Transferring from a boat to an offshore wind turbine in moving seas is no easy task.
A motion compensation system that keeps a turbine access gangway stable was picked as Application of the Year in the 2012 National Instruments UK & Ireland Graphical System Design Achievement Awards.
The awards celebrated engineering applications in measurement and control, with finalists tackling challenges from tumour therapy to green energy and improving rural mobile phone coverage.
The overall winner was ‘Controlling a hydraulic motion compensated gangway to improve access to offshore wind turbines’ by Andrew Clegg of Glasgow-based Industrial Systems and Control (ISC).
ISC supplied the control system for the Turbine Access System jointly developed by Houlder and BMT Nigel Gee.
The control algorithm runs on an embedded NI controller, which processes the measured boat motions and performs active heave, pitch and roll compensation by adjusting hydraulic actuators.
Clegg said developing the system using the prebuilt functions in LabView software made it easy to work with the different hardware targets, “and saved countless man-hours compared to building the functionality from scratch”.
The judges added: “The Turbine Access System will have a positive impact on the lives of turbine maintenance personnel, as well as on renewable energy creation and is a superb example of UK engineering at its best.”
A list of all the finalists is online with 2013 entry information