Keeping the blades of an offshore wind farm turning requires regular visits from maintenance technicians. But getting onto and off the turbines from a boat is among the most stressful and dangerous parts of the job and, when waves are higher than 1.5 metres, transfers are considered too risky. Failed transfers and lost energy production are hugely expensive for operators, and this problem is set to become worse as the industry pushes into sites that are further from shore.
Following a two-year collaborative R&D programme with Orsted, Pict Offshore was set up in 2019 to commercialise ‘Get Up Safe’ (GUS) a game-changing offshore personnel transfer system aimed at alleviating this accessibility problem. This dynamic personnel hoist uses in-built lasers to track the vessel’s deck, adjusting the line position in real time to compensate for vessel motion. This allows technicians to clip in and transfer onto the turbine more safely and easily, without the risks associated with “bump and jump” ladder transfers. The system aims to increase access to far offshore turbines from 50% of the year to 80%.
The addition of the GUS onto offshore wind turbines also allows the removal of external boat landings and ladders from foundation design, facilitating structural design and reducing steelwork requirements – providing capital and through-life cost reductions.
During 2017 and 2018, a research and development project was conducted where the GUS system team where able to gain access to our 7MW Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine. This unique near-shore test-site was instrumental in accelerating the development of the system and acted as a bridge between workshop testing and the full offshore trials which took place in 2018.
In 2021, Pict went on to successfully apply for an Offshore Wind Growth Partnership (OWGP) innovation grant, where it will receive a share of £6m to assist in bringing the next version of the Get Up Safe system to market.
Since reaching out to ORE Catapult in 2017, Pict has experienced immense success. The company’s first product, ‘Get Up Safe’ (GUS) system, is a heave-compensated, personnel hoist aimed at transforming the way that maintenance technicians access offshore wind turbines. Systems are assembled at a facility in Inverkeithing, Scotland and have been deployed at scale onto every wind turbine platform at Orsted’s Hornsea 2 offshore windfarm. To continue and support its growth journey, employee numbers have grown significantly from four back in 2017 to 38, with plans to grow further throughout 2023 to 44.
In 2022, Pict announced a partnership with Sif, a leading monopile foundation supplier, to integrate the GUS system into Skybox, its next generation TP-less foundation and signed a deal with Orsted to deploy GUS Systems at New York’s first offshore wind farms. Production started at the end of 2022 for supply into the 132 MW South Fork Wind offshore wind farm, as well as two further projects off the North East US coast – Revolution Wind and Sunrise Wind.