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Pile handling and restraint equipment
Houlder has significant experience in pile handling tools for offshore wind projects. For example, the company was contracted in a turnkey arrangement by MPI Offshore to lead the design, fabrication, installation and commissioning of a pair of hydraulic “gripper” arms. They support pile handling and restraint during installation.
The pile handling arms are installed on MPI jack up vessel to achieve the following:
- Aid the installation of piles in up to 40m of water
- Handle piles of up to 650T weight
- Handle piles of up to 65m length
- Handle piles of up to 7m diameter
The 200t pile handling arms, built in to the MPI Discovery stern, provide the horizontal restraint required to handle and restrain piles in the vertical position while they are being driven. When the arms are stowed, they are mechanically and manually “latched” at main deck level, allowing the vessel to safely transit and the hydraulic system to be powered off.
Both arms can be controlled from a single console to be located on the deck. The console is fitted with a 1 X-Y joystick, emergency stop and one touch screen panel for information and mode selection.
Structurally, the pile handling and restraint arms and associated vessel reinforcement are designed against DNV Classification Rules and fully checked using finite element analysis.
Houlder managed the project from initial concept design through to installation and commissioning with the support and involvement of MPIC and MPI Vessel Management.
A second set of arms (below) was supplied to Rampion Offshore Wind and installed on the Swire Blue Ocean’s Pacific Orca installation vessel June 2016.
The two sets recently operated side by side on the Rampion construction project. The 400MW Rampion project is being built by E.ON, the UK Green Investment Bank plc and Canadian energy company Enbridge. It is due to be completed in 2018.