Reel Skidding Drive System

The flex-lay Reel Skidding Drive System (RSDS), designed, engineered and constructed by Houlder to the client specification, consists of a skid frame, skid trolley and push beam. Weighing 75t, the modular RSDS receives a loaded cassette reel of flexible product, engages its drive system and then transports the unit 10 metres along the vessel deck to the product deployment position.

Key features include

  • 4m x 10m Skid Trolley
  • Tower and cradle arrangement.
  • Supports two reel types of up to 150t each
  • Two 30t hydraulic rams drive the trolley 10m
  • Trolley is driven over the skid frame on 200t Hillman Rollers
  • Lateral movement arrested by guides at all four corners of the skid frame.
  • Easily reversed to pull back to loading position
  • Flashing light and audible safety alarm
  • Designed to operate at sea in all but storm conditions


The RSDS was developed, designed and fabricated in a total of sixteen weeks. The pipe laying equipment has now been deployed to South America for mobilisation on-board Aquatic’s end customer’s vessel. The relationship with Aquatic continues, with Houlder currently developing a modular Reel Carousel.

“The RSDS design and build was a fast track programme, successfully achieved by the Houlder team working closely with our, client Aquatic Engineering & Construction Ltd.”
– Jon Mears, Houlder Project Manager

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