TWD develops the methods and designs the equipment contractors need to efficiently realize major construction projects. Through the years we have built up a track record full of engaging projects. We are, amongst others, active in the heavy civil industry. A project we are proud of is the ‘walking piling gate’, a piling solution that autonomously skids forward, significantly shortening the project lead time. TWD’s core market is the offshore wind sector. One of our most recent finished projects is the monopile gripper on DEME’s heavy lift vessel Innovation, which was deployed to realize one of the largest offshore wind farms in Belgium.
In 2018, after Chris finished his Civil Engineering study at the TU Delft, he started working at TWD as an Engineer. “The first project I worked on was the monopile gripper for DEME’s heavy lift vessel Innovation. The challenge was that the gripper had to be lightweight since these types of vessels have limited capacity in carrying heavy loads. The gripper, of course, also had to be strong enough to hold the monopile while being installed withstanding wave and wind forces.”
The revolutionary ‘pendulum design’ has the gripper ring suspended in tension rods, resulting in such a logical and optimal load path that the systems’ stiffness could be maximized while keeping the overall gripper weight down. The unique combination of gripper stiffness with the slenderness of the structure enables DEME to maximize the useful payload on their vessel. “The great thing about this project was that I experienced it from start to finish, which meant that I was also involved in the fabrication and even went offshore to see the gripper in action. Last January, the gripper successfully installed 58 wind turbine foundations at record speed. Something I am extremely proud of.”
Every design is created from the collaboration between engineers and designers. “For this project, I worked in an energetic team guided by experienced technical advisors. I highly appreciate the collaboration within TWD. Difficult problems are always tackled together. This results in a large variety of activities and a strong social element in our work. At TWD there is a work-hard-play-hard mentality, which means there is always time to celebrate a successfully finished project with a cold beer at our recurring Friday night drinks”.
TWD offers multidisciplinary services, ranging from structural, mechanical, and installation engineering to specialist disciplines and marine engineering. For Chris, his initial challenge when he started at TWD was that he was specialized in hydraulic engineering. He quickly learnt and familiarized himself with mechanical and structural engineering. “I did learn the basics of TWD’s engineering work during my bachelor’s, but that was already a while ago. Luckily, the structural competencies came back relatively quickly and I felt ready to further develop myself. After talking to my coach, I started to learn about planning and client communication and in less than a year I became Project Engineer.”
A year later, Chris had finished six additional projects. “I have been able to learn a lot in a short period of time since the projects had a relatively short timeline. Next to practical experience, I followed courses about engineering and management to give me better theoretical insight. My interest grew further beyond the engineering challenges and the project responsibilities that I faced. I got especially interested in the field of dynamics and had the chance to join the Marine department for two months to perform several challenging dynamic lowering studies. Because of this fast-paced environment and the opportunities, I had a steep learning curve in which I developed myself greatly. The beauty of TWD is, that if you take initiative you can grow along with this fast-growing company. Anything is possible.”
TWD is headquartered in Rotterdam and has offices in London and Greece. We offer exchange programs to create a special connectedness between the offices and be able to learn from each other. Soon, Chris will be going to London to learn from his British colleagues. “I’m also especially looking forward to spending my weekends roaming in the city and to spend an evening or two in an English pub. In London, the focus is more on civil projects. An example of a civil project is the ‘walking piling gate’. A piling solution to install 800 piles in the sea to extend a port faster than usual. Our engineers came up with a piling gate that significantly shortens the project lead time by autonomously skidding forward. This eliminates the additional step of having to move the template manually. With this construction, the client was able to install the piles three times faster than usual. A great improvement since they were used to installing one pile a day.”
Chris feels that working at TWD gave him the opportunity to do what he is most passionate about. He finds the projects are challenging and diverse, enjoys working in a young and energetic team, and loves how the options to develop yourself seem endless. “I look forward to the engineering challenges ahead.”
Do you also see yourself working as an Engineer at TWD? Apply now and engineer your future, just like Chris, at TWD! Please send your letter of motivation and CV to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact HR via +31 10 294 03 74.
*This article was originally published at https://www.offshorewind.biz/2020/04/06/what-its-like-being-an-engineer-at-twd/