Deepwater rope manufacturer Lankhorst Ropes Offshore Division has invested Euro 2M (US $2.8 million) in a synthetic fiber rope test machine that, for the first time, will enable naval architects to run 'what if' scenarios to simulate the effects of storms and hurricanes on deepwater mooring lines.
Located at Lankhorst Ropes' fiber rope production facility in Portugal, the rope test machine will be used to test the mechanical performance and fatigue behavior for a range of new materials and rope constructions for deepwater mooring and single point mooring (SPM) systems.
The machine can test 65 foot (20 m) ropes with loads up to 1,200 tonnes and a stroke length up to 14.7 feet (4.5 m). In addition, the machine features a precise mechanical control system designed to maintain peak load such that target loads can be maintained within 10kN during testing.
Optimized Mooring Line Installation
Given industry concerns about the rising cost of performing deepwater installations, the test machine is expected to have wider benefits in optimizing installation scenarios. Deepwater ropes are routinely loaded to approx. 40% of MBL [minimum breaking load] to pre-stretch the rope during installation. More accurate information on the degree of pre-loading required will avoid the high cost and safety issues surrounding excessive pre-loading during offshore installation.
"Until now the lack of specialized rope test equipment, and the very high cost of testing, has led to a shortage of authoritative data on rope properties for a variety of fiber types and rope constructions. The Lankhorst fiber rope test machine will fill this knowledge gap, enabling 'what if scenarios that show the effects of storms, hurricanes and loop current events with associated vortex induced vibrations on deepwater mooring lines," says Chris Johnson, sales director, Lankhorst Ropes Offshore Division.
The rope test machine is currently being used to provide test data for a Joint Industry Project (JIP) on Polyester Rope Stiffness Modeling, Testing and Analysis. Chevron, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, Shell, Petrobras, SBM, Whitehill Manufacturing and Lankhorst Ropes are participants in the JIP.
The actual test results will be confidential for three years after the termination of the JIP, which will occur next month. However, the principles established will be written into the next version of the ABS Rules for Polyester Mooring scheduled for April/May of this year.
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