Dutch team successfully tests offshore access systemNews // January 18, 2008
Successful trials of the Ampelmann were completed over the new year.
The Ampelman platform compensates for vessel motion.
A team from Ampelmann and Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands has successfully tested a new offshore access system - called the Ampelmann - at the Shell-owned offshore wind farm at Egmond aan Zee (OWEZ).
This new method of marine personnel transfer consists of a six-legged hydraulic motion compensation platform with a telescoping access bridge mounted on top, providing safe and easy access to any offshore installation.
"With the successful completion of these first offshore trials, the founders of the Ampelmann proved that as from this moment offshore access will be as easy as crossing the street," said the company in a statement.
The new offshore access system was completed and tested only a year after the first design appeared on the drawing board.
The Ampelmann project team has recently formed the Ampelmann Company Ltd, which is a spin-off from Delft University of Technology.
Said the company: "The Ampelmann platform enables safe transfer at open sea from a vessel to any offshore structure such as wind turbines or an oil and gas platform. Since the transfer platform is kept motionless at all times by actively controlling the hydraulic cylinders, the Ampelmann can be used even in rough sea states (up to Hs=2.5m)."
The technology used in the platform is based on technology used in flight simulators, and is used to cancel out ship motion, using a dedicated motion sensor which constantly measures the movements of the ship on which the platform is insalled. Using the Ampelmann, personnel can safely access any offshore structure via a telescopic access bridge, thus providing a safe, cost-effective alternative to helicopter transfer.
The Ampelmann does not require any modifications to offshore structuress and can be installed on a wide range of vessels of varying size and sophistication - even on small vessels without DP.
Ampelmann Company Ltd said it expects to start production of the first commercially available units in mid-2008, with deliveries by the end of 2008.