Floating monopile installations

The yearly Offshore Energy in RAI Amsterdam is TWD’s home-market trade-fair and traditionally marks a moment to reflect on previous year’s achievements. Since last year’s exhibition, TWD engineers again contributed to a wide variety of efficient construction methods, installation solutions and equipment designs, solving numerous challenges in the Offshore Wind installation market. Looking back on these projects, it gets clear that even in the short time span of a year, some long-expected market shifts have now truly started to take shape.

The Offshore Wind market grows both in Europe and internationally. Waters get deeper, turbines bigger and consequentially the foundations get heavier. These trends have resulted in an increasingly diverse set of heavy lift contractors being attracted to foundation installation projects. Not only operators of dedicated offshore wind installation jack-ups, but also a wide range of contractors operating floating heavy lift vessels and semi-submersible barges are increasingly successful on securing foundation installation contracts.


Back in 2014, this shift towards floating monopile installation was already glooming at the horizon and inspired TWD and Barge Master to launch their Motion Compensated Pile Gripper concept. This innovative gripper is designed to compensate the horizontal vessel motions occurring at higher sea-states, allowing floating vessels to install monopiles with a similar workability as their jacked-up counterparts.

After 5 years of extensive research and development, TWD has successfully tackled the various challenges related to the different operational stages of floating monopile installations. TWD worked closely together with market parties and the support of RVO to develop the required know-how on hydrodynamics, motion control, DP stability and mechanical design of pile grippers. This positions TWD as the engineering partner of choice to design pile grippers for all floating heavy lift vessels, semi-subs and sheerleg crane barges currently lined-up for the installation of monopiles.


The complex dynamics of all stages of the monopile installation – upending, lowering and piling – need to be thoroughly analyzed and combined into an integrated piling solution, where the vessel’s crane, DP system and gripper controls need to interact flawlessly. Each vessel type differs in hydrodynamic behavior and each vessel has its own operational limitations, calling for a tailored gripper design to maximize the piling output.

Innovation gripper
HLV Innovation, installing foundations on Belgium’s windfarm Seamade

Method engineering and tailored design of installation equipment is TWD’s core business. Since last Offshore Energy Exhibition, multiple TWD gripper designs have again proven to be exactly fit for purpose: ‘HLV Innovation’ started strong on piling with TWD’s latest pile gripper on DEME Offshore’s SeaMade project. The versatile pile gripper on Van Oord’s Aeolus completed the Norther wind farm in record time and HLV Svanen managed to secure the monopile installation contract on Krieger’s Flak, where TWD’s XL-gripper will again be deployed.

Aeolus installion foundations for Norther OWF

Aeolus installing foundations on Norther

TWD’s XL-gripper on HLV Svanen

Aside of the extensive track record in pile grippers, TWD engineers also contributed to the designs of an increasingly versatile fleet of bespoke motion compensated systems for its sister company Barge Master. Currently, Barge Master operates multiple motion compensated platforms, cranes and gangways, all designed to the highest offshore safety standards. Both the gripper know-how as the in-house motion compensation expertise enables TWD to efficiently assist contractors to overcome their floating monopile installation challenges.

Wikinger T700 platform_motion compensation
Barge Master T700, drilling at Wikinger

If you are interested and want to learn more about TWD’s engineering capabilities, we’d love to meet you at our booth (1.520) on the Offshore Energy in RAI Amsterdam. We look forward to welcome the engineering challenges ahead of us!


And check out our Track Record, which illustrates how we could contribute to your future Offshore Wind installation project.

Offshore Wind Track Record


Source: Van Oord for photo Aeolus

#Floating Installations, Offshore, MCPG, Motion Compensated Pile Gripper, Wind farms, Floating vessels, WTG, Offshore Energy Amsterdam 


Motion Compensated Pile Gripper