British Engineering Excellence Awards recognise Houlder

9th September 2016

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British Engineering Excellence Awards Shortlisted Tools

Houlder is celebrating the news our Windfarm Pile Upending tool has been shortlisted by the British Engineering Excellence Awards. Previous Design Team of the Year winners, the company is now in the running for the Mechanical Product of the Year prize.

The British Engineering Excellence Awards reward companies who have shown innovation in design within the last year and reward the individual design engineers who made the innovations possible.

Using remote wireless control and auto-engagement, the shortlisted hydraulic tools help increase the efficiency of installing wind turbine foundations and reduce installation vessel operating costs. They keep personnel away from hazardous deck locations and also provide the optimal solution where lifting points overhang the deck or are otherwise out of reach. The remote controlled hook-up and release system engages directly with the foundation pile flanges. They are self-contained systems with rechargeable hydraulic and electric supplies. Recharging is carried out at a deck-mounted docking station, avoiding the need for additional umbilical connections or power lines during lifting operations.

Andy Lovell, the tool’s Project Director explains “Offshore Wind Piles are not small pieces of equipment and handling them offshore, from an installation ship’s deck and upending them from 0 to 90 degrees, is one of the riskiest operations during wind farm construction. Our tool needed to be incredibly robust, but sufficiently lightweight enough to ensure easy integration with existing craneage. Some very ingenious design work has gone into the steel structure and hydraulics. It also goes without saying the control system needed to be simple to use but also provide complete fail safety. Dropping the piles is not an option.”

The first of the tools was successfully installed on the MPI Discovery in January 2016. The second unit on the Pacific Orca installation vessel in June alongside other Houlder handling equipment.

The British Engineering Excellence Awards will be announced at a gala lunch at The Honourable Artillery Company, London on October 6th. You can read more about them here.

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