Supreme Integrated Technology Supplies over 100 Jacking Systems Worldwide

Birth of an Industry

The phrase “necessity is the mother of invention” can be attributed to many of the innovations across the world throughout time.  It is expressly apparent in the birth of the self-elevating vessel (liftboat) market that is a staple in the offshore oil and gas and windfarm industries.  With its roots in south Louisiana, the liftboat market started with the need for vessels not subject to the impulses of wave action.  Elevating above the water, these vessels could minimize the vast amount of downtime waiting for Mother Nature by providing a safe and stable working platform for a multitude of operations.  Traditionally, the liftboat market predominantly serviced the offshore oil and gas industry, but over the last few years there has been a shift toward utilization in the installation of offshore windfarms.  With the US targeting the development and installation of utility-scale windfarms in the next few years, the birth of a whole new US windfarm industry may be on the horizon.

Jack-Up Barge M.B. 1
Mutawa Marine Works.
Year Built: 1995

History of Excellence

Supreme Integrated Technology (SIT) has been engrained in the liftboat industry as a premier system provider for jacking systems used to elevate the vessels.  Huber Inc., a predecessor of SIT, provided its first jacking system in the 1980s. After completion of the first vessel, Huber would go on to provide jacking systems in varying capacities for over 50 vessels, all manufactured in the US.  SIT, a company formed by former members of the Huber leadership team, in 2013 successfully acquired the assets of Huber, Inc. to secure the knowledge base and market presence that the team had built previously while at Huber.  In 2016, SIT and its sister company Hydraquip Custom Systems Inc. (HCSI) successfully completed a merger with the assets of HCSI coming under SIT to more effectively take advantage of the existing synergies between the two companies.  With the merger of SIT and HCSI, many of the international vessels using HCSI-provided jacking systems would now be assisted by SIT.  Jacking systems have been provided collectively by SIT and its predecessors in numerous volumes, with many of these vessels operating today in the oil and gas and wind energy markets.

Liftboat Jill
Montco Offshore
Year Built: 2014

US Market Presence

According to market research, as of June of 2015, there were around 309 liftboats built or modified in US shipyards.  Of those 309 vessels, SIT and its legacies had supplied jacking systems in varying capacities for over 90 of these vessels, nearly a 29% market share of the entire US-built fleet of liftboats!  In addition to the jacking systems, SIT has expanded the scope of supply by also providing several vessels with various  systems for steering, ballasting, propulsion, thrusters, and more.

International Market Presence

SIT also boasts a considerable market share of the international liftboat market.  SIT estimates that of the over 100 vessels that have SIT-provided or legacy jacking systems onboard, between 25% and 45% are currently in service outside of the US.  With these vessels operating in the waters of the US, Mexico, Middle East and Northern Africa, South Africa, Southeast Asia, Europe, and the North Sea, SIT is truly a global system provider.  SIT has even developed a network of equipment providers and service specialists to continue to allow SIT to provide the highest quality support for its systems in nearly everywhere in the world.  SIT is very excited to see what the future will bring for liftboats in both the offshore oil and gas industry and the offshore renewable resources industry.

New Website

The launch of our new website is almost here! We decided to design a new website which provides the ultimate of user-friendly experiences while still expanding our available content. This way SIT remains your go-to provider for engineering expertise for hydraulic and electric-powered moveable structures, but with an improved online experience.

So what’s new?

We’ve introduced a range of new content to the website. In addition to our news & blogs section, which is updated monthly with relevant industry info and company and product highlights, we’ve added helpful downloads in our products section. The products section downloads include information regarding:

  • Valve actuation
  • Valves
  • Tank level gauging
  • Ballast water treatment
  • Custom marine steering
  • And more

These downloads range from product specs, to brochures, to technical sheets and more, all made available through our world-class vendors.

You will also want to view the brand-new project highlights section. We are especially excited about this segment as it gives site visitors prime examples of the wide-range of projects SIT has completed:

  • Moon pool doors
  • Launch & Recovery Systems
  • Custom work davits
  • Portable A-frames
  • Shell closures
  • Bow & Stern ramps
  • Hydraulic jacking systems
  • Bascule bridges
  • Hydraulic power units (HPUs)
  • And many others

Going forward, we will continue to add new content across our site, and hope our trusted and valued customers and suppliers find the new website visually appealing and easy to navigate. To keep up with SIT’s latest happenings and be one of the first to explore our new website, bookmark http://www.sitech-us.com and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn. *link social media pages Whether you’re looking for a quote, exploring our automation, fluid power or electrical capabilities or just searching for the latest industry trends and company news, you can find it on Supreme Integrated Technology’s redesigned website.

Coke Drum Unheading

SIT Reduces Footprint & Improves Efficiency with New Design for Refinery HPU.

When a customer was looking for a new solution to control their coke drum unheading system, Supreme Integrated Technology, Inc. stepped up to the challenge. The goals of the project were to:

  • Reduce footprint of the skid
  • Enhance safety of operation
  • Improve efficiency of system

The unit was designed and built to customer specifications, providing an external power supply to the skid to allow top drum unheading without operators positioned on the cutting deck. This safety consideration protects operators from potential coke drum eruptions and top head blow-outs.

Components include:

  • 11 Station Panel Mounted PVG Valve
  • Integrated Safety Control – Master Operation Lever (Dead Man Switch)
  • 4 Pressure Gauges
  • Custom Manifold
  • Integrated solenoid valves
  • Control Enclosure (Junction Box)
  • 2 Circuits: hydraulic circuit & isolate pneumatic circuit (nitrogen)

SIT improved the design by using an integrated manifold instead of individual valves to allow for minimizing tubing and leak points as well as reducing cost. Engineers started with a consultation of the existing schematic, followed by assistance with drawings and BOM for a new design. They provided important on-time delivery and factory accepted testing (FAT) that could be witnessed by the customer remotely or on location at SIT’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Houston.

Hydraquip Jacking Systems from Supreme Integrated Technology, Inc.

Self-elevating service vessels have been in service in the US offshore oil and gas industry since the 1950’s.  More commonly termed liftboats, they are characterized by a self-propelled vessel hull that can be elevated above the water and suspended on tubular or lattice-structured legs.  They provide a stable working platform, increased crane capacity, and minimize down time due to wave action.  In an industry with relatively high capital and operational costs, liftboats present increased value with efficient turnaround times within a safe work environment.  The key design feature that creates the value for these vessels are the jacking systems which lift and hold the vessels in the elevated positions for performing work.

Supreme Integrated Technology, Inc. (SIT) and its subsidiaries have provided over 65 jacking systems over the past 50 years through SIT, and its predecessors Huber Inc. and Hydraquip Custom Systems.  Typical jacking systems supplied by SIT are of the rack and pinion configuration and include custom-designed gearboxes and climbing pinions to meet any jacking and load requirements.  The systems fall into two categories, electro-hydraulic and fully-electric. 

Electro-hydraulic jacking systems consist of hydraulic power units (HPUs) powered by electric motors.  These units consist of redundant pump and motor groups used for increased vessel safety and redundancy of operation.  Generally, an HPU is provided for each leg to minimize installation costs yet provide a robust power supply in a small footprint thanks to the increased power density of hydraulics.  The overall jacking operation is controlled via a master proportional control system that is operated from the bridge of the vessel.

Fully electric jacking systems replace the HPU in the electro-hydraulic version with variable speed drives (VSDs).  [MD1] These drives are provided with built in programming and feedback to increase the level of control of the jacking motors.  The increased control allows for an increase in overall system efficiency with programmed load sharing between each drive.  The overall jacking operation is controlled similarly to the electro-hydraulic version from the bridge of the vessel.

The master control system for both options consists of an operational console with joysticks for proportional control.  The PLC incorporates intuitive monitoring that provides industry-leading smoothness of operation with custom HMI viewing panels for ease of operation. The HMI panels provided can be based on SIT-standard templates or customized to fit customer preferences.  Remote access of the control system and HMI screen is also available using secured connections for general troubleshooting.

Today, SIT jacking systems are operating in vessels across the world: in the surrounding waters of the US, Mexico, Middle East, Europe, Southeast Asia, Nigeria, and the North Sea.  With vessels operating globally, SIT has developed a network of equipment providers and service specialists to provide the highest quality support for its systems.  There is newer market development, as several vessels with SIT jacking systems have recently been utilized in the wind turbine installation industry for offshore wind farms.  SIT is excited to continue to provide these systems on an increasing global scale for both the offshore oil and gas industry and the offshore renewable resources industry.

Don’t miss Supreme Integrated Technology, Inc. at the 2019 Offshore Technology Conference!

The 2019 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) is right around the corner! It also happens to be its 50th anniversary! This year, Supreme Integrated Technology, Inc. (SIT) is showcasing at OTC alongside some amazing companies: Our sister companies, Hydraquip, Inc. and Elite Controls, Inc., along with the world class Danfoss Power Solutions, DMIC and Wandfluh of America. We will be located at booth #521, so be sure to stop by and see the latest technologies we have to offer.

SIT’s engineering expertise transforms ideas into success for hydraulic or electric powered moveable structures. We provide solutions for launch & recovery systems, moveable doors, winches, hydraulic power units, jacking systems, integrated remote valve assemblies & fully integrated electro-hydraulic ballast and tank level control solutions for the deep-water oil production market (FPSO, FSO, MOPU).

Stop by booth #521 to learn more about our unique jacking systems and how they are designed to allow the latest electric, hydraulic and automation technology to help accurately control leg position.

As an authorized partnered with Emerson Marine Solutions, SIT provides Valve Automation Solutions, Tank level Gauging & Measurement, Cargo Monitoring, Custody Transfer and Rosemont Pressure and Flow Measurement technologies.

If you’re at the show, stop by and talk to us about:

  • Custom Automated Control Solutions and Systems
  • Subsea Hydraulic Power Units and Valve Positioning Systems
  • Marine Equipment & Field Services
  • Custom Hydraulic and Electric Drives
  • Offshore Articulated Structures & Control Systems
  • Critical Service Valves & Actuator Technology
  • IOT and Tank Level Gauging
  • IOT and Cargo Management
  • IOT and Fuel/Cargo Bunkering

SIT is ready to assist with your next project. Want to schedule a meeting at the show? Contact us today to set something up!

HPUs 101

At a basic level, an HPU (hydraulic power unit) consists of a prime mover, pump and reservoir. Most HPUs also include a pressure relief valve and a means of filtration, since this may be essential to the safe and efficient operation of the larger system. While some units are multitaskers, most are purpose-built to convert mechanical energy to hydraulic energy. 

Some HPUs may include secondary elements, like integrated pressure gauges, flow meters, heat exchangers, filtration units, pressure and floater level switches and temperature sensors. They may also include shut-off valves or electrical shut-offs. You have probably heard of most of these elements before…but we have recapped a few of their essential roles below:

Prime mover: An electric motor or gas-powered internal combustion engine either converts electricity, or chemical energy, respectively, into rotational mechanical output. The rotational mechanical output of the prime mover is used to turn the drive shaft of a pump, which is typically a gear, vane or piston pump.

Pump: Converts the rotational mechanical power to fluid flow.

Reservoir: Combines source and destination of all fluid flow for a closed hydraulic system. At a basic level, the reservoir’s function is to ensure that a ready supply of fluid is always available to the system.

The actual placement of the reservoir, pump and motor may vary depending on the type of HPU.

Pressure relief valve: An essential safety device that limits maximum pressure of the system. When pressure exceeds the relief valve setting, the pressure relief valve opens, allowing an alternative path back to the tank.

Filter: Similar to a net, it removes contaminants from the larger system allowing cleaner liquids to pass.

Pressure gauges: Indicates pressure at a specific point within a hydraulic system.

Flow meter: Used to visually indicate the flow rate/basic hydraulic performance data for operators.

Heat exchangers: Used to condition fluid operating in extreme environmental conditions (Heater/cooler, depending on circumstances).

Offline/kidney loop filtration units: Filters fluid directly from the reservoir and back. A kidney loop filter is an isolated subsystem tasked solely with fluid maintenance that requires a small pump to drive the circuit.

An HPU is basically everything you need to run a hydraulic system. There are many additional elements that may, or may not, be required in your HPU.

Supreme Integrated Technology offers many different configurations of HPUs from the smallest to the largest of applications. Contact us today to start working on your next HPU project!

What New Military Ships were Commissioned in 2017?

SIT has been a part of many navy projects to provide moveable ramps, icebreaker doors, ballast systems, moon pool doors and LARs (launch and recovery systems). We are always keeping up with what’s going on in the navy industry, and per a report from We Are the Mighty –the navy commissioned the following in 2017:

  1. A new Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) commissioned in June, USS Gabrielle, was built at Austal USA shipyards in Mobile, AL. This ship was named after former US representative Gabrielle Giffords who was shot during a mass shooting in 2011.  The ship primarily is built for speed, but also has the SeaRAM point-defense system and a 57mm gun.
  2. The USS John Finn is the first of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers to be built after the Navy switched to a different design of Zumwalt destroyers for the remaining 3 ships. This ship was built at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, MS and named after a sailor who received a medal of honor for his heroic acts during the Pearl Harbor attack.
  3. The USS Gerald R. Ford was the first nuclear powered aircraft carrier of its class and commissioned in July 2017. This aircraft carrier was built in the Newport News shipyard and is now the world’s largest aircraft carrier.
  4. Built at Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME, the USS Rafael Peralta is the 65th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and is named for a recipient of the navy cross for actions taken during Operation Iraqi Freedom. This ship is capable of carrying out Integrated Air and Missile Defense, Undersea Warfare and Surface Warfare.
  5. An Expeditionary Mobile Base (ESB) was commissioned and named Lewis B. Puller in honor of Lieutenant General Lewis Burwell Puller, a distinguished veteran of the Banana Wars, World War II and the Korean war. This is the first military ship to be commissioned in foreign territory at Khalifa bin Salma Part in Al Hidd, Bahrain. It will act as a floating base or transfer station to support amphibious warfare ships and surface combatant warships.
  6. The USS Washington, a Virginia-class submarine was built at Newport News Shipbuilding and is nuclear-powered. It is the fourth of the Block III submarines, having started construction in 2011 until it was commissioned in October 2017.
  7. The 11th San Antonio-class amphibious ship, the USS Portland, was commissioned in December 2017. It was built at Ingalls Shipbuilding, and named after the city of Portland, Oregon.
  8. Finally, the USS Little Rock is the 5th LCS (littoral combat ship) of its class, commissioned in December and built at Marinette Marine in Marinette, WI. It obtained the highest score of any Freedom-class LCS and earned the right to fly brooms atop her mast to signify a clean sweep of sea trials.

 

As you can see from above examples, the Navy has been investing in a variety of  ship classes to ensure our fleets maintain the ability to protect our nation and our freedom.  Looking for support with movable structures within a vessel? SIT has you covered with its team’s vast amount of experience, they have the ability to provide solutions for the most complex projects.

Check out some of our military projects on our website.

Find us at the International Workboat Show this Week!

We are excited to be showcasing at the 2018 International Workboat Show in New Orleans! This year, we have partnered with Behringer Corporation, Emerson Marine Solutions and Wandfluh of America. We have more info about our booth partners and their capabilities below.

The show kicks off on Wednesday, November 28th and ends on Friday, November 30th. You can find us at booth #2435 just off the main isle. Stop by to learn more about SIT’s capabilities in designing and building liftboat jacking systems, valve actuation, marine tank management, steering packages and hydraulic power units. You can also find out more about our partners:

• Behringer manufactures and markets products for industrial, mobile, marine and offshore applications. Their capabilities including pipe support systems, hydraulic filters, valves, Bilge Water Separators/Deoilers, Fuel and Oil Treatment Systems and Water/Oil Separators.

• Emerson Marine Solutions provides “Best in Class” technology for Radar Tank Gauging, Coriolis Fuel Metering and Remote Valve Control systems. Measuring tank levels and operating valves remotely become reliably trouble-free operations. Precise mass flow and density data is delivered via robust Coriolis meters from 1/2” to 16” diameters.

• Wandfluh valves are increasingly being used within the marine sector. By using stainless materials or equivalent surface treatments, corrosion protection is guaranteed, even in wet and salty conditions. When using water glycol as a hydraulic fluid, the inner workings of the valves are adapted accordingly.

As you can see, there is a lot to offer to the marine and offshore industry between the four companies listed above. If you’re at the Workboat Show this year, please find us at booth #2435 so we can talk about how we can assist with your next project!

What do Movable Bridges and Liftboats have in Common?

What do movable bridges and liftboats have in common?

For starters, they’re both large structures, and secondly, they both move a lot of weight.

Too obvious?

We have a serious reason for discussing this topic.  Due to the similarities between the two heavy movable structure technologies, the opportunities for advancements may be shared between the two industries.

First, what is a liftboat?

For those unfamiliar with the offshore oil & gas industry, offshore jack-up vessels or liftboats are self-propelling buoyant vessels whose hull is integrated with three to four movable leg structures. These leg structures hold the weight of the vessel when it is lifted by the jacking system to stabilize the platform above the seas below.  This allows the vessel to conduct work (such as subsea inspections, well decommissioning, deep sea drilling, etc.) as if it were on land, or some other non-moving structure.

Similarity #1 – Rack & Pinion Design

Liftboats have traditionally used rack and pinion drive jacking systems to lift and lower the vessel.  The leg structures on the vessel are fitted with a custom designed gear rack and a pre-defined rack profile which matches the jacking pinions installed in large gear boxes attached to the ship’s leg towers and driven by electrical or hydraulic power. The rack and pinion design limits failure during operation having a minimum of four gear boxes (two on each side of a typical pipe leg) while generating a substantial force to hold and lift the vessel.  The size of the pinions and rack help ensure longevity of reliability since plastic deformation (work-hardening of the surfaces) strengthens the overall mechanical properties of the gear-to-rack interface.

This same design can be translated to the vertical lift bridge industry using the motor driven, gearbox assembly, pinion attached to the bridge to translate rotary motion into linear motion via a fixed rack along pipes or within a truss structure on the shore.  It could also translate into swing bridge designs, where a center pier motor driven pinion exerts a force against a sliding rack that would be in contact with a fixed bull gear attached to the bridge section.  The rack and pinion design can add redundancy and the ability to move heavier loads by adding any number of gearbox assemblies desired, based on load case, speed, and reliability requirements.   The system is much more versatile than the traditional hydraulic cylinder model.

Similarity #2 – Drive Trains

Wind farms are the newest user of liftboats, pushing limits to speeds of 4 meters per minute.  These higher speeds are achieved through two speed hydraulic motors, that provide a high speed, low torque settingfor more rapid deployment of the legs and a low speed, high torque setting when the vessel is actually lifting. The two-speed arrangement can be applied to a bridge while opening and closing the bridge, to speed up the process in normal mode and protect the operation of the bridge in back up mode, i.e. loss of counterweight or loss of a gearbox assembly.    During a swing evolution, the low speed could be used for creep speed when starting or stopping the swing, and the high speed could be used once the bridge is already in motion.

Similarity #3 – Electrical Power & Control

Right now, many conventional electrical bridges incorporate constant speed electrically driven winches. A growing trend for both liftboats and bridges is incorporation of VFD motors, motor control centers (MCC) and control software.  The VFD motors transmit the feedback required for the hydraulic control system, and the MCC controls the direction of movement and release of the brakes.  The use of this new technology gives more control to the operator via joy stick operation and greater visual indication of system status, including electrical power available, electrical power demanded, electrical motor and brake status, lifting speed, position, and torque/load.

For the liftboat industry, the use of VFD motors and MCCs can provide more information to either the operator on board the vessel or allow remote operation for owners/operators onshore.  For the bridge industry, this may save the costs for onsite operators where remote operation of all bridge functions can be performed on multiple locations from a single site.

More similarities than you might think…

As demonstrated above, many of the same engineering principles apply to lifting and lowering the heavy weight of a movable bridge as it does for a liftboat.  Both the civil and marine communties continue to advance based on new expectations for lifting/cycling speeds, reliability and safety of operation, and intelligent integrated controls.  While advancements for liftboats currently outpace the bridge industry, each can offer valuable insight and considerations for those designing heavy movable structures and the machinery used to put them in motion.

 

 

Emerson & SIT – Marine Automation Technology

For 50 years, Emerson and Supreme Integrated Technology, Inc. (SIT) have been a world‐leading, trusted provider of marine automation technology and global support services. In North America, Emerson and SIT have successfully delivered a host of turnkey hull systems to owners and operators of offshore vessels and platforms throughout the world. Vessel types include, but are not limited to; tension leg platforms, F(P)SOs, cruise ships, semi‐submersibles, drill ships, container ships, tankers of all sorts, and semisubmersible heavy lift vessels and barges. Danfoss Marine Systems (Emerson) first partnered with Shell in 1988 to supply what would become one of many project specified ballast control and production manifold remote valve automation packages. Emerson and SIT have extensive experience and capabilities in the deep-water market.

We exercise an integrated asset lifecycle support approach tailored to optimizing the performance of Emerson provided systems. In practice, the support process is initiated in the design stage, continues throughout the operational cycle, and concludes at asset shut down. Thorough planning, analysis and timely execution allow appropriate decision‐making to occur and enable optimal system performance and reliability, processes considered include;

  • Operating and maintenance strategies
  • Optimized preventive maintenance procedures
  • Purchasing and stores processes
  • Maintenance inventory requirements with min/max stocking levels
  • Training plan
  • Start up and commissioning plan

We execute a holistic approach that addresses not only design and performance, but also the supporting resources critical to sustaining success. Technologies are constantly improving and changing, making it difficult to know what products will ultimately be phased out. Emerson’s protocol is to plan for technology obsolescence and provide clients with notice years in advance of phasing out products. It is only by incorporating asset lifecycle support into daily business routines that a company can achieve optimum performance and full asset potential. With this approach to asset management, clients can focus on the day‐to‐day asset operation.

Contact us today to learn more about our deep-water capabilities.