Huisman develops UQC for Jan de Nul for safer offshore installations

Huisman and Jan De Nul Group has announced that they have joined forces for the heavy lift equipment on board of Jan De Nul’s Next Generation offshore installation vessels Les Alizés and Voltaire.

Huisman develops UQC for Jan de Nul for safer offshore installations
Photo: Jan De Nul Group

Upon the order of both vessels in 2019, Jan De Nul Group awarded the contract for the engineering, construction and delivery of two highly innovative cranes to Huisman.

For these cranes, which will be the largest in their class, Huisman developed the Universal Quick Connector (UQC) based on the expertise of Jan De Nul Group’s operational and engineering team. The result is a ground-breaking innovation, resulting in a major step change in safer offshore hoisting activities.

The UQC is a smart, modular and robust clamp which is mounted inside the crane’s lower block. It allows to lift objects through a direct connection, without intermediate rigging and totally hands-free.

Robby De Backer, Director Newbuilding at Jan De Nul Group:

“Our newbuilding department has developed the Universal Quick Connector together with Huisman, our trusted partner in pioneering technology. This innovation will considerably increase the safety during offshore lifting and installation activities. With this UQC, we provide our offshore installation teams on board of both vessels with better means to control the lifting operations in a safe way. This will definitely improve and support the offshore installation industry in general.”

Henk Weterings, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Huisman:

“We are delighted to have Jan De Nul Group as launching customer for our Universal Quick Connector tool. By refining this concept with the operational and procedural expertise of Jan de Nul’s engineering teams, we have created an integrated tool which will increase safety and workability on board. We envision that this tool will be the first of many in the offshore lifting industry.”

The UQC attaches and detaches loads and tools directly to the crane’s lower block without rigging, entirely hands-free and fully automatic. This automated working method creates a safe environment in which the personnel’s safety is not compromised. The complex task of – typically manual assisted – (de)rigging can be prepared outside of the critical path of the lifting operation.

Overall, the UQC also improves workability. Because rigging is no longer needed, the crane fitted with the UQC can optimise available lifting heights and work subsea where traditional equipment encounters difficulties when rigging a load.

The UQC is fitted with an active rotation device increasing operational control when attaching the load. It allows rotation of the load to fine-tune its orientation without additional taglines. This enables the accurate positioning of heavy components as well as wind turbine components with strict bolt pattern tolerances.

The UQC connects to the lifting tool with a specific pin. Any lifting tool fitted with this pin can be used by the UQC. Thanks to its versatile design, the UQC will also be able to hoist existing lifting tools by means of an intermediate lifting eye and pin connection. In case conventional rigging is needed, a traditional hook fitted with the pin can be mounted in the UQC.