Jan De Nul orders pile gripper for Les Alizes

Imeca will deliver the system for the floating offshore installation vessel in H2 2022 [Image: Jan De Nul]

Jan De Nul has selected Imeca for the delivery of an electrical motion-compensated pile gripper for its new floating installation vessel Les Alizes.

Delivery of the gripper is planned for the second half of 2022.

Jan De Nul newbuilding department head Jan Van De Velde said: “It is our continued philosophy to focus on operational efficiency, with improving safety as the main objective.
“For this innovative motion-compensated pile gripper we have challenged our suppliers to meet our functional requirements.

Imeca is an experienced system integrator with a solid offshore track record, and will form a strong team with its complimentary partner X-Laboratory, known for its innovative plug-and-play control solutions for offshore wind applications.

“With this gripper investment, we stay one step ahead in offering the renewables industry a one-stop-shop installation solution.”

Les Alizes will be deployed for the installation of very large components including jackets exceeding 4500 tonnes and heights in excess of 100 metres as well as monopiles weighing over 3000 tonnes and an outer diameter exceeding 12 metres.

Van De Velde added: “Previously tools and mission equipment were designed to fit for one project. Now our tools are designed to cover the requirements of current and future projects.

“This approach considerably increases sustainability as tools can be used for multiple projects, and safety risk reduces as the operators become familiar with the equipment.”

An integrated survey system enables continuous monitoring of the monopile from insertion into the gripper to hammering completion, improving the control over the monopile.

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The gripper will operate autonomously to keep the monopile and vessel stable, long enough to return all systems to a safe state.

Imeca technical drector Kara Konate said: “The challenge for this gripper project was to have a safe and reliable solution providing the required workability in all operational phases in an efficient manner.

“This requires a tremendous precision and reactivity on a large machine.

“We have achieved this through an innovative low friction bearing system and our internally developed electric drive and control system making use of permanent magnet assisted electric motors.

“Supercaps are used to reduce the power demand from the vessel. We are very proud to have been selected and look forward to our cooperation with Jan De Nul and our partners.”

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