Over the past few years, there has been a significant growth in the offshore wind industry. It has become larger than ever, and according to current expectations and predictions, it will keep on growing over the next 10 to 20 years. Due to an increasing demand for clean energy, more wind farms will be built offshore in the future.
With this in mind, the industry continues to develop new turbines, tools, monopiles and vessels to meet the demands. These include Van Oord, the international marine contractor, who developed its first cable-laying vessel, the Nexus in 2015. For this vessel, they requested support from HVR Engineering. The cofounder of HVR Engineering – John Hessels – takes us back to the project.
PREVIOUS TO THE NEXUS
“On the HAM 602 project, we actually designed the basis for the Nexus. Van Oord wanted a cable-laying vessel that could be operated by only one man with a fully automatic system. We supported them with the development and upgrade of the HAM 602 and its system, and found a way to make the vessel an efficient, cost-effective and safe cable-layer.
“During this project, the foundations for a fully automatic system that could be operated by one man were laid, which was unique for cable-laying vessels at that time.”
“When we started the project, Van Oord already knew what equipment they were going to use. For example, the huge cable carousel, which gives the vessel the capacity to lay more than 5,000 tonnes of heavy and long export cables.”
FINDING A SOLUTION
“By analysing the results of the simulations, we were able to advise Van Oord about the most suitable solution for the Nexus,” adds John. “After the simulations, they made the decision to modify multiple aspects in regard to the equipment and add extra functionality to the quadrant. The quadrant was originally designed to guide the cables efficiently without any chance of nods in the cable. Alongside this, the quadrant was now also equipped with a heave compensation system that enables the Nexus to lay cables in higher sea states.”
THE COMMISSIONING OF THE NEXUS
For the commissioning of the NEXUS, there were multiple options for the deck layout suggested by Van Oord’s Project Manager Gerry Mensink. They started with checking concept A and ended with concept G. During this phase, Gerry checked the ideas with personnel on board to create the most optimal working conditions. This included mobilising the support of an ergonomics specialist to create the most optimal sightlines for the cabin.
“After the deck layout was chosen, we developed a test plan to commission the equipment step by step,” adds John. “Firstly, the equipment was tested at another location. If it worked correctly, it would be commissioned on deck and linked to the other equipment. “ The commissioning of the Nexus was very successfully.
“Due to the preparations made by Van Oord, they were able to commission the equipment quickly without any replacements. We are very proud to have been a part of this journey.”
THE RESULT: AN EFFICIENT VESSEL
“With the solutions we developed with Van Oord, they created an optimal deck layout, which is unique in the market,” says John. “We are happy to have supported Van Oord during this project and are looking forward to helping them during their next project.” HVR Engineering is now working with Van Oord on their next project, the Bravenes.
VAN OORD ABOUT HVR ENGINEERING
“Alongside that, he knows how the programming of the system works. For the Nexus, we used the simulation details to program the system with his help. After the Nexus, we asked HVR Engineering to work on the Bravenes. It’s nice to cooperate with someone who has the same goal for a vessel.
“For the Nexus, our goal was to make the vessel an automatic controlled vessel that could be operated by one person. Eventually, it became an efficient vessel that fully controls the loading and laying of cables. The Nexus fulfilled all our expectations.”