ITW Engineered Polymers Presents at BAM Conference31/03/2017
On March 22, 2017, ITW Engineered Polymers was invited to speak at the Bundesanstalt Für Materialforschung und prüfung (BAM) conference about grouted connections in the operating phase. ITW Engineered Polymers presented an overview of the recent changes in the offshore grouting business and a glance at possible future developments.
On March 22, 2017, BAM hosted a conference for the most experienced stakeholders in the German offshore wind farm business. BAM invited ITW Engineered Polymers to contribute with lessons learned through the involvement in more offshore grouting operations than anyone in the business.
During the last 20 Years, ITW Engineered Polymers has supplied specialized turnkey solutions for more than 2400 offshore installations, including the world’s largest wind farms. Through the involvement in this extensive list of projects, ITW Engineered Polymers is the most experienced turnkey solution provider in the business.
ITW Engineered Polymers’ representatives at the conference were divisional QHSE manager Frederik Sommer-Gleerup and divisional Technical Resource Group manager Søren Bunch. Speaking about the conference, Frederik Sommer-Gleerup added:
“We were very delighted and honored to be invited by BAM to present our view on the grouting business and to come across with suggestions for solutions to potential issues.”
Root Cause Analysis
In the last 5-6 years, the offshore wind farm business has gone through significant changes. Some of the more noticeable are that the wind farms have been moving from shallow to deeper waters, inlet arrangements have become longer and more complex and annuli have been changed from dry to subsea. Furthermore, the “wind farm process to execution” typically involves grout contractors at a very late stage in the process.
Statistically, the grouting processes are generally very well executed and unproblematic. However, ITW Engineered Polymers find it important to address the recent developments in the business with due care and strive to eliminate any potential risks at an early stage for the benefit of not only grout turnkey providers, but everyone involved in offshore renewables installations. The factors listed above increase the potential risks for longer offshore installation time, which could prove to be problematic for all parties involved in the business. If not dealt with, these developments could result in issues such as incompatible coupling to inlet, reduced pumping capacity, increased back pressure, blocked inlet or plugging of inlet and increased overflow.
These issues will in potentially lead to longer installation time and more complex grouting processes. Offshore working hours are valuable, as they are very costly. Therefore, reductions in offshore working time can lead to significant cost savings.
Possible Future Solutions
At the BAM conference, ITW Engineered Polymers presented possible solutions to some of these potential issues. All of the proposed solutions can be seen in the presentation. Should y wish to see the presentation in whole please contact us - contact information can be found in the bottom of the article.
Two of the most significant solutions are an improved partnership approach to the “wind farm process to execution” securing that best practice incorporation at the design phase is transferred in to the offshore structure, and redesign of grout inlets for offshore structures.
A depiction of the improved partnership approach can be seen here:
In relation to the partnership approach, Søren Bunch states:
“We believe that including the grout turnkey provider earlier in the process could prevent some of the potential design issues the business is currently dealing with. The know-how of the turnkey suppliers should be used to benefit the process and thereby the business in general.”
Furthermore, this would improve the communication of “lesson learned” from previous projects and reduce the risk of making the same mistakes twice. This is a very complex business and experience from previous operations is a valuable trait.
Thus, the ITW Engineered Polymers' solution would be a new approach with an improved partnership between design, operation and national authorities.
In addition to this new partnership approach, we have developed some possible redesigns of grout inlets that would eliminate a majority of the historical issues listed above. The redesign proposals can be seen here:
On top of resolving most of the issues, these redesigns would significantly reduce secondary steel usage, design complexity and manufacturing complexity. Further testing of these redesigned inlets includes system inertia to ensure satisfactory grout flow, and inlet requirements.
The BAM conference was a very positive experience, and we at ITW Engineered Polymers fully support BAM’s attempt to include all parties of the offshore wind business to improve future installation processes. We understand the complexity of the business, but hope that our suggestions can bring value to the business in general.
To receive the presentation in whole or discuss the offshore wind business in general, please feel free to contact us.
For more information on BAM, please visit www.bam.de