Offshore wind benefits from accelerated qualification of new welding & joining techniques

Offshore wind is moving fast ahead, especially since cost has come down significantly. Currently, further efficiency improvements are being investigated. OCAS is equipped with a test bench that reduces the fatigue testing time of offshore components from 6 months to 10 days. In this way, we can help to speed up the validation of these new techniques significantly.

Novel techniques speeding up the manufacturing process

Traditionaly, cost reduction is often the result of speeding up the manufacturing process. Several novel techniques are emerging, such as the introduction of robot welding for critical joints e.g. in jacket connections. In addtion to reducing the welding time, welding robots could also enhance the weld qualtiy consistency. To connect monopiles to their transition piece, new methods like wedged, bolted and wrapped joints are being proposed. Of course, these innovative techniques need to be validated first in terms of fatigue performance for use in the stringent offshore wind conditions.

Rapid performance validation

Performance validation is best achieved on full-scale test specimens. However, the widely accepted classical way of fatigue testing making use of hydraulic actuators, is a very slow method. Therefore, only a limited amount of fatigue curve data points are generated. Thus, limiting its acceptance by the certification bodies.
This is where OCAS can play a key role. With its self-engineered CRONOS fatigue test bench, OCAS can generate fatigue performance results 20 to 40 times faster, than hydraulic systems, allowing to gather much more data points and thus a more reliable performance curve in a shorter time frame.

The OCAS accelerated fatigue testing on CRONOS is applicable to different geometries both for bottom-fixed and floating wind structures.

“We are confident that our fatigue test bench Cronos can speed up  the validation of efficiency improvements that are currently under investigation. Certification bodies need reliable fatigue performance curves. Cronos generates fatigue performance results 20 to 40 times faster, allowing to gather much more data points in a shorter time frame.”

Philippe Thibaux, Senior Structural Integrity Specialist, Applications and Solutions department, OCAS