Huisman has designed a universal quick connector (UQC) for the heavy lift cranes that will be fitted on Jan De Nul’s newbuild offshore installation vessels Les Alizés and Voltaire.

Huisman, which will deliver the leg-encircling cranes for the vessels, designed the UQC concept in cooperation with Jan De Nul’s newbuilding department and its operational and engineering team. It is a modular and robust clamp that is mounted inside the crane’s lower block. According to Huisman, it allows objects to be lifted through a direct connection, without intermediate rigging and is hands free.

Robby De Backer, director newbuilding at Jan De Nul, said: “This innovation will considerably increase safety during offshore lifting and installation activities. With this UQC, we provide our offshore installation teams on board of both vessels with better means to control the lifting operations in a safe way.”

The UQC attaches and detaches loads and tools directly to the crane’s lower block in a fully automatic operation. It is fitted with an active rotation device, which increases operational control when attaching the load. With the tool, the load can be rotated without additional tagline, enabling accurate positioning of heavy cargoes, including wind turbine components, added the companies.

The UQC connects to the lifting tool with a specific pin. The versatile design of the UQC means it will also be able to hoist existing lifting tools by means of an intermediate lifting eye and pin connection. In case conventional rigging is needed, a traditional hook fitted with the pin can be mounted in the UQC.

According to Henk Weterings, chief technology officer at Huisman: “By refining this concept with the operational and procedural expertise of Jan de Nul’s engineering teams, we have created an integrated tool which will increase safety and workability on board. We envision that this tool will be the first of many in the offshore lifting industry.”