PALFINGER MARINE has always been at the forefront of technological developments, not least in order to satisfy and preempt the needs of our customers.
Our goal is to offer the best and most competitive solutions. Naturally, the same applies to our everexpanding range of electric products. Let us tell you what we are doing now and what you can expect in the future. As many of you may already know, electric solutions are currently more common in some of our product groups than in others. In terms of winches, no less than 80 percent of our deliveries are already equipped with electric drivelines. Our electric platform cranes are also no unusual sight on offshore wind farms. Since 2014, PALFINGER MARINE has supplied almost 660 electric platform cranes. However, we have never been the Kind of company to rest on its laurels. So it should come as no surprise that we are also innovators in this field. It is our aim to complement our hydraulic product range with electric innovations in the areas where it benefits our customers most. To illustrate this, we would like to introduce two of our latest product developments. But first things first…
ELECTRIC WINCHES AND PF-CRANE SERIES AS PRECURSORS
As mentioned above, more than 80 percent of the winches we deliver to customers are already equipped with electric drivelines. Sverre Mowinckel-Nilsen, our Sales Director of the Winches and Handling Equipment Division, reveals that the trend towards electric winches started in 2005/2006, and demand has been on the rise ever since. He adds that electric winches were initially more expensive than their hydraulic counterparts, but prices have now levelled out. Seeing that electric winches are easier to install due to the fact that they don’t require hydraulic piping on the vessel itself and offer lower noise levels, it seems only logical that the popularity of such solutions is increasing. Nevertheless, all PALFINGER MARINE winches – with very few exceptions – remain available with both hydraulic and electric configuration. The second aforementioned success story in terms of electric systems involves our platform cranes on offshore wind farms. Electric platform cranes are considered to be more environmentally friendly and follow the zero emission strategy within the green energy market. In terms of maintenance, it makes a huge difference when there is no hydraulic oil involved. As mentioned, almost 660 of our PF-series cranes are already in operation, 150 of them at the Gemini wind farm off the coast of the Netherlands and 116 at the Rampion wind farm off the coast of Sussex in the United Kingdom. Rampion is a perfect example for how much easier it is to service electric platform cranes, as we also won the service tender for this wind farm. Our annual maintenance of the cranes has run very smoothly for the last two years. We were exceptionally quick, too. Seeing that each of our teams managed to service three cranes per day, the whole project took no longer than one and a half months. This saves time and money for the costumer with regard to planning and offshore logistics.
THE ELECTRIC INNOVATOR FOR OFFSHORE WIND LIFTING SOLUTIONS
“Alongside our PF-series, which is fully electric and has a lifting capacity of 1 tonne, we will complement our customised offshore wind farm product portfolio with the PSW-series, which is a hybrid crane with a lifting capacity of 2 tonnes. Our new PSW36000 crane is currently in development, and a prototype will be launched early next year. The Special feature of this innovation is a hybrid setup: the winch is electric, but the slewing and cylinder are hydraulic. Given that the winch on offshore wind cranes usually accounts for two thirds of the oil consumption, an electric winch results in a dramatic decrease in oil usage. This new crane will have the same lifting capacity as our well proven bestseller crane (PSM400), its fully hydraulic counterpart, but will use 35 litres of oil instead of 200 to 250 litres. In addition, the winch and power pack of the PSW36000 will be integrated in the lower crane columns, thus making it even easier to service,” explains Johann Gnasmüller, Head of R&D in the Product Division Cranes. What other innovations does PALFINGER MARINE have in store, you ask? Two of our most exciting projects are the ongoing delivery of seven fully electric DKW2500 cranes to Equinor’s Johan Sverdrup offshore oil field in the North Sea, as well as the development of an electric davit.
WE ARE THE FIRST COMPANY TO DEVELOP CRANES FOR SUCH AN ENVIRONMENT THAT USE STANDARD AC MOTORS, SOMETHING WHICH OUR COMPETITORS THOUGHT WAS IMPOSSIBLE IN THE PAST.Jan Silgjerd - Sales Director Cranes
CONQUERING THE NORTH SEA
To understand the innovation level of DKW2500 cranes, it is important to point out that it is comparatively simple to “electrify” a crane that merely has to lift/lower and slew without adhering to specific safety requirements. Delivering electric cranes to an oil platform in the North Sea is, however, quite complicated. The reaction time of the winches in use has to comply, for instance, with the EN and NORSOK standards. Not only are our DKW2500 cranes designed to operate safely in extreme North Sea conditions with waves of up to six metres in height, but they also boast safety features such as AOPS and MOPS (Automatic and Manual Overload Protection Systems). Jan Silgjerd, our Sales Director of the Cranes Division, points out: “We are the first company to develop cranes for such an environment that use standard AC motors, something which our competitors thought was impossible in the past. They meet the highest EN and NORSOK standards, thus optimising the reaction time in dangerous situations.” In short: whatever you throw at the DKW2500, it’s capable of handling it. Once again, the electric nature of the DKW2500 results in a lower cost of ownership and makes it more reliable in terms of its original parameters. As if that isn’t enough upside, the DKW2500 offers smoother and more predictable operation at lower noise and vibration levels.
A BRIGHT FUTURE FOR UNMANNED PLATFORMS
This is certainly a product group with a bright future. The use of electric cranes is, after all, also particularly interesting for unmanned offshore oil platforms because less maintenance is required: “It is easier to have an electric crane out in operation for a long time than a hydraulic one.” PALFINGER MARINE is currently in talks with several potential customers about using electric cranes for new unmanned platforms. Recent market developments affirm that we are on the right track in terms of our electric product portfolio.