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Vestdavit rides orders wave on naval ramp-up amid security fears

Naval forces are engaged in massive renewal of their fleets amid escalating maritime security threats and turf wars over natural resources – and this is driving increased demand for davit systems to deploy boats for rapid military response.

Norwegian davit supplier Vestdavit saw its sales surge to a record Nkr 165 million ($19.2 million) last year – up 25% on 2019 – as global orders for its proven high-specification boat-handling systems defied a downturn in the overall maritime sector amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fresh orders have rolled in mainly from the US, Europe and Australia, with demand coming primarily from navies and coast guards within the public procurement sector that account for more than 75% of Vestdavit’s davit turnover, according to managing director Rolf Andreas Wigand.

He sees this as part of an “underlying market trend of global threats and uncertainty” fuelled by the proliferation of piracy, terrrorism, smuggling and the narcotics trade, as well as resource nationalism.

“More and more countries see the need to patrol their borders at sea to protect fishing grounds and other economic assets such as energy resources,” Wigand says.

In addition, there is an increasing need to tackle illegal immigration along with humanitarian crises, such as en exodus of refugees, related to natural disasters or political upheaval.

 

Securing trade routes

Given that about 90% of global trade is carried by shipping, navies are also required to provide security for commercial vessels and their seafarers plying risky maritime trade routes such as the Strait of Malacca and Gulf of Aden.

Wigand explains that such tasks necessitate davit systems able to rapidly and safely deploy smaller boats from larger naval vessels such as frigates and offshore patrol vessels, also in high sea states of five or six.

Navies are now seeking to upgrade their fleets with multi-role vessels that can tackle a diversity of tasks and have onboard boat-handling systems designed for versatility, along with regularity and efficiency.

A number of countries plan to renew their naval fleets including the US, which has embarked on a fleet expansion that will require annual spending of about $25 billion to acquire eight to 13 ships per year through 2049.

European countries – including France, Germany and the UK – are also modernising their naval fleets, with fisheries protection now a big issue off the UK following Brexit as well as off Norway, which has recently had a run-in with the EU over illegal fishing.

 

Davit market trends

Wigand says there is in particular strong interest from the US for computer-controlled dual-point davits, part of Vestdavit’s extensive range of robust bespoke systems supported by a global after-sales network as it moves in step with clear market trends going forward.

“There is growing interest from both the military and commercial segments in our systems able to handle unmanned surface vehicles and autonomous underwater vehicles that can carry out tasks 24/7 without risk to human life,” he says.

“There are also many new ship projects on the horizon centred on a mission bay able to handle multiple craft – such as MOB boats, workboats and USVs, as well as containers – for which our MissionEase system is well-suited.”

Wigand sees the orders surge as vindication of Vestdavit’s focus on technological innovation, with sales on a similar upward trajectory this year.

“The increase in revenue shows that our products and services are attractive to a growing number of customers, giving us proof that we have a strong strategy,” Wigand says.

“More importantly, growth comes from a portfolio of products and projects fuelled by innovation, which is key to our business. It is in our DNA to constantly challenge existing parameters to find new, stronger, better solutions, and develop safer and more capable davits.”

 

For more information contact: Rolf Andreas Wigand, Managing Director, Phone: +47 99 46 48 62, Mail: rwigand@vestdavit.no

Ulstein newbuild makes splash with new davit concept

Newbuild cable-laying vessel Nexans Aurora will be making waves in more ways than one when it hits the water shortly – as it will also mark the launch of the next generation in boat-handling systems.

The state-of-the-art newbuild, now in the final stages of construction at Norwegian shipyard Ulstein Verft, has been designed specifically to work in harsh-environment conditions and therefore required a boat deployment system with a high level of flexibility and redundancy.

The DP3 vessel, with a cable capacity of 10,000 tonnes, will perform cable-laying, cable system protection and trenching for Nexans Subsea Operations, and its first contract will entail installing export cables for the Seagreen wind farm project off Scotland following sailaway this spring.

Its delivery will also see the operational debut for the first full-scale version of the so-called MissionEase system, developed by Norwegian davit supplier Vestdavit, that represents a significant design leap in launch-and-recovery systems for workboats and other craft carried onboard a vessel for a variety of tasks.

Instead of a traditional davit mounted on the upper deck of a ship, MissionEase uses a system of hydraulic cradles to move boats on a tracking system within a hangar inside the hull to positions for maintenance, preparation or launch using a telescopic davit.

The innovative system installed on the Aurora will have capacity to handle as many as 14 craft – including workboats and ROVs – that can be securely stored and mobilised in the enclosed ‘garage’ on the mission deck.

These will be used to carry out vital work on subsea cables for power supply and fibre-optical communication connected to offshore installations.

Complex puzzle

Vessel owner Nexans, together with the yard, selected the MissionEase system due to its versatility as it enables multiple boats to be moved around on the mission deck and safely launched from either side of the mothership even in rough weather.

This avoids the risk of shifting weight loads when lowering and lifting boats in adverse weather conditions using a traditional gantry davit on the top deck where space was also limited on the Aurora due to the density of cable-spooling equipment onboard.

The MissionEase system is therefore designed to give vessels a wider operational window to avoid costly weather-related delays on offshore projects, according to Vestdavit.

A boat-launch system is an essential part of the complex jigsaw puzzle for a newbuild and among the many components that have to be delivered on time and with the correct specifications to ensure timely delivery of the vessel from the yard.

Third-party equipment can account for as much as 70% of the cost of a newbuild and the shipyard is dependent on reliable and timely design, delivery and support from the supplier to mitigate the major share of construction risk that is borne by the yard.

Close collaboration between the ship designer, in this case Ålesund-based Skipsteknisk, and the supplier is vital early in the design phase to avoid technical issues and unforeseen changes during the fabrication phase that can cause costly delays.

MissionEase was proposed by Skipsteknisk during the conceptual phase of the newbuild, given the system was one of very few suitable solutions available in the market that fitted with the vessel’s specifications, with Vestdavit listed as one of the yard’s preferred suppliers.

Equipment integration

“In this case we proposed Vestdavit as a supplier due to quick feedback on technical concept proposals, compact size of equipment offered, good experience from earlier projects together, as well as an overall good reputation in the market. The final proposal from Vestdavit met the high-end requirements from Nexans,” says Skipsteknisk’s chief designer for offshore vessels Stig Roe Hauge.

Ulstein Verft purchaser Oda Remøy Reite says: “It was a challenge to find a solution that was space-efficient for the workboat garage and Vestdavit could supply us with a sufficiently compact system in accordance with the shipbuilding specification.”

She adds Vestdavit is “a solid company with innovative equipment that is easy to manoeuvre for the operator”.

One of the key challenges during the design phase is to gain a correct picture of the equipment’s dimensions and weight, functionality and connection interface related to elements such as power, cooling and hydraulics so it can be efficiently integrated into the overall blueprint of the vessel.

Reliable weight data early in the design phase is particularly important as this can affect vessel stability and loading capacity if this data proves to be wrong.

Functional equipment that can be simply connected on a ‘plug-and-play’ basis is also important to ease installation and minimise man-hours at the yard.

Excessive use of man-hours during installation and dysfunction of equipment presents a risk for delays and cost overruns.

Timely delivery of accurate equipment drawings is necessary and the supplier also needs to provide reliable supervision, follow-up and support throughout the design and construction phases.

Space challenge

In the case of the MissionEase, a particular challenge was to make the system – including its telescopic davits – as compact as possible to fit within a confined space with height constraints on the mission deck, Vestdavit’s area sales manager Martin Hansen explains.

This entailed regular exchanges of digital drawings with Skipsteknisk to eliminate design conflicts when these arose and modify the solution to work around issues such as deck pillars, he says.

“There must be a fluid process to develop and adjust the system also after an equipment delivery contract has been signed to resolve possible design conflicts,” Hansen says.

Skipsteknisk’s Hauge says: “In the concept phase, quick feedback and turnaround time for revised technical proposals is most important.

“In the basic design phase after selection, another key requirement is to provide good-quality technical documentation on time and solution-oriented problem solving”.

He says the Bergen-based davit supplier has demonstrated from previous projects that it can deliver detailed drawings and 3D computer models for the ship designer, as well as “maintain good communication during the design and construction phases to resolve challenges that inevitably occur with such complex equipment”.

Ulstein Verft’s senior engineer responsible for outfitting engineering, Arild Brevik, says the main challenge for the yard in installing MissionEase on the Nexans Aurora was “a lot of measuring”.

“Measurements have to be constantly checked to ensure everything fits and works together, accounting for structural supports above and below the mission deck,” he explains.

Brevik says the interface with Vestdavit has “functioned well” during construction work, supported by digital 3D modelling work on both sides to eliminate anomalies, and the supplier has been on hand to tackle challenges along the way to maintain the newbuild schedule.

While Vestdavit has previously delivered a scaled-down version of the MissionEase for an Esvagt crewing vessel, this will be the first time the full system has been installed on a newbuild and Hansen credits Nexans for the “bold move” in bringing it into real-life operation.

The Nexans Aurora is on track for sailaway in the second quarter of this year following final testing, but Vestdavit remains confident of smooth sailing for this flagship delivery.

 

For more information contact: William Goodall, Area Sales Manager, Phone: +47 46 89 56 39, Mail: william.goodall@vestdavit.no

‘Devil is in the detail’ for davit systems

Getting it right in the design phase is critical to the performance of boat-handling equipment and cutting corners can prove costly.

The efficiency of a davit is determined by the sum of its moving parts and a failure of any one of these components can have fatal consequences – so eliminating such pain points early in the design process is key to a successful delivery.

The interconnected shock absorbers, wave-compensating winches and other components that make up an intricate boat-handling system must be designed to endure the intense stresses and strains from repetitive usage in variable sea conditions and harsh marine environments.

The main reasons why such systems sometimes fail are human error, a lack of proper maintenance, inadequate training for operators and service technicians, and the use of rogue parts that have not been subject to rigorous testing procedures to ensure reliability.

Davits must have a failsafe constant self-tension system, a hydraulic shock absorber to bear peak loads and an end stop to ensure that launch craft carrying personnel or expensive equipment such as remote-operated vehicles can be safely deployed in the water even at speed.

As well as the safety aspect due to the potential risk to human life, davit reliability is necessary from an economic standpoint both to safeguard against damage to launch craft and losses from equipment downtime that reduces the number of missions that can be carried out, which must be measured against the daily operational cost of having a vessel at sea.

“As regards maintenance, the devil is in the detail to keep davits working safely day in and day out as they should to ensure constant availability for missions by navies and coastguards,” says Henric Collvin, after sales director for Bergen-based davit supplier Vestdavit.

“The sea is a harsh place and a level of preventive maintenance is necessary,” he adds.

Avoiding pain points

Collvin points to the need for regular visual inspections, mechanical testing, oil level checks and monthly cleaning to remove saltwater as a build-up of salt can cause corrosion, as well as biannual checks of finer components such as pressure gauges and nitrogen levels in accumulators.

Vestdavit, along with peer suppliers, is also required to carry out annual and five-yearly servicing of its davits under IMO regulations introduced last year to ensure they meet SOLAS standards for maintenance and operation of boat launch and recovery systems.

Such critical maintenance must be carried out using genuine, fully tested spare parts by trained personnel who are properly certified for this work.

However, Vestdavit has highlighted cases where servicing has been carried out by unqualified personnel as “service providers sometimes believe that training and certification of approved technicians can come from any company with a davit”, which presents an obvious safety risk.

Furthermore, the use of rogue parts to cut corners on costs can have serious consequences as, even though they are ostensibly similar to original components, they may have hidden shortcomings, it warns.

“The materials used for rogue parts will not have had the same design and engineering to endure the prior testing regime that we consider vital for overall system performance: if malfunctions occur as a result, possible outcomes could include fatalities,” the company states.

Vestdavit’s  genuine spare parts to maintain its high-specification davits to ensure consistent performance over a long lifespan, often in high sea states and harsh conditions, while it has a global network of certified service partners that spans the US, UK, Russia, Brazil South Africa and Singapore to ensure rapid delivery of replacement parts.

At the same time, a focus on reliability and ease of maintenance in davit design means less frequent servicing and fewer replacement parts are required, thereby cutting maintenance costs versus competing systems.

Design collaboration

The business of designing davits is not a uniform science as, while such equipment has standardised elements, bespoke solutions are often required to handle the diversity of boats needed by navies, coastguards and other end-users – and getting it right in the design stage is vital to performance.

Vestdavit seeks to resolve technical challenges for boat-handling systems through a collaborative approach with the end-user and ship designers to integrate its tailor-made davit solution early in the design stage for a vessel newbuild.

Vestdavit technical director Helge Gravdal says a typical davit entails standardised elements – such as the winch and hydraulic system – to reduce cost and certification needs, but these can be configured into a specialised system to meet the particular requirements of the client with a focus on adaptability and flexibility.

“Davit requirements will vary from one ship to another and can be very specific, for example, for naval clients that may need a low radar cross-section to avoid radar detection. There may also be space constraints onboard that dictate the size of a davit,” he explains.

Vestdavit’s design criteria are based on the LSA (Life Saving Appliance) regulatory code for all lifesaving equipment, as well as Norsok rules for the North Sea and a voluntary certification standard introduced by DNV GL recently to cover davits used to launch and recover workboats.

The DNV GL-ST-0498 standard takes account of the fact that 67% of marine casualties or incidents are due to human error and therefore seeks to reduce or eliminate errors or equipment failure by recommending solutions to offset such shortcomings.

Consequently, the new standard demand redundancy in critical components to ensure the boat-handling system still works even when parts of it are out of action, while also providing criteria for placement of davits on the mothership.

Crucially, the class rule recognises the connection between different sea states and equipment performance, and the need for additional components to increase lowering and lifting speeds in higher sea states of four or above – or above a 2.5-metre wave height – to ensure crew safety.

Helge Gravdal says shock absorption and vibration levels from operation in higher sea states are key issues that need to be factored into the equation in the design stage.

 Innovative technology

Vestdavit’s davit designs are based on technology that is tried and trusted from more than 2000 deliveries to different types of vessel – from naval warships to coastguard cutters and seismic vessels – and are designed to be compact for efficient use of space onboard, as well as light and resilient.

Gravdal points out that Vestdavit is able to provide development services in the pre-project phase and can deliver computer-generated 3D digital models of its davits to ship design houses to ease the overall design process.

“Digitalisation makes the design process more interactive and streamlined,” he explains.

Furthermore, Vestdavit is widening the application of digitalisation across its business from initial design to  production documentation and after-sales to improve efficiency and strengthen collaboration with all parties.

More advanced davit systems now incorporate computerised control and monitoring systems that facilitate fully automated operation while Vestdavit has also adopted data sensors for condition monitoring on davits for preventive maintenance, as well as augmented reality to provide remote support for service engineers amid travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This mirrors Vestdavit’s progressive solution-oriented approach focused on the use of the latest automated technology that has enabled it to steadily increase market share, having seen a 25% growth in davit deliveries last year.

Its state-of-the-art MissionEase concept, with an inboard mission bay that can house multiple diverse craft on a remote-controlled track system, marks another major technological leap in boat-handling systems that offers further potential for market growth.

Management System Certificate – Vestdavit Production Sp.z o.o.

Vestdavit are very excited to share that our production facility in Poland – Vestdavit Production – has received ISO 9001 accreditation from DNV-GL. The accreditation demonstrates Vestdavit’s commitment to excellent quality management and is a significant milestone for Vestdavit Production since it was incorporated into the Vestdavit Group just under a year ago. The certification is valid for the production of aluminum and steel davits, as well as for offshore products and ship hatches.

Katarzyna Stanczyk, Executive Managing Director of Vestdavit Production says, “I am very pleased that Vestdavit Production has earned this important accreditation. I am very proud of how the whole company has contributed to this process and look forward to showing off the certificate here at Vestdavit Production!”.

See Certificate

Battle stations for boat-handling systems

The reliability of davits used to launch rapid-response craft from a naval vessel can mean the difference between success and failure of a military or humanitarian mission.

The clock is ticking. Timing is critical. As is the covert Nato mission in the dead of night to intercept suspected armed pirates en route to attack a UN humanitarian aid ship moored off Eritrea to supply refugees caught up in the Ethiopia crisis. Human lives, as well as valuable cargo and assets, are at risk.

While this is a hypothetical scenario, it reflects real-life challenges for navies and coastguards in tackling such missions that are critically dependent on rapid deployment of high-speed craft, as well as the functionality of technology used to launch such vessels.

Readiness is key and this necessitates the reliability and efficiency of davit systems to perform repetitive missions at sea in a failsafe manner, as well as effective follow-up maintenance to ensure these systems continue to work efficiently.

“The sea is a very difficult environment in which to conduct military missions as one is up against a dual enemy: volatile marine conditions as well as the actual enemy,” explains William Goodall, a former surface warfare officer in the British Royal Navy and now area sales manager with Bergen-based davit supplier Vestdavit.

“It is therefore vital that a davit system is available for operations as and when required, that it functions correctly and has the widest possible operational window so that it can be deployed in extreme sea state conditions if needed.”

Reliability and regularity

Navies use a variety of launch craft for a range of vital tasks including counter-terrorism, operations to combat piracy and prevent drug smuggling that entail protection of human life, as well as recovery of arms and ammunition, explosives and contraband.

Such craft are also deployed in humanitarian efforts, for example to rescue stranded refugees or vessel crews in the event of a maritime accident, along with more routine tasks such as inspection of fishing vessels to ensure national fishery laws are being upheld and supervision of territorial rights.

These tasks demand a high level of durability, reliability and regularity for davit systems, which can be used as many as 12 times a day for launch and recovery of craft in the case of fishery inspections.

Delivery of dependable boat-handling systems requires these to meet both technical and performance specifications that enable them to respond as expected in real-life situations.

“We believe we need to walk the talk. That means not just supplying standardised equipment for our clients only to meet technical specifications but making sure it is fit-for-purpose and able to fulfill functional requirements in practice,” Goodall says.

“The system has to deliver when you press the button, with highly motivated personnel and equipment all ready to go,” adds the ex-officer who served tours of duty in the South Atlantic, Pacific and Persian Gulf where energy security was a priority, as well as carried out patrols in British and Norwegian waters, during his eight years in the Royal Navy.

Vestdavit has a long-established and proven track record in supplying efficient davit systems, having delivered more than 2000 such systems since 1965 including recent reference deliveries on vessel newbuilds for the US, French and Australian navies, as well as the US Coast Guard.

Goodall points out that a pair of davits supplied for two British naval warships, HMS Echo and HMS Enterprise, in 1997 are “still going strong” even as upgrades are now being considered for the vessels that have a design lifetime of 25 to 30 years.

Davit diversity

He attributes the “impressive longevity” of Vestdavit’s systems to durable components and regular preventive maintenance involving both weekly checks, and annual and five-yearly inspections in line with IMO guidelines.

This is necessary to counter the stresses and strains from repetitive operations in tough sea conditions on a davit’s moving parts – such as shock absorbers and winches – to ensure it remains fit for an operational window of up to sea state six.

The functionality of such components is also vital to safeguard both personnel and valuable equipment inside the craft being dropped to the water, such as a remote-operated vehicle that may be used to detonate a mine at sea.

Vestdavit is able to deliver a diversity of davits required to handle the wide range of craft used in operations for naval, coast guard and seismic customers that form its core clientele.

The company has also developed davits for hostile environments like the Arctic with measures such as protective housing and hot cables to de-ice components to withstand temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius, enabling polar vessels to operate in extreme and remote conditions.

This was demonstrated last year with a pair of Vestdavit’s PLR-5002 davits on Norwegian Coast Guard vessel KV Svalbard that was used to retrieve data sensors in the Beaufort Sea and the US Coast Guard has recently ordered the company’s HNFE-5000 davit systems for one of its polar security cutters.

Goodall believes the proven durability of Vestdavit equipment justifies a premium price tag as lifecycle costs are relatively lower due to reduced expenses on spare parts and servicing, with some clients requesting retrofits of its davit systems to replace existing ones that are less reliable.

Thought leadership

Vestdavit is focused on high-end, sophisticated equipment based on a proactive approach to client requirements as it exercises thought leadership in the field of davit systems.

Technical director Helge Gravdal says the company’s experience with previous deliveries enables it to determine the correct specifications for a davit based on the client’s operational requirement.

“Clients such as navies may have very specific requirements, such as the need to deploy a craft rapidly at speed in a high sea state, and this influences the design of davit we deliver. So dialogue with the end-user is very important to us,” Gravdal says.

Vestdavit is also taking a technological lead with, for example, development of davits using electrical rather than hydraulic power and Gravdal believes there will be more hybrid systems in future.

It is now taking a further step forward beyond traditional davit systems with its innovative MissionEase solution that facilitates deployment of multiple craft from a single ‘garage’ inside a vessel using an automated track system.

One such system is already in operation on a crew-change vessel and another designed for 13 boats is now being installed on the Nexans Aurora subsea cable laying vessel under construction at Norway’s Ulstein shipyard, marking the first commercial contract.

Goodall believes this will pave the way for future such installations of MissionEase on naval vessels and that the system also has potential for the expeditionary cruise market.

For more information contact: William Goodall, Area Sales Manager, Ph. +47 46 89 56 39, email: william.goodall@vestdavit.no

Vestdavit wins contract for new U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker

Leading boat-handling systems manufacturer Vestdavit Inc. has won a tender with Halter Marine in Pascagoula, Mississippi to supply marine davits for the United States Coast Guard’s new Polar Security Cutter (PSC). The 460-foot vessel will support U.S. operations in Arctic and Antarctic waters.

Two HNFE-5000 davit systems from Vestdavit will launch and recover the Coast Guard’s ‘Over the Horizon’ rigid-hull inflatable boat, designed to intercept fast and non-compliant vessels, from the PSC’s enclosed bay. The lead PSC is scheduled to be delivered to the Coast Guard in 2024.

“The PSC is a robust, high performance ship designed to support critical missions in the harshest of marine environments,” says Magnus Oding, General Manager, Vestdavit Inc. “It requires a similarly resilient boat-handling system capable of functioning effectively in high seas. The HNFE-5000 is the most advanced motion-compensated davit in the world and can safely launch and recover RHIBs in conditions up to sea state 6.”

Motion compensation ensures boat crew safety and comfort are sustained as the HNFE-5000’s matches the cutter boat’s need for fast-paced and dynamic operations with hoisting and lowering speeds of up to 50 meters (164 feet) per minute. With a safe working load of 5,000 kilograms (11,000 lbs.), the HNFE-5000’s flexible davit-arm spacing will also enable it to handle any other RHIBs that the PSC may deploy in the future, explains Oding.

The electrically operated davit system features dual independent winches with dynamic brakes, as well as a telescopic painter boom that automatically adjusts the length of the painter line to match the position of the davit.

Vestdavit Inc.’s selection as supplier to the PSC Program follows a string of successes for the supplier with international coast guards and navies. Since opening its Seattle office in 2017, the Bergen-headquartered company has won davit supply contracts covering a U.S. Army Corps dredger, as well as two Expeditionary Sea Base and two Expeditionary Fast Transport ships for the U.S. Navy. Last month, it secured a frame agreement to service davits it has supplied to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“Our office in Seattle gives us a strong foundation in North America – one of our most important markets,” says Vestdavit Managing Director Rolf Andreas Wigand. “It has allowed us to establish new relationships and build on our reputation for premium-quality products and service, and to secure prestigious contracts. Working with such a renowned shipyard to supply the Coast Guard is a great honor; we can’t wait to get started.”

For more information: Magnus Oding, General Manager, Vestdavit Inc. Ph. +1 425 501 5936, email: magnus.oding@vestdavitus.com or Rolf Andreas Wigand,  Managing Director Vestdavit AS, Ph. +47 99 46 48 62, email: rwigand@vestdavit.no

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