MORELLO ATEX PLATFORM CARTS: Oil & Gas Offshore Project


Posted on January 21, 2021

One of the most demanding environments in which Morello heavy duty platform carts can be found is in the oil and gas industry and in particular heavy duty industrial carts for use on offshore platforms.

Here the sea air and saline and volatile, hazardous environment create challenging conditions for all equipment and work procedures. This is the story of a demanding project on an offshore oil and gas platform in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa.

Client and Location:

Total Energies Egina flagship offshore project is the end-user client. The Egina oil field is located about 130 kilometers off the coast of Nigeria at water depths of more than 1,500 meters. It is an ultra-deep offshore project.

Morello’s direct client is Samsung Heavy Industries and we dealt with the Topside Area Project Engineer. The Morello platform cart is operated on an FPSO vessel (floating production, storage and offloading) which extracts and stores millions of barrels of crude oil.

Job Challenge:

ObjectThe rotor of a large generator, weighing 28 tons, which must be extracted periodically for maintenance operations on an FPSO vessel. The client calls the Morello platform cart ‘the rotor extractor’.
Object movementThe rotor had to be extracted to a height of 4m, lowered to 3m to avoid contact with other equipment, and transferred to a different location on the FPSO vessel.

Working Environment:

Working AreaHazardous offshore area with explosion risk requiring Atex/IECEx certifications
SpaceOn an FPSO, a floating vessel, in the middle of the ocean with limited space available and tight manoeuvring angles
Weather ConsiderationsThe Morello cart will spend its entire life outdoors in all seasons and salty weather conditions on the open sea and must be able to manage the roll and pitch of the vessel
Air QualitySea air, saline environment with aggressive weather conditions
Flooring ConditionsThe surface of the FPSO vessel is not built to withstand extremely heavy loads and so the weight distribution, accounting for roll and pitch, must be stable and dynamically balanced. The flooring will often be wet and so the risk of slippage during roll and pitch movement had to be managed
Location & ServiceBeing located in the middle of the ocean, the Morello cart must be an exceptionally reliable machine. Breakdowns are not easily repaired; Morello’s technicians cannot be on hand 24/7

Morello Solution:

VehicleBattery-Powered OMNI Heavy Duty Platform Cart, with electric motors. Only certified IP protected electrical components were used, with stainless steel materials preferred and a certified C5-M marine paint finish applied
SteeringTo navigate in tight spaces an OMNI heavy duty cart was selected with multi-directional steering able to drive with front and rear steering, at 90°, diagonally, rotate on its axis, etc
Atex CertifiedThe most complex challenge! All electrical and mechanical parts and the engineering design must ensure zero explosion risk and be certified as such. This required a complete revision of the machine’s specifications and components. The battery charger must also be EX certified
MobilityTo manage the ground pressure effect and avoid overloading at any single point, dynamic acceleration calculations were made to ensure an even load bearing in all sea conditions on a floating vessel. This Morello cart has 3 axis lines for a total of 12 individually motorised wheels! To ensure optimal grip and surface adherence all 12 wheels were individually motorised and the hydraulic suspension ensured that all 12 wheels were continuously grounded. Specific calculations were made to measure friction levels between the materials of the vessel floor and the cart’s wheels in wet and dry conditions
Load platformEquipped with a load platform combined with a scissor lift to bear a 28-ton load raised to a height of over 1 metre. The load platform also has rails on which the rotor is manoeuvred into position using a winch. To ensure the platform remains stable during the loading procedure the cart is equipped with 4 hydraulic stabilisers at the 4 corners
MotorsAC brushless electric motors, no maintenance, no pollution
Operating ControlThe vehicle is driven using a radio-controlled unit with potentiometer. The operating software is Morello’s proprietary software used globally, developed and fine-tuned over many years
Technical SupportZero maintenance components were used wherever possible
Potential failure risks were identified and minimised
Backup intervention procedures were outlined in case of need
Backup spare parts were provided to ensure 100% efficiency
Vehicle Diagnostics available on advanced HMI
Remote Assistance active with on-board monitoring software
Project ManagementMorello’s project teams have many years of experience supplying technical solutions to challenging industries such as oil and gas, the nuclear sector and chemicals, to name a few, which require a high level of technical project management, technical documentation and support

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Morello Client Engagement Team:  Amedeo Morello, Luca Tibaldi, Stefano Rizzo

We look forward to speaking with you!

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