ABB says new software solution could increase wind vessel uptime by 35%

June 4, 2021

Offshore staff

HELSINKI – ABB has introduced its new OCTOPUS software system, which it says can be a critical mission planning tool for offshore windmill parks. Working together with robotic maintenance system, the company estimates that windfarm vessels’ working hours could increase by over a third.

A desk study from ABB focusing on the Atlantis offshore test location, off the coast of Viana do Castelo, Portugal, concluded that the gains are available to operators who are prepared to commit to fast-emerging robotized maintenance technology.   

The safe transfer of personnel between a support vessel and an offshore turbine platform is often the limiting factor in maintenance hours, where rough seas mean crews cannot land by walkway or from the air. In cases where maintenance can be carried out using robotics instead of personnel, the same restrictions would not apply. 

ABB Marine & Ports is a key technology partner for the EU-funded Atlantis research project, which is exploring the use of remote offshore inspection and maintenance techniques for wind farms. The project also seeks to optimize offshore wind farm vessel uptime by expanding the understanding of the relationship between hydrodynamics and safe vessel availability. ABB says that its contribution has been to develop a dedicated mission planning tool for offshore windmill parks, based on the ABB Ability Marine Advisory System–OCTOPUS.

ABB says that OCTOPUS enables operations to be planned using safety limits based on acceptable vessel responses, rather than solely on the wave conditions. The new study calculates the extent to which vessels deploying robotics-based maintenance, rather than personnel, can work across a wider operational window.   

The Atlantis research project is being staged at two monitoring testbeds in the Atlantic Ocean – one off the coast of Viana do Castelo, Portugal, and the other further out to sea. By better understanding how vessels and robots behave, researchers will identify opportunities to improve inspection and maintenance procedures.