A solid base

Founded in 2007 as a spin-off of the Delft University of Technology, Ampelmann was established with the vision to make offshore access as easy as crossing the street.

As such, its mission is to set new standards in safety by operating motion compensation offshore access systems and services all over the world. At the core of the business is the company’s unique technology: the Ampelmann system. This is a motion compensation platform that allows rapid, simple and safe access from moving vessels to inert offshore structures even during high wave conditions. Since it was incorporated seven years ago, Ampelmann has found clients across the world and consecutively doubled its fleet year on year. It presently operates 35 systems worldwide transferring offshore crew from various types of vessels to offshore oil and gas platforms, offshore wind turbines, FPSOs and all other floating and fixed structures at sea.

The Ampelmann solution is a ship-based, selfstabilising platform that actively compensates all vessel motions. Accessing offshore structures can be problematic due to the motions of vessels compared to fixed installations. Ampelmann provides the answer to the problem of accessing offshore structures with a solution that acts similarly to a flight simulator. The Ampelmann design eliminates relative motion by taking measurements of the ship’s motions and then compensates accordingly through the use of six hydraulic cylinders. As a result the top of the platform remains completely stationary compared to the structure. The offshore gangway can then be extended towards the structure, enabling all personnel to walk to work offshore safely. Indeed, all of the products developed by Ampelmann are designed with safety in mind. As such critical components are equipped redundantly to ensure, reliable, safe operations at all times. Furthermore the full system is checked and certified by Lloyd’s Register.

Although the technology employed by Ampelmann is relatively new within the oil and gas sector, it has a number of advantages that have made it a highly attractive partner for blue chip companies the world over at every stage of offshore operation from installation, operation and maintenance to final de-commissioning. For example, Ampelmann motion compensation gangway systems can be installed on any vessel with sufficient deck space in around eight hours. The systems themselves are ‘plug and play’ and operate stand-alone with their own power packs. Operationally, no modifications to the platform are required to enable safe landing with the heave compensated gangway making it a highly cost effective solution. Additionally the Ampelmann system is highly flexible and can be used for cargo transfer as well as the transit of personnel. Several applications have been developed for small tools, larger equipment such as generators as well as fuel and grout houses.

Indeed, since the Ampelmann system was introduced, it has distinguished itself as a proven and effective solution that is being increasingly adopted by clients. Elaborating on the continued success of the Ampelmann system, CEO Jan van der Tempel explains: “The biggest reason is the improved cost and operational efficiency it offers. Because it can work 24 hours a day, the ship can simply be parked next to the structure and left so that a lot more man hours of actual work are achieved. The platform basically turns the ship into a very versatile working hotel directly next to where the crew is working.”

Presently the Ampelmann system is available in three iterations. The original A-type model, which is capable of compensating actual heave motions up to 2.5 meters and the larger E-type, which can handle sea states up to four meters. The Cargo Transfer System (CTS), which was successfully tested in the summer of 2014, is the latest innovation of the Ampelmann fleet, and can carry up to ten tonnes to heights of up to 30 metres whilst compensating for motion of up to 2.5 meters. These new capabilities will mean functionality not just for crew transfer but for equipment transfer as well, making it an ideal accessory for offshore construction work.

“Innovation is key to our ongoing success,” explains Jan. “When a product enters the market, that is not the end of it. Once it is out there, clients give us feedback such as wanting a higher reach or to carry more cargo – leading to the E-type. We are also particularly interested in developing client-specific applications for the system. Innovation has been the key to the extremely rapid growth we’ve had over the past five years. Innovation is where we see our business and now that we fully understand the core of our technology, we can continue pursuing that.”

Ampelmann was last featured in European Oil & Gas Magazine during January 2012 and since that time, in addition to developing its product portfolio and fleet the company has also increased its global footprint. During 2013 Ampelmann announced that it had increased its global presence through the acquisition of Dutch Offshore Solutions. The acquisition of Offshore Solutions adds seven offshore access systems to its fleet, including the personnel to operate, maintain and continue development of these systems. In a press release issued at the time, Jan commented: “We are quadrupling our presence in the Gulf with this acquisition and are broadening our current product portfolio which includes the A-type and the larger E-type, with the offshore access system. Moreover, the Offshore Solutions employees bring along a welcome expansion of knowledge and experience to our fast-growing organisation.”

More recently Ampelmann has continued to increase its global footprint to bring it closer to its clients with new offices in Singapore, Qatar and in Houston, US in 2015. The Singapore office represents a significant milestone for the company following its first project in the area, and in a region in which Ampelmann intends to grow over the coming years with an expanding fleet to coincide with the monsoon season. With a unique and effective transit solution and a growing global presence, Ampelmann is in a strong position to continue to develop its technology and solidify its position as a leading name in offshore access throughout 2015 and beyond.


Services: Offshore access