Sapa in new offshore application

A lot of aluminium extrusions from Sapa are used offshore. System 2000 Group in England has just developed an extrusion-based application that protects employees during drilling operations and enables 100 percent drilling productivity.

The development process began when one of Sapa’s long-standing customers, System 2000 Group (S2G), was approached by Rigmar Services of Aberdeen, to design and manufacture an automatic horizontal roller shutter door on the Rowan Norway drilling rig.  Once installed, the system would allow the rig to drill via an offshore installation with zero downtime, by protecting the workforce on the lower deck during drilling operations. S2G called Sapa at an early stage to assist with their extrusion design.

Rigmar Services, an innovative projects and service provider to the oil and gas sector, had been asked to provide a system capable of completely enclosing the “moonpool” area, which is where the drilling package penetrates the main deck of the rig to access the sea.  The key function of the final design would be to prevent dropped objects falling from the various working levels of the rig and onto the installation below where personnel would be located.

Without the closure, the rig would have to alternate operations above and below, reducing the productivity of the well extraction. But with the “moonpool” sealed, personnel could continue working above and below, without fear of injury.

Sapa was closely involved with the customer during the profile design and optimisation stages. After over 25 trial patterns were designed by S2G’s engineers and theoretically tested via the mathematical model, Sapa integrated with the process developing the extrusion die and tooling design for S2G’s approval for the lath section of the project.

Due to a requirement from the DNV, the certifying authority of the oil and gas industry, Sapa was also commissioned to carry out a Finite Element Analysis study utilizing their theoretical modelling expertise. Before the practical tests, Sapa made 3D models, which were used to dynamically simulate the actual drop test. LS-DYNA was used during this process, a programme that is often used in the automotive industry for crash simulations. Based on these findings, the clients were willing to progress to the manufacturing phase with a proven design, leading to the on-time delivery of several tonnes of completely unique lath sections, required for a prototype build-and-drop test.

S2G successfully planned and executed the live drop test, witnessed by Rigmar Services, Rowan Drilling, Conoco Phillips and DNV. The “super lath” horizontal shutter passed the trial far beyond the specified envelope and by morning the news had spread as far as Houston, that the system was a success.

Now installed, the “Moonsafe” system is successfully operating on board the Rowan Norway, allowing 100 percent drilling productivity.  In addition to the targeted benefits to health and safety and drilling productivity, there has also been a major gain to the general working environment.  Temperatures within the “moonpool” can drop well below freezing during night shifts in the North Sea, but the roller shutter floor has pacified this by closing off the previously open area, shutting out strong up draughts and severe weather conditions.

Managing director John Rowley of S2G says that “working with Sapa’s extrusion design engineers, we were able to produce the world’s first superlath horizontal shutter capable of the task required. The horizontal shutter system has proved very successful in fulfilling our client’s requirements who are looking to promote the product to other clients and sectors of industry worldwide.”

System 2000 Group Ltd has patents pending on these product and components.

www.sapagroup.com

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