Handling pipes in a vessel’s cargo hold

Several weeks ago, we shared via LinkedIn an informative movie with the plans of McDermott to convert the Amazon to an ultra-deepwater J-Lay vessel. For this vessel we designed a vacuum solution, which will be installed on 4 cargo hold cranes, to limit deflection of double joint pipes or even handle the entire pipe by vacuum only.

Vacuum system to limit deflection

Normally the small diameter pipes are handled by fingers on both outer ends. In this specific situation the customer demanded the possibility to handle both single joints and double joints. Due to the length of the small diameter double joint pipes deflection occurs. Our vacuum lifter is designed to limit the deflection or even handle the entire pipe by vacuum only. The design is compact and straightforward: A rectangular frame on which the vacuum pump and other essential components are mounted.

Additional features lifting solution

The safety of vacuum lifting is unlike any other lifting method. Think of a safe lifting indicator, visible and audible alarm system and minutes of hang on time in the situation of a power failure. All Aerolift vacuum lifters are provided with at least these safety features. In this situation we added several  optional safety features:

  • An emergency vacuum pump
  • Safe release system
  • Overload warning system

The emergency vacuum pump is electric driven and installed to maintain vacuum in the situation of power failure. The small vacuum pump provides enough vacuum to eliminate small leakages. Enabling hours of hang on time if power failure occurs. The safe release system provides a signal whenever it is safe to release and is used to recognise when the suction pad is in place for suction. The overload warning system is designed to give an alarming signal to warn the operator a suction pad is overloaded.

Aerolift vacuum lifter operating in ship's hold