New Houlder equipment

The pile Gripper Arms provide resistance to wave, tide and current forces The pile Gripper Arms provide resistance to wave, tide and current forces

Houlder has developed new equipment to meet the “challenge of handling offshore wind turbine piles” which it says has grown, along with their size.

The pile Gripper Arms were recently installed on MPI Offshore’s MPI Discovery to stabilise 6m diameter 650 tonne steel piles as they are driven into the seabed. The new equipment provides resistance to wave, tide and current forces in water depths of up to 40m and will help MPI to significantly reduce installation times.

Peter Robinson, managing director, MPI Offshore, said: “Such innovation is part of MPI’s ongoing development, and will provide demonstrable improvements to the monopile process for our clients.”

The hydraulically-driven arms, weighting around 90 tonnes each, have three main cylinders: one to deploy them from their stowage position and two to provide a horizontal gripping motion able to withstand up to 150 tonnes of horizontal load in any direction.

These cylinders are controlled by touchscreen and single joysticks that allow the operator to engage the arms, close the jaws and maintain the pile. Automated constraints based on the pile diameters reduce the risk of collision.

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