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ORE Catapult facility launch

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Cable installation equipment specialist Osbit showcased its ‘first-of-a-kind’ cable fatigue test rig at the high profile launch of Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult’s flagship National Floating Wind Innovation Centre today (Monday 18th March).

Humza Yousaf MSP, First Minister of Scotland joined 150 VIPs, dignitaries and offshore wind industry experts at the launch of the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s new Floating Wind Innovation Centre.

Osbit delivered and installed its cable test rig as part of a multi-million-pound project for ORE Catapult for its new floating offshore wind facility, which is set to accelerate the commercialisation of floating offshore wind projects.

The facility – a collaborative programme between the internationally recognised ORE Catapult, along with industry and academic partners – will fast-track floating offshore wind by providing world class testing facilities for R&D and certification of new technology.

The centre will not only accelerate the build-out of floating farms, but create opportunities for the UK supply chain, and drive innovations in manufacturing, installation, and Operations & Maintenance (O&M).

Osbit’s 60-tonne cable fatigue test rig is at the heart of the centre’s development, enabling ORE Catapult to offer globally leading cable testing capability to its customers, and maximising power cable reliability.

Responding to recently updated CIGRE TB862 industry requirements, Osbit has created a highly innovative design to carry out dynamic fatigue testing of subsea cables and bend stiffeners connected to offshore floating wind structures.

Osbit’s unique design provides a vast range of test capability and configurability allowing for adjustability for cable diameters and lengths, tensions and bend radii. The system is highly optimised for tension stability and simplified drive mechanisms for long machine life and efficient running.

The cable test rig was assembled and tested at Osbit’s Port of Blyth facility in Northumberland, England, prior to transportation and installation into the new centre in Aberdeen, Scotland this month.

The system is the second test rig Osbit has provided to ORE Catapult. The company previously delivered a state-of-the-art cable test rig to verify the performance and reliability of floating and tidal cables, for ORE Catapult’s Blyth facility, in 2018.

Osbit’s project with ORE Catapult is the latest in a string of contract deliveries for the company. These include twin wind turbine tower lifting tools to GE Vernova for use on the world’s largest offshore wind farm, Dogger Bank, and an upending hinge to offshore contractor Boskalis, to support key US and Scottish offshore wind projects.

Martin Jolliffe, Director at Osbit, said: “It has been an honour to showcase our test rig to influential people at such a prestigious and high-profile industry event.

“The award of this project strengthens our excellent relationship with ORE Catapult and cements our position at the forefront of cutting-edge cable testing and verification technology.

“As well as enabling testing in line with the latest technical industry specifications, this rig is designed to offer both robustness and adaptability, enabling ORE Catapult to adjust and reconfigure testing conditions to suit a large range of verification requirements.”

Andrew Macdonald, Director of Offshore Wind Development and Operations at ORE Catapult, said: “The floating wind sector is a massive opportunity for the UK, and FLOWIC will be a crucial part of supporting the supply chain, by establishing a safe, dynamic environment that will allow for innovative supply chain companies to test how their products and services will stand up to the type of challenges they will experience out at sea. Osbit have stepped up to the challenge of developing a versatile and future-proofed test rig that will reduce the technical risks of floating wind projects in the UK and around the world.

“Dynamic cables are one vital element of the technology jigsaw involved with floating wind, and rectifying problems with offshore cables is a costly and time-consuming business. So, it’s vital that we understand and prevent potential cable failures as part of the technology development process. Osbit’s unique test rig, combined with our facilities and comprehensive research and engineering capabilities, will enable this.”