Ampelmann Company installs wind turbines off the coast of England

The Ampelmann, a six legged hydraulic platform, plays an important role in the installation of 140 wind turbines of the Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind project off the coast of England. On Friday May 15th the new Ampelmann system will be presented at the RDM Dock in Rotterdam with which the first 42 transition pieces of the wind turbines will be installed this summer. The remaining 78 transition pieces will be installed in the summer of 2010.

Stationary platform
The Ampelmann has been developed at Delft University of Technology and is now being deployed by the technostarter Ampelmann Company. The technology of the platform resembles the way flight simulators are controlled. The platform remains stationary by continuously measuring the movements of the vessel on which it stands on by means of motion sensors. These movements are sent to a computer that controls the length of each individual cylinder in such way that these motions are directly compensated. From the stationary platform service engineers can walk safely onto a wind turbine at sea, even at higher sea states. Last year, the Ampelmann has been tested thoroughly on several offshore projects. The new, improved Ampelmann system will be used for the Greater Gabbard project.

The Netherlands, a competitive edge
The development of offshore wind is booming. According to Jan van der Tempel, inventor of the Ampelmann, the Dutch, but also the English and German part of the North sea is perfectly suitable for the installation and maintenance of big wind farms at sea. “The large and accessible ports combined with a vast maritime industry give The Netherlands a competitive edge with respect to other countries. The flourishing and growth of young and innovative companies like the Ampelmann Company shows that the Netherlands secures and increases that lead.”

RDM Campus
To house the Ampelmann systems, the company found space in the former RDM yard in the harbour of Rotterdam. The motto Research, Design & Manufacturing binds education and enterprise to create sustainable and innovative solutions for civil works, mobilization and energy. RDM Campus is a cooperation between Albeda College, Port of Rotterdam and Hogeschool Rotterdam.