Winding up the new-builds
MDL electric winches set flowlines in motion offshore Brazil.
As Seven Cruzeiro readies to begin its maiden project offshore South America, the onboard flex-lay equipment is all set for its first deployment - among it, Maritime Developments’ electric range.
The pipelay support vessel is one of four Subsea 7 new-builds commissioned for deep-water flexible lay offshore Brazil; it was preceded by its sisters: Seven Waves, Seven Rio and Seven Sun - each equipped with a set of MDL winches and an Overbender Tensioner (OBT).
The 44 systems in total had been flowing through the MDL electric workshop since the original order in 2012, and were all completed ahead of schedule. Ranging between 5 - 40 tonne working load, all of the winches feature electrical drives to maximise operability and minimise maintenance costs.
Preference for electric over hydraulic solutions is on the rise, and no wonder: the customisable interface results in greater ease of use and increased safety in offshore operations. MDL gained this understanding through years of hands-on innovation, by working closely with the key industries of the north-east of Scotland: marine engineering and fishing.
Although today it delivers flex-lay equipment and offshore services to major energy contractors across the globe, MDL originated as a hydraulic company specialising in building fishing deck equipment: day-in, day-out confronting the rough North Sea waters. The integrity of all systems on board - particularly winches used for handling the nets - was imperative to the trawler men’s businesses, and therefore their livelihoods.
“To remain viable, a fishing boat needs to catch a certain amount of fish over a period of time. On top of that, the quality of the catch is also crucial in determining the likelihood of good trade as a result,” said Derek Smith, CEO and founder of MDL.
“But if the fisherman returns home with no fish, or with a catch that has begun to spoil due to problems or delays with onboard machinery while at sea, that’s when the business becomes uneconomical - every such trip costs the fisherman more in fuel than the returns he gains from that trip.
“In our quest to address the challenge of introducing more precise equipment for a hands-on crew, we began installing electrical controls for the traditional equipment on board. Seeing the improvement in the systems’ handling made us quickly realise the benefits of electric systems over hydraulic ones.
“Over the years of working with this industry, we learnt that the value of functional equipment is worth more than the price it costs to build or buy. If you consider the losses a fisherman’s business can sustain on a single blotched trip to sea, the respective effects are even more detrimental for the oil industry.
“That’s why today we have more electricians on our team than any other in-house specialist technicians, and implement increasingly more electric controls and drives into our own range of pipelay equipment, as well as that of our clients.”
MDL electric winches can be operated in either manual, constant tension or render mode, using bespoke operator interface. They have a standalone operation capacity, but can also integrate with other deck machinery and with the vessel’s supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), allowing safe operation and monitoring of multiple pieces of machinery at once.
All of the winch functions can be operated at the Local Control Panel (LCP) and can be handed through safe process to a wireless Walk-About Box (WAB), designed to operate the complete package of winches on board the vessel by selecting and confirming the winch required to be operated. To ensure no unsafe actions are taken during operation, the control systems feature built-in interlocks, and all control functions take priority during equipment design and system reviews.
Additionally, selected winches feature a load cell to provide an accurate reading of the tension on the product, whether operational or in idle mode.
Alongside the 10 winches, each of the four PLSVs is equipped with MDL OTL 2/60 Series Tensioner on a Ramp - a 10 tonne 2-track tensioner on an inclined frame, facilitating the movement of the product from an under-deck carousel onto a VLS, and vice-versa.
The integrated system features a fixed entry chute and a movable departure chute, as well as an integrated EPU/ HPU with an electric control panel within the base of the structure.
The tensioner’s top track is mounted on kingpins so it can pivot to open or close, as required by the operator, through two hydraulic cylinders; the bottom track is fixed onto the inclined frame with load cell pins and secured with rubber mounts to absorb vibration and allow accurate load monitoring on the system.
During operation, both the top and bottom tracks are synchronised to deliver the same amount of torque from their respective electric motors.
“Simplicity is the cleverness of the MDL design and build,” said George Mackintosh, MDL operations director.
“Our clients recognise the smart engineering behind the systems, which limits the risk of damage to the winch or the product, while increasing the flexibility of operation through remote controls and integration with other systems on board.
“On top of the high reliability and ease of use of the winches and the rest of our portfolio of flex-lay equipment, the in-house support that our clients receive across mechanical, electrical, hydraulic and software makes us their preferred equipment supplier for all their pipelay needs.”
- At Your ServiceMarch 2019
- MDL PVLS celebrated at SPE awardsMarch 2019
- MDL wins West Africa SURF projectFebruary 2019
- MDL proves 150Te portability in NigeriaJanuary 2019
- MDL concludes 4-job campaign with TechnipFMCJanuary 2019
- Out with SWL - in with MOLLDecember 2018
- Let's start at the Front EndNovember 2018
- MDL debuts in first mid-stream California projectOctober 2018
- Mexico: bridging the gap to faster recoverySeptember 2018
- MDL delivers first LiveWire spreadAugust 2018
- MDL returns to Norway with TechnipFMCJune 2018
- Double Bibby win for MDLJune 2018
- Halving the headache with a simple approachMay 2018
- MDL awarded California pipelay jobMay 2018
- MDL wins Mediterranean umbilical installationMay 2018
- Three lessons about changeApril 2018
- Delmar and MDL join forces to launch LiveWireApril 2018
- Leading the way in subsea innovationMarch 2018
- Disposing of hidden costsMarch 2018
- RDS completes first GoM mission for Subsea 7February 2018
- Hitting the 150Te markJanuary 2018
- MDL sets up equipment base in GoM with DelmarDecember 2017
- MDL maximises focus in the AmericasDecember 2017
- A helping hand across the SeaNovember 2017
- Instinct, MaturedOctober 2017
- Oceaneering adds MDL 800Te RDS to global fleetOctober 2017
- Safe as MDLAugust 2017
- Calculated MovesMay 2017
- 24/7 AmbassadorsApril 2017
- MDL Spread concludes Trinidad jobApril 2017
- Turning the frown upside down at ExpoFebruary 2017
- MDL converts Expo leads to RNLI cashFebruary 2017
- Contract award brings MDL tensioner to APACJanuary 2017
- Winding up the new-buildsDecember 2016
- 800 Tonnes of InnovationDecember 2016
- MDL goes east with new appointmentNovember 2016
- A different cup of teaOctober 2016
- Early project makes a comeback with USA deliveryOctober 2016
- New system redefines global tensioner marketSeptember 2016
- MDL Spread hits anniversary milestoneSeptember 2016
- Latest rental RDS completes first missionJuly 2016
- Asking the right questionsJune 2016
- MDL launches innovative well intervention systemMay 2016
- Portable spread creates new opportunitiesMarch 2016
- An ex-Captain’s perspectiveFebruary 2016
- MDL opens door in AmericaFebruary 2016
- Subsea Expo 2016: Inspiring smart conversationsFebruary 2016
- That's one New Year's resolution worth sticking toJanuary 2016
- Subsea Expo 2016: MDL powers up flex-lay costs reductionJanuary 2016
- Mission accomplished for MDL PVLSNovember 2015
- Maritime Rentals fleet continues to growOctober 2015
- Maritime Developments' first PVLS sets sailSeptember 2015
- Selling value: The toughest challenge with supply chainSeptember 2015
- Let their hair down: Investment that pays backJuly 2015
- Maritime Developments raises £1,400 for Marie Curie Cancer CareJuly 2015
- Cutting costs: Why we’re all in it togetherJune 2015
- Looking hot this summerJune 2015
- Innovation: Speaking the same languageMay 2015
- Final winch order ready for early pickupMay 2015
- Latest reel drive system steals the spotlightApril 2015
- The Budget: A step in the right directionMarch 2015
- Maritime Developments seals 15th anniversary with first VLS orderFebruary 2015
- Smart thinking at Subsea Expo: It all figuresFebruary 2015
- Bespoke tensioner boosts Maritime Developments’ rental fleetJanuary 2015
- Maritime Developments targets well intervention market with joint ventureJanuary 2015
- Third winch package tips electrical delivery over £12millionJanuary 2015
- MDL celebrates 15th Christmas with magical fundraiserDecember 2014
- MDL extends competitive edge with electrical pushNovember 2014
- Key appointment boosts Maritime
Developments’ electrical divisionNovember 2014
- Maritime Developments celebrates 15 years in businessOctober 2014
- Maritime Developments marks RDS success with Aker deliverySeptember 2014
- Major winch delivery ahead of scheduleSeptember 2014
- £1,000 raised for RNLI at Maritime Developments’ eventSeptember 2014
- Patent protection secured for Maritime Developments’ tensionerSeptember 2014
- Maritime Developments celebrates 15th anniversary with workshop hog roastSeptember 2014
- Subsea Expo winners’ pit stop at British Grand PrixSeptember 2014
- Maritime Developments at Subsea Expo 2014April 2014
- Lochnagar fundraiser for Paul Lawrie FoundationApril 2014
- West African contract success as further growth targetedApril 2014
- Largest contract to date for MDLApril 2014
- Maritime Developments launches equipment hire serviceMarch 2014
- Bright future for subsea specialistMarch 2014
- ‘Next Generation’ Tensioner designMarch 2013
- Increased capacity at Aberdeen and PeterheadMarch 2013
- Paul Lawrie swings by MDL stand at Subsea 2013February 2013
- Maritime Developments appoints Operations DirectorSeptember 2012
- Maritime Developments appoints Commercial DirectorJune 2012
- Maritime Developments continued expansionMay 2012
- Fast-track US contract delivered on timeApril 2012
- £1.7m contract from international subsea businessApril 2012
- Maritime Developments exhibits at Subsea 2012 in AberdeenFebruary 2012