Ampelmann designs the future of offshore access

As one of the early pioneers of Walk to Work (W2W), Ampelmann builds and designs walkways that provide easy, safe and efficient access to offshore structures. Its motion-compensated systems create safe working environments for personnel and increase maneuverability by being able to withstand rough sea states. Over the past fifteen years, the company has provided access to more than 7.6 million workers and 18.6 million kg of goods. With over 70 systems currently operating around the world, Ampelmann has become a familiar face in the offshore access world.

Since its beginnings in 2007, the company has been deeply invested in the construction, commissioning and maintenance of wind turbines. Alongside its successes in O&G, the company’s growing involvement in the global renewable energy sector has been particularly pronounced. In the first half of 2022 alone, Ampelmann secured contracts for renewable energy projects in Taiwan, in the North Sea, and recently won its first contract for the connection and commissioning of turbines on three of the first parks commercial-scale wind farms in the United States.

With many growth opportunities globally, Ampelmann has firmly established itself in the maturing renewable energy sector.

Offshore wind is one of the fastest growing industries. The growing desire to reduce environmental footprints as well as dependence on hydrocarbons will lead, in the short and long term, to an increasing number of construction, maintenance and repair projects around the world. In the North Sea, in particular, the European (REpowerEU) and UK governments have pledged to dramatically increase the number of wind farms and quadruple the available wind power to 65 GW and 50 GW respectively by the end of 2030. This means that in the North Sea alone, an additional 4000 to 5000 turbines will need to be built in the next five years.

This evolution is not without challenges. According to Caspar Blum, Ampelmann Area Manager for Business Development for Europe and Africa, “Sustaining this growth will require smart solutions and as a company that is solely focused on offshore access solutions , we have the know-how and infrastructure to help overcome some of these challenges by increasing the efficiency of offshore operations.

“At Ampelmann,” continues Blum, “we are constantly innovating and adapting our core business to the changing needs of the offshore energy sector. We collect and combine data from ourselves and our suppliers to measure our CO2 emissions and further develop our systems. In the short term, we are working to improve the efficiency of our products and services by creating ever stronger product-service alignments, reducing the carbon footprint and creating a solid foundation to stay ahead of the impending energy transition.

Ampelmann recently released its sustainability program and announced sweeping changes that include offsetting all carbon emissions on land and at sea, electrifying the entire fleet, as well as introducing modularity in his technical designs.

The latest iteration of the Type A, Ampelmann’s flagship system, has already been fully electrified, tested and has recently been commercially deployed at sea. “This is a colossal undertaking that requires very precise engineering,” says Blum .

“By implementing a regenerative electrical system, the hydraulic pressure on the hexapod can be reused, reducing total energy consumption by 90 percent.” As Jan van de Tempel, CEO of Ampelmann, said, this means that the total energy intake will require no more electricity than five simple coffee machines.

“Along with the electrification of our systems,” continues Blum, “we are building modular systems tailored to each vessel. Essentially, all of our systems will be built from the same blocks. Not only will this streamline the (re)design of systems more newer and older ones, but it will be even easier to customize them to the specific needs of our customers and it will simplify the process of replacing components, reducing overall downtime, logistics and transportation costs. , the introduction of modularity makes our systems more sustainable over the long term and gives us better control of our value chains by optimizing our relations with our suppliers and our customers.

An example of an electrical and modular system is the recently commissioned Type W, specifically designed to be permanently attached to CSOVs and SOVs. This electrical system has a height-adjustable walkway perfectly suited to reach the variable and sometimes dizzying heights of modern wind turbines. As it can transfer both personnel and cargo up to 2000 kg in sea states up to 3.5 m Hs, the system greatly increases the efficiency and safety of construction, commissioning and maintenance of wind turbines. Since its official release earlier this year, three of these systems have been sold.

Ampelmann has become known for its rental model, but is also increasingly selling systems. “Because we primarily leased our systems,” says Blum, “we have developed robust product-service alignments and have become well known for the services we offer on top of our product. This includes specially trained operators, drivability predictions, redundancy packages and our Operations Control Center (OCC) provides 24/7 telephone support. This way, we can ensure that every gateway is always operating at maximum efficiency, anytime, anywhere. As a rental company, we have learned the value of this service approach to our products, and we will continue to offer this service model to our customers who purchase our systems. »

By innovating and adapting its business model to local and global developments, Ampelmann aims to stay one step ahead and facilitate the ever-increasing demand for offshore access. “These are exciting times for the renewable energy sector.” Blumm said. “The coming years will see the introduction of increased automation and digitization of our products and services to bring them more in line with a growing need for efficiency. We have a very clear objective to increase our margins in the wind sector and by diversifying our portfolio and offering safe and energy-efficient access solutions, we are building the pillars to support the ambitious objectives set by European governments and support the impending growth of offshore wind energy. .”

Read the latest issue of OGV Energy magazine HERE

Posted: 2022-06-14

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