Huisman develops quick connector for safer offshore installations

Huisman and Jan De Nul Group have joined forces for the heavy lift equipment on board of the latter’s new offshore installation vessels Les Alizés and Voltaire. One of the outcomes of this cooperation is the Universal Quick Connector, which fully automatically attaches loads and tools to the crane’s lower block.

Upon the order of both vessels in 2019, Huisman was awarded the contract for the engineering, construction and delivery of two highly innovative cranes. For these cranes, which will be the largest in their class, Huisman developed the Universal Quick Connector (UQC) based on the expertise of Jan De Nul Group’s operational and engineering team.

The UQC is a smart, modular and robust clamp which is mounted inside the crane’s lower block. It allows to lift objects through a direct connection, without intermediate rigging and totally hands-free.

‘By refining this concept with the operational and procedural expertise of Jan de Nul’s engineering teams, we have created an integrated tool which will increase safety and workability on board,’ says Henk Weterings, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Huisman. ‘We envision that this tool will be the first of many in the offshore lifting industry.’

No need for rigging

The UQC attaches and detaches loads and tools directly to the crane’s lower block without rigging, entirely hands-free and fully automatic. This automated working method creates a safe environment in which the personnel’s safety is not compromised. The complex task of – typically manual assisted – (de)rigging can be prepared outside of the critical path of the lifting operation.

Overall, the UQC also improves workability. Because rigging is no longer needed, the crane fitted with the UQC can optimise available lifting heights and work subsea where traditional equipment encounters difficulties when rigging a load.

Active rotation device

The UQC is fitted with an active rotation device increasing operational control when attaching the load. It allows rotation of the load to fine-tune its orientation without additional taglines. This enables the accurate positioning of heavy components as well as wind turbine components with strict bolt pattern tolerances.

The UQC connects to the lifting tool with a specific pin. Any lifting tool fitted with this pin can be used by the UQC. Thanks to its versatile design, the UQC will also be able to hoist existing lifting tools by means of an intermediate lifting eye and pin connection. In case conventional rigging is needed, a traditional hook fitted with the pin can be mounted in the UQC.

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.