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From research to product: NOV now uses a new offshore crane technology created in collaboration with UiA

As a collaborative partner in a UiA project, NOV has developed advanced crane technology for safer and more efficient boat loading in all kinds of weather.

Skjermbilde av kran
With the new crane technology, the crane operator can rotate the load 360 degrees while the deck crew stays safely out of range (Screenshot from Transocean's YouTube video about the technology).

“Crane operators carry out thousands of lifts between supply boats and oil rigs every year. The new crane technology reduces the swinging motion of the load and makes it possible to rotate the load 360 degrees.”

This is what Peder Sletfjerding says. He is the department manager for Robotics and Automation at NOV. The offshore company has been part of UiA's research initiative, Centre for Research-based Innovation in offshore mechatronics (SFI Offshore Mechatronics).

The crane technology is an algorithm. It was developed and tested on a smaller crane that was built in a lab at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). Based on this research, NOV developed the technology that now helps reduce crane oscillations during cargo loading onto ships.

Peder Sletfjerding har koordinert NOV sitt arbeid i SFI-prosjektet.

Peder Sletfjerding has coordinated NOV's involvement in the SFI project.

“Before, the deck crew would rotate the load using push poles and tag lines, but with the new technology, the crane operator is able to rotate the load, and the deck crew can stay safely out of reach,” says Sletfjerding.

The technology is patented and called anti-sway rotator. The PhD students Andrej Cibicik and Geir Ole Tysse at NTNU were the ones who developed the algorithm.

“The PhD students initially developed it, and we have since refined and adapted it to suit our cranes. It provides a more secure system and expands the use of the crane,” says Sletfjerding.

The crane technology is now in use at NOV and Transocean.

Facts about Centre for Research-based Innovation Offshore Mechatronics (SFI)

SFI Offshore Mechatronics was the first project at UiA to be accepted into the Research Council's SFI programme in 2015. The overarching goal of the SFI scheme is to enhance innovation capacity and boost value creation in Norwegian business and industry through long-term research.

Academic partners:

  • NTNU
  • Aalborg Universitet (DEN)
  • NORCE Forskning
  • RWTH Aachen Universitet (GER)

Partners from the industry:

  • National Oilwell Varco Norway (NOV)
  • HMH (previous MHWirth)
  • MacGregor 
  • SLB (Cameron Sense)
    (Industry Cluster)
  • Skeie Technology Group 
  • Lundin Norway
  • StepChange
  • ABB
  • Bosch-Rexroth (GER)
  • Klüber Lubrication (GER)
  • Egde Consulting

Knowledge expansion

The SFI project has carried out research in areas such as hydraulics, robotics, automation and condition monitoring of machinery. NOV was involved in many of these, including projects on motion compensation, robotics and automation.

They see that the project is adding value to the industry in the region. Lettfjerding believes that NOV has benefitted substantially from the SFI collaboration. In addition to developing the new crane, the company has also initiated several development projects, and the employees involved have enhanced their skills and knowledge in various areas.

“We’ve gained new expertise, especially in camera technology and simulation. There is a lot going on in such collaborative projects, both formally and informally, between us and the students involved, and between us, UiA and other collaboration partners,” he says.


See video of the technology here: