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Cooperation leads to great results

Sondre Sanden Tørdal and Philipp Schubert are some of the PhD students who use UiA’s Motion Laboratory to develop new solutions for the industry.

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Sondre Sanden Tørdal and Philipp Schubert

For two weeks, the PhD research fellows Sondre Sanden Tørdal (UiA) and Philipp Schubert (RWTH Achen) have worked intensively in UiA’s Motion Laboratory at Campus Grimstad before Schubert is returning to Achen. In the future, the solution the PhD students are now developing might become a product for one or more partner companies in SFI Offshore Mechatronics.

Great results on several levels

UiA’s centre for research-based innovation, SFI Offshore Mechatronics, is meant for developing industry-relevant tools and components. The centre leader Geir Hovland recognises how valuable this sort of cooperation is.

“It offers great results on several levels. The PhD research fellows get to exchange ideas and experiences, UiA gets a joint publication with RWTH Achen, and the industry gets to see the potential in a possible, future product,” says Hovland.

The purpose of the study is reducing the oscillations of a crane’s hanging load because this can increase the so-called operational weather window in offshore operations when moving a load between vessels in offshore operations. Oscillations in hanging loads is one of several issues that must be researched in order to face a future with more autonomous offshore operations. Solutions for reducing oscillations, which may result in increasing the operational weather window, will lead to increased safety and efficiency. Sondre Tørdal, who is employed at MacGregor where he works 7.5 hours a week, hopes to see the solutions someday be realised and adopted.

“The research being done here can be applied instantly by the industry. The industry can use the research that is done here and deliver products that incorporate the technology that is being developed,” he says.

Tørdal and Schubert are both research fellows through SFI Offshore Mechatronics. They are planning on making a publication based on their cooperation. This is the first step for possible further cooperation. Geir Hovland is not opposed to the idea of more stays of this kind, both from international and Norwegian partners.

World-class equipment

Ph.d.-student Sondre Sanden Tørdal (UiA)

UiA’s Motion Laboratory is unique in the academic world, and consists of, among other things, two so-called Stewart platforms that are used to simulate ship movements. In addition to these machines, the laboratory has an industrial robot with an open controller and advanced measuring equipment based on laser and camera technologies. The laboratory was opened at the end of 2013 with the intention of increasing the amount of cooperation between UiA and the industry. Philipp Schubert has visited UiA’s Motion Laboratory on previous occasions. He has looked forward to working there.

“The cool thing about this is that we are dealing with ‘real’ data and not just data from a simulation. This is something the industry perceives as more authentic. Here you have a completely unique testing setup, which gives you more realistic parameters for your study than if you simply used simulations. This type of measuring and experiments is the closest we can get to actually doing it between two ships.”

Ph.d.-student Philipp Schubert (RWTH Achen)

Sondre Tørdal agrees:

“If you want to conduct motion experiments, this is the place to do it. We have a completely unique setup, and here we work with limitations that are more realistic. In a simulation, a mathematical model is often used to simulate the issue. This model is then used to make potential solutions for the problem. In other words, the solution will match well with what you have simulated, but then you will not be able to include all the realistic parameters that you get from this setup. And that might affect the results of your study.”

Internationalisation through research fellows

Strengthening international networks is a significant priority area in UiA’s strategy for 2016-2020, and increased mobility of our research fellows and Phd candidates is a concrete measure that is encouraged. Two institutes from RWTH Achen participate with work packages to the laboratory. Philipp Schubert clearly notes how pleased he is with his stay in Grimstad and recommends more people to do the same.