In the past three weeks EAGLE-ACCESS has tested their new access system on the VOS Star in the Danish windfarm Horns Rev.2. We safely transferred around 150 people and did about 300 transfers with and without cargo. The system in the stand alone version proved to be safe, comfortable and reliable during offshore testing.
People being transferred felt safe at all times. They were surprised by the speed and comfort of a transfer in a closed cabin from deck to platform and vice versa. No stairs to climb with bags or tools to carry, just step in and be transferred. The switch from people to cargo transfer is done in seconds. The ability to transfer cargo without it swinging and also the remotely controlled disconnecting of the cargo onto the wind generator platform was demonstrated. This novelty is highly appreciated by all users as a considerable safety improvement avoiding the presence of operators on the platform to guide and release the cargo.
A challenge in the tests on Horns Rev.2 was the extremely small TP landing surface for cargo and a cabin. Here the fully electric driven system offering extremely precise motion control was essential. This supported by cameras and object detection made it fairly easy to land even on this tiny spot in different weather conditions. EAGLE-ACCESS allows a unique wide range of 270 degrees of possible vessel headings. For testing reasons not only the most common and comfortable headings, but also the more unfavourable vessel headings were chosen. Optimal headings for the vessel are always possible due to the large reach and mounting on the aft of the vessel and 360 degrees rotation of the system.
The vessel used for the sea trials was the relatively small VOS Star, a DP2 vessel of 68 x 15 meter. After being brought to the quay in IJmuiden by road transport, the EAGLE was installed on the vessel deck in one day. Resulting in a large deck space available. Once installed on the deck, the EAGLE was immediately available and used for deck-to-quay handling of 1 ton loads.
For passengers to be transferred it is a short walk on deck to the Landing station with cabin. The workability of the system proved fully in line with the prediction of our digital models. These will be further updated with the obtained test data. With the digital twin in our offices in IJmuiden we can fully guarantee the operability on a vessel before signing a contract and offer a realistic hands-on training to future EAGLE operators.
We thank all parties involved for their contribution to make this happen. Especially our partners Staalbouw Boom, ELMA and Controllab, our crew, the Horns Rev.2 windfarm and VOS crew on the VOS Star for the smooth and successful operation.
The EAGLE has landed and now ready for commercial operation.