25 Sep 2019
In the coming weeks, IADC will publish fourteen nominations in the running to receive the Safety Award 2019 on its website and social media. The winner will be announced on 17 October 2019.
IADC is proud to announce that the eleventh nomination is:
Boskalis’ remote control Floating Line Connecting System eliminates dangerous manual operations
Boskalis’ in-house technical department has developed an innovative Floating Line Connecting System (FLCS), where floating pipes are connected safely by remote control, without the need for people to get close to the pipelines, eliminating manual operations entirely. This results in fewer crew transfers and fewer safety risks.
The high risk operation of connecting pipelines was identified by the crews doing the work and the consensus was, there must be a better way. The first step was developing a self-floating pipeline that could handle sharp materials. The flexibility of this pipeline meant that 100-metre-long pieces could be placed instead of 20 metres long as is normal with steel pipes. This meant an immediate reduction in the number of connection points so fewer people were put in risky situations less often. But still people were a necessary element. Brainstorm sessions led to various designs and demands, but it took ten years before all the pieces fell in place and a final design was made. A patent has now being applied for and the Boskalis inventors continue to look at ways to improve the design.
The FLCS is based on another Boskalis innovation, the ‘mooring actuator' and the coupling pontoons are specially designed for remote coupling. The pontoons are brought into position without people entering the 'line of fire'. In so many ways, the new system represents a tremendous safety innovation. People are no longer at risk of injuring hands or fingers or come close the waterline. The system has already been applied to the project in Duqm, Oman and it will soon be rolled out and be applied to future Boskalis projects. But it is indeed a generic application for floating pipes that could be of value to others in the dredging industry.