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New Launch and Recovery System for Unmanned Craft Proved in Testing on Norway’s West Coast

SOLUS, a new Launch and Recovery system for unmanned craft has been proven in testing that took place on Norway’s West Coast.

  • The SOLUS system is the result of a long and successful collaboration between two of Norway’s most recognizable maritime brands, Vestdavit and H. Henriksen.
  • SOLUS is a cost-effective and compact equipment fit for an Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) and can be used with existing Davits.

30.10.2020, Bergen, Norway.
Sea trials conducted by a combined team of engineers from Vestdavit and H. Henriksen have provided proof of concept for SOLUS – a new launch and recovery system that simplifies and enhances Unmanned Surface Vehicle handling. The tests took place on board a Vestland Offshore vessel, whose existing boat and davit system were modified to accommodate SOLUS equipment before the team oversaw repeated Launch and Recovery cycles.

“We were very pleased that the testing proved that SOLUS is an excellent method for the Launch and Recover of USVs following a period of intense development” said Kristian Moss, Technical Supervisor at Vestdavit. “Not only did the equipment prove to be very user-friendly and perform flawlessly, but it was also extremely simple to install on the vessel’s existing infrastructure, taking very little time at all.”
Footage from the test, which is available on Vimeo, shows the full equipment arrangement in action. The vessel’s Fast Rescue Craft stood in for the USV for the purposes of the test and was equipped with a lightweight winch drum set up with dyneema rope and a robust Telescopic Pole. The dyneema rope is eight times lighter than an equivalent steel wire, keeping the total system weight to an absolute minimum. The vessel’s davit system was also modified to take the dyneema rope.

Following the launch of the USV – accomplished by the usual method involving a boat-mounted safety offload hook – recovery is controlled completely by the operator on board the vessel. The USV returns to its station alongside the vessel, at which point the operator activates the telescopic pole extending the dyneema rope to deck level, allowing the operator to catch the rope. The soft links of the rope are then fed into the painter system and the davit respectively, at which point the USV is recovered.
“The footage emphatically demonstrates the capability of the SOLUS system,” said Rolf Andreas Wigand, Managing Director of Vestdavit. “I am very proud of the teams at both Vestdavit and H. Henriksen who have pioneered an effective method for USV Launch and Recovery that can be achieved cost-effectively using existing equipment.”

For further information about the SOLUS System please contact Atle Kalve, Innovation & Development Director at Vestdavit, Atle.Kalve@vestdavit.no, +47 90 89 39 39.

Quality remote support via Augmented Reality

As lockdown restrictions re-emerge, Vestdavit is fully ready to offer remote support for the engineers servicing its marine davits, using state of the art augmented reality technology from UBIMAX.

Working with ‘RealWear HMT-1’ head-mounted hardware sent to Vestdavit’s Polish production plant, UBIMAX ‘xAssist’ software has proved itself invaluable in overseeing Factory Acceptance Tests from the firm’s Bergen headquarters.

“We refined things during trials, especially focusing on audio quality when there is background noise: we now use integral headsets,” says  Vestdavit After Sales Director Henric Collvin. “We can confirm that this technology is intuitive for operators and can deliver remote support more easily, saving time and engineer travelling costs. We are ready to use it with a customer, which is especially as travel restrictions are tightening once more worldwide.”

Already, service engineers routinely use mobile phones to video equipment they are working on to show more qualified technicians the challenges they face. AR means that this can happen in real time and hands-free. “The result is better communication and an improved ability to respond on site, but also a collaborative approach that is all about problem-solving,” says Collvin.

If a client requires a small adjustment to one of its boat launch-and-recovery systems, for example, Vestdavit could send the RealWear HMT-1 to the customer with the necessary spare parts. The customer’s in-house engineer could then undertake the maintenance task under supervision from a Vestdavit expert.

“Our engineers have benefited from intense training and many years of service experience. There is no replacement for that, but they also cannot be everywhere at once,” says Collvin. “This new approach means that, even during lockdown, clients can secure authorised service support from professionals highly skilled in problem-solving wherever they need it.”

To date, Vestdavit has taken delivery of three AR headsets, with one in operation in Poland, a second dispatched to its US-based service organisation and the third held at headquarters for future deployment.  “Once this service is established, we certainly envisage investing in more units to match demand,” says Collvin.

For more information, contact: Henric Collvin, After Sales Director, Ph.+47 47 91 15 59, email: henric.collvin@vestdavit.no

Vestdavit wins contract to supply six French Navy vessels

Leading marine-davit manufacturer Vestdavit has secured a contract with shipbuilder Socarenam to supply fast rescue boat davit systems for six patrouilleurs d’outre-mer (POM) vessels for the French Navy. The 80-metre-long ships will serve as part of the Navy’s POM programme, providing surveillance and protection for France’s extensive exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which includes parts of the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean.

Currently under construction at the Socarenam yard on in Saint Malo, the high specification offshore patrol vessels are due for delivery between 2022 and 2025, and will be homeported in pairs in New Caledonia, Réunion Island and French Polynesia. Each of the six diesel-electric POM ships will deploy one PLD-5000 fast rescue boat davit system to enable fast launch and rescue operations in waters surrounding French overseas territories.

“Because France’s EEZ is so widely distributed, the Navy’s POM vessels are built for varying and unpredictable conditions – and their davits need to match this level of flexibility,” says Vestdavit Area Sales Manager Redouane Lahsen. “The PLD-5000 fast-rescue davit comes equipped with an adjustable and detachable docking head, making it one of the most flexible boat-handling systems on the market.”

Lahsen explains that the A-frame, single-point solution was specially designed to support the launch and recovery of larger boats weighing as much as five tonnes, and that its automated painter boom allows safe handling up to sea state 5. Its guiding arms, shock absorbers and wave-compensating winch system provide additional layers of safety and comfort for craft and crew, adds Lahsen, while its compact, simplified design facilitates installation and maintenance.

The latest agreement also ensures business continuity, reinforcing Vestdavit’s seven-year relationship with Socarenam and expanding its already-considerable presence in France. It also represents the Bergen-based company’s second collaboration with the French Navy this year, as part of a series of recent successes with navies around the globe.

“In 2013, Socarenam identified us as a reliable partner that could deliver high-quality products and outstanding technical support,” says Vestdavit Managing Director Rolf Andreas Wigand. “Since then, we have strengthened our position as the preferred davit supplier for some of the world’s most important navies, including the French Navy, with whom we are honoured to be working on another significant project.”

For more information contact: Redouane Lahsen, Area Sales Manager, Ph. +47 90998971, email: redouane.lahsen@vestdavit.no

Vestdavit wins long-term service agreement with NOAA

Leading boat launch and recovery systems supplier Vestdavit has secured a far-reaching frame agreement to provide service, support and spares for the variety of marine davits it has supplied to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

NOAA operates a fleet of research and survey vessels that conduct a wide variety of missions, including oceanographic research, marine life studies and hydrographic surveys, RHIBs of various sizes and 30-foot Hydrographic Survey Launches are typical boats that are used with our davit systems depending on the mission.

The all-embracing five-year contract is valued at up to US$2.5 million and aligns with U.S. Department of Commerce requirements. It covers 20 davits delivered to multiple NOAA ships and calls for the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to provide annual and five-year davit inspections, hook inspections, and full training and technical support.

“This is a prestigious contract in its own right but also demonstrates the way customers are increasingly favoring OEM expertise for service work,” says Magnus Oding, General Manager of Vestdavit’s US-based operation, Vestdavit Inc. “Our davits are selected for performance, reliability and long life, so it is no surprise that purpose-built parts and authorized service engineers are best suited to maintaining full functionality, especially given the harsh conditions in which NOAA vessels often operate.”

Whether needed to support security, research or offshore operations, the ability of davits to launch and recover small boats safely and efficiently is pivotal if mission ships are to perform their full range of duties.

“It is critical that original and fully tested spare parts are used and that they are maintained by qualified personnel,” adds Oding. Non-OEM davit parts compromise not only performance, but safety, while rogue technicians are not authorized to offer certification no matter how convincing the documentation may appear. All Vestdavit technicians and service partners have gone through our extensive training and work on Vestdavit systems every day.”

International Maritime Organization resolution MSC.402(96) indicates that, to certify service and spare parts agreements, any third-party must follow certification programs based on OEM guidance. Use of unauthorized spare parts or service technicians can therefore be considered a breach of SOLAS.

“We are delighted that our efforts to establish Vestdavit Inc. as a US subsidiary with its own service technicians and spare parts warehouse continues to be vindicated by growth in our busines with US-based clients,” says Rolf Andreas Wigand, Managing Director, Vestdavit. “We believe this commitment has once more been key in this contract from NOAA. Not only can we respond quickly when clients need ad hoc assistance: we are also able to plan upcoming jobs with maximum efficiency and at the convenience of the client.”

 

For more information, contact: Magnus Oding, General Manager, Vestdavit Inc. Ph. +1 425 501 5936, e-mail: Magnus.oding@vestdavitus.com

 

Vestdavit wins contract to supply six Australian Navy patrol boats

Vestdavit wins contract to supply six Australian Navy patrol boats
Leading davit supplier Vestdavit has secured an agreement with Austal Australia to deliver twelve boat launch-and-recovery systems for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The marine davits will be installed on six new Cape-class patrol boats (CCPBs), under construction for the Navy at Austal’s Henderson shipyard in Western Australia.

Joining the combined RAN and Australian Border Force fleet of 10 CCPBs, the cutting-edge vessels will enhance Australia’s border protection capabilities, supporting a wide range of security missions at a critical time for the country. They will feature Vestdavit’s PLAR-6501 single-point telescopic davit, an upgrade on the PLAR-6500 deployed on the existing patrol boats and a higher-capacity cousin of the PLAR-4501 delivered to the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard earlier this year.

The PLAR-6501, like the 4501, has been designed according to new standard DNVGL-ST-0498 for safer and more efficient boat handling. In addition to minimising weight, the PLAR 6501’s aluminium structure protects against corrosion; a fatigue analysis carried out during the DNV GL certification process indicates an extended lifespan.

“The 6501 is the latest and highest-capacity PLAR model to conform to DNV GL standards, making it part of a new generation of A-frame davit,” explains Vestdavit Sales and Business Development Director Bjørnar Dahle. “It is light, compact and robust, offering unparalleled performance without affecting the stability and manoeuvrability of vessels. It is therefore the ideal boat-handling system for the varied and challenging operations of navies and coast guards.”

The new davit system – designed for the launch and recovery of man-overboard and fast-rescue craft – comes equipped with dynamic shock absorber and hydraulic boat-guiding arms to ensure the safety of crew above sea state 4.

For Vestdavit, this is the most recent in a series of agreements to supply international naval organisations. This year alone, the Bergen-based company has delivered its boat-handling systems to the United States Navy, the Royal Navy and the French Navy, as well as to the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard.

“2020 has been a particularly busy year for us in terms of our involvement with naval organisations,” says Dahle. “With governments investing heavily in border protection, Vestdavit’s technology, manufacturing quality and service support is persuading navies to opt for our premium-grade davits, but we also need to acknowledge Austal for its ongoing cooperation. Over the years, we have delivered more than 60 davits to Austal yards, and there is no doubt that this long-standing relationship has been a key factor in our continuing success in the naval segment.”

For more information: Bjørnar Dahle, Sales and Business Development Director, Ph. +47 452 19573, email: bjornar.dahle@vestdavit.no or Rolf Andreas Wigand, Managing Director, Ph. +47 994 64862, email: rwigand@vestdavit.no

Vestdavit to deliver advanced boat-handling systems to U.S. Navy

Vestdavit Inc., the US operation set up by industry-leading davit supplier Vestdavit, has won a contract to deliver boat launch-and-recovery systems to two Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) vessels belonging to the United States Navy. Currently under construction by global shipbuilder Austal at its yard in Mobile, Alabama, the EPFs will assist the Navy’s military and humanitarian efforts worldwide.

Vestdavit will supply a 2TDB-7000 davit system to each of EPF 13 and EPF 14, the latest vessels to be commissioned as part of the US Navy’s EPF program. With EPF 13 due for delivery in late 2021, both ships will be deployed in the high-speed, intra-theatre transport of personnel and supplies as well as military vehicles and equipment.

“When they join the US Navy’s EPF fleet, these two vessels will be facing unpredictable and potentially very challenging conditions,” states Vestdavit Managing Director Rolf Andreas Wigand. “Because of this, they require flexible, high-performance marine davits that can keep up with their fast-paced and dynamic operations. As our most sophisticated dual-point system yet, the 2TDB-7000 meets all of these criteria and more.”

Wigand explains that the hydraulically operated 2TDB-7000 davit will enable the safe launch and recovery of 11-meter rigid-hull inflatable boats in conditions up to sea state 6 and at 10 knots. The system is specifically designed for flexibility, he says, and features a painter boom, a wire hauler, shock absorbers and dual independent winches with constant-tension, controlled by PLC. It is made of robust steel, with an aluminum foundation frame minimizing overall weight.

Vestdavit’s selection to provide boat-handling systems for EPFs 13 and 14 reaffirms its standing as the preferred davit supplier of international navies and coast guards. In addition to signing agreements with the Royal Navy, the French Navy and the Royal Australian Navy in 2020, the Bergen-based company recently won a contract to supply davits to two Expeditionary Sea Base ships for the US Navy.

The latest deal also reinforces what is already a strong relationship between Vestdavit and Austal. Over the course of their long-standing association, Vestdavit has provided Austal Australia with over 60 davit systems for deployment on a variety of ships.

“2020 is proving to be a big year for investments in security and defense forces around the world, and we are honored to have been chosen to supply the US Navy’s forthcoming Expeditionary Fast Transport vessels,” says Magnus Oding, General Manager, Vestdavit Inc. “Our credentials and portfolio are speaking for themselves but we would also like to acknowledge our continuing exceptionally good relationship with the world’s largest navy, as well as the insights offered by Austal in serving its needs on this occasion in particular.”

 

For further information, contactRolf Andreas Wigand, Managing Director, Vestdavit AS, ph. +47 99 46 48 62, email: rolf.andreas.wigand@vestdavit.no  or Magnus Oding, General Manager, Vestdavit Inc., ph. +1 425 501 5936, email: magnus.oding@vestdavitus.com

 

 

Seafood specialist selects Vestdavit

Vestdavit has won a contract with sustainable seafood specialist Sanford, in New Zealand, to replace the boat launch-and-recovery systems it supplied 30 years ago on three deep-sea trawlers and one freezer trawler with its latest versatile marine davits. Each of the vessels will be supplied with a new PLi-2000 davit to support operations off the coast of New Zealand.

Sales and Business Development Director Bjørnar Dahle explains how the deal marks a two-fold success for Vestdavit: “When these vessels were built in Norway between 1989 and 1992, they were each fitted with Vestdavit PL davits. These boat-handling systems have not only stood the test of time but have measured up to the challenges of operating in some of the world’s most unforgiving waters. This is testament to the longevity and quality of our products – characteristics that convinced Sanford to choose us as supplier of their latest marine davits.”

The oldest of the four vessels, San Granit, is a 67-metre freezer trawler, while San Waitaki, San Enterprise and San Discovery are stern-type deep-sea trawlers measure 64 metres in length. Waitaki and Enterprise were both built in 1990, with Discovery following in 1992. All four trawlers began operations in the North Sea and now sail under the New Zealand flag.

Specially designed for vessels in the fishing and ferry sectors, the Vestdavit PLi-2000 is a hydraulically operated single-point A-frame davit with a safe working load of up to 2,000 kilograms, allowing it to handle man-overboard boats both safely and efficiently. Its robust design is based on previous models that have proved their worth through decades of service in the harshest of marine conditions.

The agreement with Sanford is one of several recent successes for Vestdavit in New Zealand and comes as the company announces an additional contract with the country’s navy. Dahle cites the input of Vestdavit’s representative agency Antelope Engineering as being crucial to these deals: “As an expert in marine engineering for the Australasian market, Antelope has been an exceptionally helpful partner in our dealings with Sanford and the New Zealand Navy, putting its local knowledge and connections to good use. We greatly appreciate its ongoing contribution and support.”

For more information, contact: Bjørnar Dahle, Sales & Business Development Director, Ph. +47 45 21 95 73, email: bjornar.dahle@vestdavit.no

Vestdavit deploys augmented reality to enhance remote support

Vestdavit is enhancing its remote support offering with augmented reality software from UBIMAX, the world’s leading provider of wearable technology solutions for enterprises. The platform, named ‘xAssist’, will be used in conjunction with head-mounted hardware ‘RealWear HMT-1’ to provide customers with consistent levels of service when Vestdavit engineers are unable to work on site.

After Sales Director Henric Collvin explains that the idea is not to replace Vestdavit technicians, but to ease the burden on them. “Our engineers are highly skilled professionals with many years of experience servicing marine davits, and there is no replacement for that. However, they cannot be everywhere at once, and it is often far more practical to provide remote support.”

For example, if a client requires a small adjustment to one of its boat launch-and-recovery systems, Vestdavit can send the RealWear HMT-1 along with the necessary spare parts. Equipped with the headgear, the customer’s in-house engineer can perform the maintenance task with visual and audio instruction from a Vestdavit expert, who can see what the on-site technician is doing through xAssist.

This, says Collvin, brings great flexibility. “We can provide remote support even if all of our specialist technicians are occupied. For instance, an engineer from our hydraulics or mechanical team will be able to guide the customer through any simpler tasks.”

The current global health crisis has exacerbated the need for this kind of service, explains Collvin, but Vestdavit was planning to adopt the UBIMAX platform even before the outbreak. “Many companies are responding to the pandemic by investing in new technology, but remote maintenance had been gaining traction for some time. Customers are always looking for more efficient, cost-effective ways to operate. With xAssist, we maintain our usual service levels without having to send technicians to our client’s location. This reduces cost and saves time for both parties.”

But the benefits to Vestdavit could be further reaching. “While making things easier for our customers, we are highlighting our engagement with modern technology – and that, today, is key to success,” concludes Collvin.

For more information, contact: Henric Collvin, After Sales Director, Ph.+47 47 91 15 59, email: henric.collvin@vestdavit.no

Safe return for painter boom

A well-known shipowner with a ‘colorful’ brand recently had a change of heart on the value of the painter system as a tool for safer boat launching and recovery, after early stage operations led it to re-evaluate and request a quick turnaround on the installation of the Vestdavit solution.

A fast ferry that recently entered service using a competitor’s davits was subsequently retrofitted with a painter line and boom solution from Vestdavit, after initial boat launch and recovery operations proved below the owner’s expectations.

Bjørnar Dahle, Vestdavit Sales & Business Development Director, outlines the issue. “Used with a painter line that connects to a hook in the bow of the crew boat, the painter boom ensures that the boat runs parallel to the vessel during the launching and recovery operation. By allowing it to pick up the painter line without veering towards the ship`s side.”

Vestdavit Area Sales Manager Martin Sundgot Hansen picks up the tale behind the recent painter boom retrofit episode, although he is unwilling to point the finger when it comes to competing equipment.

“When the ship was under construction, we had discussions with the builder about the painter system but for one reason or another the decision was handed down that the installation would continue using a competitor’s davit solution, without a painter boom. Not long after the ship went into service, the customer got back in touch to say there had been hard lessons following delivery. The MOB-boat had to be handled at such a height that there were impacts against the ship side during launch and recovery. Not only did crew feel unsafe – the MOB-boat was also damaged.”

Sundgot Hansen says the owner made it known that not only did the new installation need to be standalone, feature its own power supply and offer an electrical interface for remote painter boom control by the davit operator; it also needed to be delivered fast.

“We had to come up with an adapted version of an existing telescopic painter boom design that could work for their situation, with only 11 weeks for design work, manufacturing and delivery.” Further challenges emerged to coincide with the short stays common in the fast ferry market, although in this case a timely maintenance layover provided the opportunity to deliver and install the new painter boom within the schedule.

“Of course, in painter booms as in everything else, the customer is always right,” adds Dahle. “This is simply an opportunity to highlight that, when Vestdavit says it delivers telescopic and rotatable painter booms in all shapes and sizes, with shock absorbers, remote control and automated tensioning, it can include occasions when the customer exercises the right to change its mind.”

For more information contact: Bjørnar Dahle, Sales & Business Development Director,  Ph.+47 45 21 95 73, e-mail: bjornar.dahle@vestdavit.no

Vestdavit fulfils four-davit order for Trinidad and Tobago coast guard

Leading davit supplier Vestdavit has completed the delivery of four boat-handling systems to Australian shipyard Austal. The PLAR-4501-type davits are due to be installed on two Cape-class patrol boats acquired by the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to enhance the island nation’s border protection capabilities.

The cutting-edge launch-and-recovery systems – part of a lightweight, robust and reliable family of A-frame aluminium davits for man-overboard and fast-rescue craft – are designed according to new standard DNVGL-ST-0498 for safer and more efficient boat handling. Due to their compact and resilient structure, they offer high performance without compromising vessel stability or manoeuvrability.

“As the newest addition to the PLAR family, the PLAR-4501 is as light, tough and flexible as previous iterations, but offers even greater safety and efficiency in line with the latest performance standards. This makes it highly-effective as a davit system for fast-patrol craft – and the perfect choice for the dynamic and unpredictable operations of coast guards and navies,” says Vestdavit Sales and Business Development Director Bjørnar Dahle.

With this most recent delivery, Vestdavit has now supplied Austal with over 60 marine davits. Between 2004-2006, Vestdavit delivered 28 units of the PLAR-4500 – the PLAR-4501’s predecessor – to the Henderson-based shipyard for installation on the Royal Australian Navy’s fleet of 14 Armidale-class patrol boats.

The latest announcement follows a run of successes for Vestdavit in the first half of 2020 with shipbuilders fulfilling navy contracts, including orders for Royal Navy, United States Navy and French Navy ships.

Dahle sees Vestdavit’s relationship with Austal and some of the world’s most prominent naval organisations as testament to the company’s ever-growing reputation. “This is another significant deal with a big name in shipbuilding for navies, and it reinforces our status as a supplier of premium-grade davits for high-stakes missions. Clearly, navies and coast guards – like that of Trinidad and Tobago – need reliable, high-performance systems for boat launch and recovery, and they are increasingly opting for the credentials and expertise of Vestdavit.”

For more information contact: Bjørnar Dahle, Sales and Business Development Director, Ph. +47 45 21 95 73, mail: bjornar.dahle@vestdavit.no