Wednesday 19th May saw another major milestone reached by IHC Engineering Business (EB), when their largest project to date, a 2,000t capacity J-Lay system for the Saipem FDS2 (Field Development Ship), departed its manufacturing location on Teesside.
The lay system is now en route to the Samsung Heavy Industries' (SHI) Geoje shipyard in South Korea where EB's engineers will work closely with Saipem and SHI to install and commission the system on the new build vessel.
"As one of only a handful of companies in the world active in the design and build of large capacity, complex J-Lay systems, we are immensely proud of this innovative system." says EB's Managing Director, Toby Bailey.
"We won the contract in the third quarter of 2007, and have worked closely with Saipem throughout every stage of development over the past two and a half years. This contract has certainly strengthened our reputation as a leading supplier of Pipelay Systems. To deliver it, we have made maximum use of our expanded resources together with the talents of the North of England supply chain.
"Proof of our engineering and production skills is the fact that DNV has issued design approval for this innovative J-Lay tower, and we have successfully met the stringent weight targets set by the client."
The new system, one of the worlds largest and most versatile, is able to accommodate pipes from 4'' to 36'' and is rated at 2,000t hang-off capacity. By adjusting the angle of the tower (from 45 to 96 degrees) the system is capable of laying pipe in shallow or deep water. Key design drivers have been optimisation of pipe handling operations to ensure low cycle time, highly constrained working envelopes, and ensuring safety in all aspects of operation.
"There are plenty of fascinating statistics surrounding the J-Lay system including the fact that at 65 metres tall and 14 metres wide it is taller than the nearby Tyne Bridge," explains Toby Bailey. "The total weight of the tower including all pipe handling equipment is 2,500t and the maximum weight of pipe that can be hung off the tower is equivalent to suspending 266 double-decker buses; there are 25km of cable; 60,000 lines of software code; and over 5km of welding. Designing and building this first of a kind system has been a remarkable achievement that we are very proud of."