Industrial force measurement specialist Northern Balance employed a Straightpoint 25t Radiolink plus load cell aboard the Fugro Symphony to calibrate two newly installed cable tensioners recently.
The new additions to the deck of the 130m vessel grip cables and maintain tension as they are collected or laid on the seabed. Four huge load cells are fixed on each machine but the Straightpoint unit and digital handheld display were used as calibration tools, while the boat was docked in Blyth, Northumberland, UK.
Hayden Rouse, managing director, Northern Balance, said: "The ability to monitor the load cell at a safe distance was a major advantage. With the massive forces involved, the potential for something snapping and causing injury is always present and we always have to be mindful of the inherent hazards associated with such work."
Rouse provided weighing expertise alongside a team of fitters and welders in addition to a marine architect and draftsman. Only when the alignment mechanism was welded in place could the Radiolink plus and other equipment be rigged. Slings, shackles and the on board crane combined to generate the pulling force. Fugro Symphony is equipped with a MacGregor Hydramarine 'Active Boost' 150t AHC knuckle boom crane, capable of subsea lifts of 150t in single fall mode, down to 3,000m.
Rouse said: "I was impressed by the friendly and 'can do' attitude of the engineering team. It was no small task to install the massive cable winding system on the deck of the ship. They were also very respectful to me as the weighing expert and recognised the importance of the information I was contributing to the project. They watched me as I worked and I supplied the results of the calibration in real time."
Northern Balance was contracted by Blue Offshore, headquartered in the Netherlands, a specialist in innovative solutions for subsea cable installations. The modular design of its deck equipment is suited to use on a variety of vessels for projects involving offshore power cables, flexible pipes and umbilicals, all offering further scope for utilisation of Northern Balance's expertise and Straightpoint's force measurement, load monitoring and suspended weighing load cell equipment.
Rouse added: "The 25t Radiolink plus load cell met our capacity requirements and I know Straightpoint equipment to be rugged and reliable. This is the first job we have done for this particular customer but hopefully its success will lead to more work and we wouldn't hesitate to utilise the benefits of the same technology again."