Lightweight units to suit the needs of the offshore industry

22nd Sep 2018

For many ageing platforms in the North Sea, decisions are being made to either decommission them or to extend their operational life. Either way, there can be ramifications for the cranes on these platforms. Where a crane’s design life has been reached, platform operators may seek a life extension to enable its use for the extended life of the platform. In the case of decommissioning, cranes will be required to carry out the most demanding lifting operations during the latter stages of their life. In both cases, the crane may be de-rated from its original capacity to a much lower rating to enable certification to be achieved.

This has created significant demand in the offshore sector for lighter equipment. It was for this reason that in 2014 Calder developed a range of lightweight, high pressure pump units suitable for operation in ATEX hazardous areas. The initial design concept soon turned into a purchase order, which was followed by orders from other customers for both pump and vacuum units.

The need for lightweight units coupled with our expertise in designing specialist offshore pumping equipment saw an expansion of our OffshoreLITE range. Along with compact waste injection (CRI) packages and lightweight containerised vacuum units, we were particularly pleased with a modular system where the drive and pump were mounted in separate DNV2.7-3 crash frames to achieve a maximum lift of 1,500 kg.

A by-product of the drive towards reduced pump unit weight has been the reduction in unit size. Although often by design where a customer has stipulated a small unit footprint due to platform space constraints, it is sometimes as a result of the lightweight aspect of the design.

Read more about our OffshoreLITE range.

The need for smaller, lighter equipment is nothing new. Outside of the end of design life and decommissioning factors, and prior to the launch of our OffshoreLITE range, we had considerable experience designing pump units to suit the customers’ space and lifting constraints. In 2013, we were commissioned to find a solution: how to design and transport a 14-tonne diesel-driven well service pump system into an area only accessible using helicopters with a 3.5 tonne lifting capacity. Using creative techniques of design and manufacture, modular pump units were built and delivered in a configuration that allows separate air lifts but can be easily and quickly assembled on the remote jobsite ensuring swift deployment. After this, we worked alongside a major EPC to design four multi-pump, air-driven, chemical injection skids. The project constraints required each package to fit into existing deck envelopes and work around existing structures. Our engineering team relished the challenge of designing such low-footprint packages to include a large volume of pipework, valves and associated instrumentation.

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