractors.

Steven Vis, Operations Engineer at Ampelmann said: ‘This new contract underlines the successful partnership between all parties in delivering innovation. By providing new solutions to cargo-handling, Ampelmann has demonstrated the versatility of our E-type system.’

The Ampelmann E1000 motion compensated offshore access system, with a 30 metre gangway, was installed on the Siem Marlin offshore support vessel to get people and cargo to the turbines to carry out maintenance. With its ability to compensate for vessel movements caused by wind, waves or currents, the E1000 enables the safe passage of people from the vessel to the wind turbine, in even the harshest of conditions, dramatically increasing operational man-hours. By inserting four manual pins, the telescopic gangway of the E1000 can then be transformed into a fixed crane boom for fully motion compensated cargo transfers of up to 1,000 kg.

Vis explained: ‘During this project, we came up with a solution to further increase operational efficiencies. The manual pins were replaced by hydraulic pin pushers which reduced the change-over time from people to cargo mode from ten to five minutes. The E1000 was then able to transfer both people and cargo within 20 minutes.’

Jan Holtermann, IMR Manager at Siem Offshore Contractors added: ‘The co-operation between the Ampelmann operators, service technician and the marine crew of our vessel are the key for success. We are looking forward to using the E1000 on our vessels for further inspection, maintenance and repair works on the offshore windfarms.’

Ampelmann designs and delivers innovative, safe, reliable and efficient transfer solutions to the offshore energy industries globally. With a track record of more than three million safe people transfers, more than 1.5 million kg cargo transfers and 200 projects worldwide, Ampelmann operates in Europe, Africa, Asia Pacific, the Americas and the Middle East.

Siem Offshore Contractors GmbH (SOC) is a leading provider of submarine cable installation, maintenance and repair services for both the oil and gas as well as renewable energy markets, with a particular focus on the emerging offshore wind, wave and tidal energy sectors.