THE NETHERLANDS -- Delft University of Technology has tested its new offshore access system, the Ampelmann, at the Shell-owned offshore wind farm at Egmond aan Zee (OWEZ). This method of marine personnel transfer consists of a six-legged hydraulic motion compensation platform with a telescoping access bridge mounted on top.
The Ampelmann platform enables safe transfer at open sea from a vessel to any offshore structure such as wind turbines or an oil and gas platform. Since the transfer platform is kept motionless at all times by actively controlling the hydraulic cylinders, the Ampelmann can be used even in rough sea states. The technology of the platform is based on a configuration used for flight simulators. Its design is used to cancel out the ship motions of a vessel, using a dedicated motion sensor that is constantly measuring the ship motions. From the motionless transfer deck, personnel can safely access any offshore structure through a telescopic access bridge.
The Ampelmann team has decided to continue the program as a commercial business venture by founding Ampelmann Company Ltd. The team expects to start production of the first commercial units in mid-2008, with first delivery before the end of the year.