MORELLO PLATFORM CARTS – Naval Project: On-Board Submarine Transporter


Posted on February 18, 2021

OceanX is a company based in the USA founded by Ray Dalio and his son, Mark Dalio. Their mission is to explore the deep ocean, educate, inspire, and protect the seas and bring ocean and marine life to the world through captivating storytelling.

The ship OceanXplorer carries 4 different deep-sea vehicles, will navigate seas right across the world and explore oceans to a depth of up to 6000m.

OceanXplorer is the most advanced exploration, research, and media vessel ever built. It was constructed in Norway by the Damen company.  The challenge asked of Morello was to provide transfer carts capable of safely and securely moving highly advanced small submarines on the deck and in the hold of the ship.

The project was both challenging and very stimulating given the scope and mission of the OceanXplorer project. Let’s describe the project here in more detail.

Client and Location:

OceanXplorer ocean-going vessel, USA based, but with a mission of navigating all of the world’s oceans.

Morello’s direct client is the Norwegian shipbuilder Damen and the end client is OceanXplorer. For this project we dealt with the submarine operator.

Job Challenge:

Object Two on-board submarines which, although small submarines, were very large relative to the size of the ship

Working Environment:

Working AreaHazardous on-board operations where the roll and pitch of the relatively small ship can be quite extreme in rough seas
SpaceThe ship is a relatively small vessel with very tight spaces in which to manoeuvre the submarines
Weather ConsiderationsThe Morello cart must withstand life on an ocean-going vessel and endure all types of weather conditions
Air QualitySea air, saline environment with aggressive weather conditions
Flooring ConditionsThe surface of the vessel is not built to withstand excessive weight burdens and so the weight distribution, complicated by the ship’s 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 & ServiceThe middle of the ocean is not a friendly place to be in the case of machine breakdowns! Morello transfer carts must be exceptionally reliable machines. Breakdowns are not easily repaired; Morello’s technicians cannot be on hand 24/7 offshore

Morello Solution:

VehicleOceanXplorer needed two platform carts on-board the ship to move the exploration submarines. The carts were Battery-Powered OMNI Heavy Duty Platform Carts, with electric motors ensuring pollution-free operations. Only certified IP protected electrical components were used, with stainless steel materials preferred and a certified C5-M marine paint finish applied. The carts were built to carry submarines and other equipment up to 20 tons in weight
SteeringTo navigate OceanXplorer’s tight spaces OMNI heavy duty platform carts were used for maximum steering flexibility. The multi-directional steering is able to drive with front and rear steering, at 90°, diagonally, rotate on its axis, etc
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 an ocean-going vessel. 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
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 for challenging projects such as OceanXplorer. This project was particularly challenging given the hostile ocean environments this exploration vessel would be navigating

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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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