Bridon installs world’s biggest rope machine

July 2012 – International ropemaker Bridon has begun installing the world’s biggest machine for the manufacture of steel wire ropes. The ropes will support the offshore sector in particular due to the increasingly challenging applications the industry requires.

The closer machine at the company’s new Neptune Quay facility, which is used to form dozens of strands of wire into a single finished rope, is being installed at the factory’s site in Newcastle, UK.

Enabling the company to manufacture the world’s largest and most complex ropes in package weights of up to 650 tonnes, the £10 million closer being installed at the facility this week has been produced by German engineering company SKET.

Bridon’s closer, the 8-basket section of which will be the first element installed at the plant, will allow the company to produce far more complex ropes than had ever previously been possible with such weights. The machine will allow Bridon to make offshore ropes that are specifically engineered to deal with the challenges of deepwater deploymentunder tough environmental conditions.

Bridon has cited the need to keep pace with the ambitions of the oil & gas industry as a principal motivation for the Neptune Quay site’s construction. Whilst the historical challenge of deep water deployment has been to deploy 300 tonnes in 3000 metres of water, the industry is increasingly demanding lifting systems that can deploy weights significantly in excess of 300 tonnes and as great as 600 tonnes at depths of up to 4000 metres – requiring multistrand ropes that boast massive breaking loads, optimised bend fatigue performance, effective lubrication, and minimal rotation under load.

Supporting the operation of Bridon Neptune Quay’s superlative closing machine, the facility also boasts a new stranding machine. This piece of equipment, which winds dozens of wires together into individual strands that can be spun together by the closer machine, was also manufactured by SKET.

To ease the load out of 650 tonne rope reels onto vessels moored at the factory’s deepwater quayside, Bridon has commissioned Newcastle-based engineering firm Pipe Coil Technology to deliver an innovative take-up stand; a machine which is used to move new ropes on the final reels from the closer to the Quay side without any assistance. This enables a variety of methods to get reels of all sizes onto vessels moored alongside the plant.

Bridon Group Chief Executive Jon Templeman said:

“In constructing a state of the art factory that will lead the world in the production of large, complex ropes, we knew we could settle for nothing less than the biggest and best ropemaking machinery ever produced. The closer, strander, and takeup stand at Bridon Neptune Quay are not only the largest rope making machines in existence; they also have the capacity to make the most complex and highly engineered ropes ever conceived.

“Close collaboration with our customers has developed our understanding of the complex tasks they face in the world’s toughest environments. Thanks to this collaborative approach, and to the ingenuity of our key suppliers SKET and Pipe Coil Technology, this machinery will surpass all previous ropemaking equipment in manufacturing ropes tailored to 21st century offshore challenges.”