RACK & PINION LIFTS

Alimak lift designed for use on FPSOs. Skelleftea-based Alimak has been supplying its modular system, special-purpose lifts to the offshore industry since the mid-1970s. Over 500 units have been delivered, employing the company's highly flexible rack-and-pinion design.

New SE-series offers smoother,quieter and quicker ride


Skelleftea-based Alimak has been supplying its modular system, special-purpose lifts to the offshore industry since the mid-1970s. Over 500 units have been delivered, employing the company's highly flexible rack-and-pinion design.

With no supporting lift shaft or machinery winding room needed, rack-and-pinion lifts offer particular benefits for installations where space is critical. They can also be erected on both inclined and curved surfaces and can be transported easily. A variable frequency controller (VFC) ensures ride comfort and accurate positioning, and an infinitely variable speed facility provides soft starts and stops.

Traditionally providing lifts for service and maintenance areas, Alimak has now launched the ALIMAK SE-series which, it claims, can be installed adjacent to accommodation areas offshore. Based on the same ingenious drive principle, the new version incorporates fine tuning of the key components, new advanced materials including poyurethane and high-tensile polymeric materials. Also, the design concept for the car and drive unit has been altered to reduce noise levels inside the car by 10dbA to 65dbA.

Alimak brought in an industrial designer to give the SE range a totally new look. "We can now compete more effectively for accommodation areas," says the company's permanent lifts product manager Mats Hedlund, "since the new SE range is quieter, more comfortable and looks more like a hotel lift from the inside."

The new model is equipped with a soft start motor controller which, when coupled with an optional VFC, gives a smooth ride with speeds up to 1.2 meters/second. This compares favorably with previous models that ran typically at 0.65m/s.

Extra comfort

Hedlund states that ride comfort is becoming increasingly important in the industrial environment as a whole, including terminal port operations which account for a large slice of Alimak's turnover. In fact the company has supplied over 240 lifts for container cranes used in the port of Singapore alone. He stresses, however, that these added refinements come at no extra costs and that, because of their flexible, modular design, Alimak lifts can easily be tailored to suit any installation. "We have 40 designers ready to find solutions to any project application thrown at us," says Hedlund.

The new SE-series comes in 36 different car sizes, ranging from 1,040 x 780mm to 2,080 x 1,300mm, with capacities from 300 to 1,200 kg. With patents pending on the flexible car design concept, Alimak believes it will be some time before any competitor can offer the same degree of customization within the scope of what it calls `standard'. In fact the different car sizes, combined with a wide range of door and window configurations, and the different surface treatments available, result in no less than one million possible variations.

Extruded aluminium panels and hot dip galvanized steel form the basis of the car construction which allows the SE to cope well in industrial environments. For offshore use, the car and other key components can be made of stainless steel and can be adapted to meet explosion requirements.

"Sea Launch"

Recent offshore successes for Alimak include lifts for Norsk Hydro's Visund and Osebereg East platforms; an FPSO being built currently in Singapore; and the Sea Launch - a semisubmersible currently being converted by a joint venture of Russian, US and Norwegian companies and Boeing to launch rockets at sea. Alimak also hopes to bid for Statoil's Åsgard semisubmersible.

Now that its range of lifts has been refined to compete favorably with traction lifts in terms of noise levels, Hedlund feels the company's next challenge is to look at new application areas. For the offshore market, he believes Alimak's largest growth areas will be the Gulf of Mexico, where inquiry levels in the last six months have been particularly high, and the UK North Sea. Both areas are increasingly employing floating production units for which the rack-and-pinion drive is ideally suited, since operation is not affected if the platform rolls, pitches or heaves. The lift can also operate normally in storm-force wind speeds of up to 28 meters/sec.

Alimak is certified to ISO 9001 and holds recognition from independent agencies such as Lloyd's, DNV and ABS. It is represented in around 60 countries worldwide, allowing spare parts and skilled service personnel to be dispatched rapidly.

For more information contact Mats Hedlund, Alimak: telephone +46 910 87000, fax: +46 910 56690, Email: mats.hedlund(a)alimak.se or http:www.alimak.se.

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