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Case Study

Designing a high power hydraulic system for a Japanese drilling ship

One of the largest and most challenging hydraulic systems for drilling operations that Armada Engineering has worked on was developed for a drilling ship located in Japan. The client approached Armada because of their previous experience in this field and due to the tight timing schedule that they needed to work to.

The drilling platform for this brand new ship was to be powered by four 185 kW electric motors. Managing this power system would require a 20 foot container housing all the hydraulics and a separate container that would accommodate all the complex control systems.

The clients had already had initial discussion with Bosch Rexroth about the HPU, valves and other components that would be required for the system. However, Bosch Rexroth had stated that they could not design and build a hydraulic control container within the time allowed for the project. Armada Engineering were able to advise on the precise sourcing and specification of all the individual parts required and take over project management of the entire process.

Armada’s scope of work included:

  • Preparation of a hydraulic schematic for the complete drilling rig.
  • Specifying and ordering 6 No. M4 control valves from Bosch Rexroth.
  • Liaising with Bosch Rexroth over the valve control system which they were to supply.
  • Designing an electrical control system for the Bosch Rexroth HPU. Electrically this consisted of four 185kW electric motors driving four hydraulic pumps plus all the associated control valves, filter clogging indicators and other alarms.
  • Designing the layout of the 20 foot control container which was to carry all of the hydraulic valves and associated pipework and the electrical control panels and systems for the Rexroth HPU.
  • Fitting out the control container.
  • Construction of the electrical panels.
  • Preparing a schematic for the Nitrogen Storage container and designing control panels and specifying and supplying the necessary pipework, filters, valves and associated equipment.
  • Fitting pipework and control panels into the Nitrogen Storage container.
  • Fitting the control system to be supplied by Rexroth into the ‘doghouse’ container and the control container.

Armada’s team of expert engineers designed the complete hydraulics system and created the detailed technical specification. The system was then fabricated in Cornwall, including all the necessary electrical control circuits and nitrogen system. Thorough testing was carried out on completion to prove the effectiveness of the system.

After the complete system had been shipped to Japan, a team of five engineers from Armada flew out and spent six weeks installing and testing the new system on site. Armada installed all the new stainless steel pipework that was required, set up the hydraulics container and the control systems container, and fitted the ‘doghouse’ for the operators of the system, completing all the works bang on schedule.

Managing Director, Joff Collins, says:

“This was a bespoke system that had to take account of the enormous power loads that would be transmitted through the drilling platform. As drilling platforms continue to increase in their power and capabilities, we need to continually raise our game in providing the advanced hydraulics systems that they demand.

“We are able to deliver a total solution for the client. We designed the hydraulic system from scratch and mapped out all the technical requirements. We used our unique sourcing expertise to specify the precise parts that would be needed to build the system. Our sales team sourced the parts form all over the world during the build process and sent parts to Japan for the customer handover.

“We fabricated and tested the system at our Falmouth base before taking responsibility for the on-site installation of the system. All this had to be delivered at a very challenging pace.

“Having such a sophisticated, custom-made hydraulic system has allowed this new drilling ship to become fully operational as quickly as possible so that the owners can start to realise a return on their substantial capital investment.

“The client was delighted with Armada’s work on the project.”