Winter 2018

Exciting new offshore applications for Strainstall

Strainstall has identified a new application for its wireless data logging technology in a move that opens up great new opportunities for offshore markets in the Middle East.

The wireless data loggers which record and analyse movement and load have been used for many years on bridges, roads and large buildings worldwide. But now the team has adapted the technology to monitor the movement on self-lifting vessels used by the oil and gas industry.

Earlier this year, Strainstall was approached by a major marine services company in the Middle East to create a wireless system which could monitor the rig’s performance and provide an early warning system during jacking operations.

Jack-up barges are self-lifting vessels fitted with retractable support legs which elevate the hull above the surface of the sea to provide a stable offshore working platform.

In response to the client request, the Strainstall team was able to design a monitoring solution by retro-fitting its wireless data logging system to one jack-up accommodation barge. This provides a clear, real-time illustration of the rig’s performance during jacking and gives an early warning of potential overloading. As a result the system offers improved safety and effectively extends the life of the rig by preventing any overloading and possible buckling of the legs.

‘This is the first time our system has been used offshore,’ says Mark Boyle, business development manager at Strainstall Middle East. ‘There are over 150 jack-up vessels in one gas field alone – with hundreds more operating across the Gulf, all of which could benefit from this technology.’

‘Although it is already established in the civil and construction sectors, we are now seeing how wireless instrumentation is ideal for offshore applications. It offers reduced costs and installation times, while also providing an ideal solution where access may be difficult and safety is a concern,’

Mark adds.

The system monitors the loads acting on shock pads located inside the jacking house of each leg, measuring the load critical rig-jacking operations. This enables precise control of jacking-down and the safe rising of the rig to its operational height.

Real-time displays of the distribution of weight applied to each leg allows a precise control of weight distribution via the jacking motors which drive the rig up and down each leg. Strainstall’s system can also monitor deck tilt and vibration to protect against excessive jacking of a leg.

If any changes or add-ons are required, the wireless nodes can be remotely accessed and programmed by Strainstall’s software engineers in the UK.

 

Why go wireless

Strainstall’s wireless load monitoring system offers four key advantages over existing systems:

  1. No more cables vulnerable to damage
  2. No cabling (or installation) costs
  3. Flexibility - can be retrofitted to existing sensors, and updated without new hardware or installation costs 
  4. Improved safety due to access requirements

 

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