Revolutionary concept crane on track for market reality

29 Nov 2017 Reading time calculated text
news article

MacGregor is driving a new wave of fit-for-purpose technology in deepwater environments; spear-heading these developments is an innovative fibre-rope subsea crane that is currently being built and will be ready early 2018

Economic change has seen an expansion in global deep and ultra deepwater offshore operations. MacGregor is advancing this field with its fibre-rope offshore crane, known as FibreTrac. The first unit is currently being built and will be ready for testing early in 2018.

“MacGregor launched its fibre-rope crane range in 2016 and as part of demonstrating its capabilities we have entered into a programme to build, certify and validate it,” says Ingvar Apeland, Director Load Handling, Advanced Offshore Solutions at MacGregor. “I believe that it will be one of the world’s most advanced fibre-rope knuckle-boom cranes that the market has yet seen.”

Raising market potential

Fibre rope weighs virtually nothing in water, so regardless of the length of rope paid out, it does not add anything to the load experienced by the crane. “This is in complete contrast to the situation with wire rope, where the ever-increasing weight of wire paid out limits the load permissible in relation to depth,” explains Mr Apeland.

“By employing fibre-rope technology, a crane is able to use its full lifting capacity at practically any depth, so a smaller crane and vessel can be used for more assignments, and owners are able to bid on a wider range of contracts.”

The FibreTrac crane will comply with the latest DNV GL regulations, with the first system fully-certified in compliance with DNVGL-ST-E407. “Compliance with DNV GL’s strict regulations should provide end-users with even greater confidence in the long-term use of this technology,” he notes.

“DNV GL is excited to have been chosen for the technology assurance and certification of this project,” says Arnstein Eknes, Director for Special Ships at DNV GL. “Compliance with DNVGL-ST-E407 enables the long-term outcome of this technology to be certified, by moving towards focus on the ‘lifetime management’ of key elements within the system. Owners and operators can document towards their customers the fitness for purpose over the entire lifespan, managed with basis in the certificate of designated service.”

By employing fibre-rope technology a crane is able to use its full lifting capacity at practically any depth. 

From concept to reality

The FibreTrac crane will have a 150-tonne safe working load capacity and will incorporate many unique technologies including a Parkburn deepwater capstan with a storage winch capable of accommodating 4,000m of 88mm rope. It is available with both hydraulic and electric drive options.

An advanced rope monitoring and management system maximises rope lifespan and provides constant lift line status for the operator.

“Fitted with MacGregor’s latest control system, it will offer the advantage of real-time data feedback to onshore locations using the MacGregor ‘OnWatch Scout’ feature,” says Ole Andreas Sorensen, Product Manager, Global Lifecycle Support, MacGregor.

For owners wishing to benefit from the technology for their existing cranes or stand-alone winch systems, the MacGregor fibre rope solution can be retrofitted due to its flexible, modular crane design.