Elaine Maslin

September 1, 2016

A corner of Norway has something of a heritage when it comes to cranes and lifting equipment. The area has developed its own cluster, which held its first conference this year.

The Molde area has a heritage in cranes lifting equipment, dating back to more than 130 years ago when motor production started on the islands outside Molde, including thrusters, with limited means and technology at that time.

The industry has developed and in 2014, companies in the Molde area, south of Kristiansund, Norway, joined forces to form a network: Liftmore. The network builds on the crane industry tradition in the Molde area. The original members are AXTech, Axess, Prezioso Linjebygg, Motus Technology and Inventas in Molde, Triplex in Averøy and Aukra Maritime in Aukra.

The group held its first conference earlier this year with about 130 attendees and speakers from Statoil, Bosch Rexroth and others. Topics covered including use of technology from the automotive industry, simplification, standardization and industrialization in the industry, and Statoil’s future vision for subsea lifting.

Gro Karine Steen Østebø, leading advisor subsea marine operations, Statoil, set out the Norwegian major’s vision for what simplification, standardization and industrialization will mean for subsea lifting operations. Statoil is looking for cost saving by reduced mobilization time and operational time. Faster mobilizations can be achieved by moving from sea fastening by welding to quick connect systems. She also explains the importance of efficient operational time, through good cooperation between the bridge, ROV crane and shift supervisor. Critical stages in the lift could be improved through good deck handling and by minimizing swinging loads. Snaploads should also be minimized through the splash zone, she says.

Special handling systems could be used, increasing the ability to perform installation in harsher weather, as such a system reduces swinging loads, but, they tend to be one-offs, such as the North Sea Giant. This special handling system also has a short reach which requires multiple mobilizations.

Real-time analysis based on actual weather forecasts should also be used to reduce unnecessary time spent waiting on weather.

Using optimal lifting equipment and standardizing lifting methods could help increase efficiency and HSE (health, safety and environment) performance, she says.

But, she also predicts ultra-deepwater lifts will be less of a priority in the near-term, with lifting requirements focusing more on older fields, which require increased oil recovery methods, involving subsea processing technologies, as well as Statoil’s Cap-X template technology for shallow fields.

Michael Westergren, sales manager, Prodtex, which develops automotive design tools, tooling and packages for robotics and process engineering, spoke about how Kleven shipyard is taking home production of large steel structures to Norway by using lean production methods and robots. Kleven has over the last years move a significant part of their hull production back home from “low cost” countries by using highly automated production methods.

Christine Spiten, engineer, Blueye Robotics, spoke about how Blueye started the company and their ambition to make an affordable underwater drone that can be used both by families and professionals.

The conference organizers, coming from members of the Liftmore network, are planning to hold another event next year, focusing on engineering and technology in the Molde area.