Advanced motion compensation solution for efficient offshore wind farm installation
The Dutch Robotics Engineering and R&D Company, X-Laboratory, is soon launching a new product series aimed at positioning themselves as a new player in the maritime and offshore wind sector. By using advanced motion technology, the engineering company aims to optimise the way wind park installations are performed.
The product series introduces several innovative maritime motion control solutions. One of the core products, the PuppeteerTM, a highly advanced motion compensation system for crane retrofitting, enables faster blade installations offering year-round workability on both fixed jack-up vessels and floating WTG. This technology alone is expected to lead to cycle-time reductions of up to 40% for the construction time of an entire wind park, offshore.
Their entrance to the market was recently marked with a newly established collaboration with Jan De Nul Group and REEL S.A.S., in which X-Laboratory delivers the motion compensation technology for a motion compensated pile gripper for enabling robust monopile installation from floating vessels. [link] The pile-gripper will make use of the X-Control Guidance system and of X-Lab’s X-CAM Survey Sensor system for post-piling performance analysis.
Validation of decreased time installation with Shoreline Wind Simulation
The overall goal of X-laboratory’s motion compensation solutions is to reduce installation time and implement much safer and more efficient assembly operations. According to Offshore Program Manager at X-Laboratory, Richard van der Linde, these ambitions match well with the capabilities of Shoreline Wind’s software.
“Shoreline Wind became relevant to us as we wanted to quickly and efficiently estimate the whole operational time decrease. Previously, we used consultants and partners to assess these processes, but we wanted to own these estimations ourselves and have an understandable and transparent overview of the entire installation process”.
Shoreline Wind delivers out-of-the-box cloud-based solutions with quick implementation. Therefore, it did not take long for X-Laboratory to gain business value from using the platform:
“Now we can provide valid data estimates for customers in just a few minutes, that visualizes how much time reduction they can expect for specific wind farm projects. And that conversation is ongoing, and not based on a single simulation. Everything is about percentages, and how we can optimize the engineering process, so it is important that we are able to customize our advice for individual customer projects based on the projections in Shoreline Wind’s system”.
Several similarities between offshore wind and space
X-Laboratory originates from space engineering, where they specialised in exploration telerobotics (the remote control of robot systems over large/inter-planetary distances) and showed how the technology could provide intuitive remote-control operations over long distances to ensure precise mechanical assembly processes in space.
Now, the organisation has its eyes set on offshore wind sector and according to CEO/CTO, Dr. André Schiele, there are several similarities between the two industries:
“Our space-proven mentality of building highly advanced equipment ‘that works’ can be applied one to one to the Offshore Wind sector. Operating in harsh environments, without the possibility of human intervention during operations, and ‘first time right’, is what unites Space and Offshore business for us. In both fields, all operations must be performed robustly, as simple as possible, with highest accuracy and precision and highly resource efficient. Security and cost-efficiency is of course key to the offshore wind sector, which is why automation has a great potential”
The motion compensation technology being used for offshore wind, does also present some similar requirements with space engineering for robotics functionality.
“We utilize latest control technologies from the space sector for the equipment we design and build with our partners. For offshore assembly tasks, demands on sensors, mechatronics and automation systems are similarly complex and demanding as in space. Our motion compensation equipment detects forces and motions from wind, waves and always work in hard real-time, putting all critical variables directly under a reliable machine control. Our technology can be used for vessel-to-vessel feeder scenario’s or for high accuracy positioning on an Earth global system”.
Becoming the standard installation tool with efficient floating assembly
As the offshore wind industry continues to grow at increasingly high pace, the need for more cost-efficient installation and production solutions grows. X-Laboratory aims to transform the offshore wind sector by continuously developing new and ground-breaking engineering solutions jointly with their partners.
However, the technology must always support the increase of competitiveness and profitability to ultimately create impact and assist in achieving ambitious global climate goals.
“The goal of X-Laboratories technology is to become the standard technology for motion compensation in complex offshore assembly tasks to perform significant number of installations on floating assets in the future. To achieve this, we must always be able to validate any added business and operational value. This is also why this is a unique case, as we use the Shoreline Wind offshore simulation to improve and validate our own product for customers”.
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X-Laboratory is a highly competitive high-tech research and development firm composed of skilled space engineering, automation and control experts. X-Lab conceives state of the art active motion compensation and guidance systems for the offshore wind industry, aimed at enabling floating to fixed and floating to floating construction of offshore wind parks. www.deltaxlab.com