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Title:
UNDERWATER MOORING ROPE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/243138
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to a mooring rope for use in subsea mooring, or a substantially synthetic rope thereof, said synthetic rope comprising a rope core and a layered shell arranged around the rope core, said the shell having a braided outer shell layer. The shell comprises sub-surface buoyancy elements, suitable for use in a subsea environment, extending in radial direction between the rope core and the outer shell.

Inventors:
DELTOUR QUINTEN (BE)
Application Number:
PCT/EP2019/065381
Publication Date:
December 26, 2019
Filing Date:
June 12, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
BEXCO N V (BE)
International Classes:
D07B1/02; D07B1/20
Domestic Patent References:
WO1993025883A11993-12-23
Foreign References:
CN107326709A2017-11-07
CN206887611U2018-01-16
US5744206A1998-04-28
CN201228334Y2009-04-29
Other References:
ANONYMOUS: "Seile richtig eingesetzt!", 9 January 2009 (2009-01-09), XP055605422, Retrieved from the Internet [retrieved on 20190715]
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NEDERLANDSCH OCTROOIBUREAU (NL)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. Mooring mooring rope, comprising:

a substantially synthetic rope (1) comprising a rope core (10) and a layered shell (20) arranged around the rope core (10), said the shell (20) having a braided outer shell layer (26),

characterized in, that the shell (20) comprises sub-surface buoyancy elements (24) extending radially between the rope core (10) and the outer shell (26) over a height (h).

2. Mooring rope according to claim 1, wherein the buoyancy elements (20) are substantially made of a foam material, in particular a foam material with a substantially closed cell structure.

3. Mooring rope according to claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the buoyancy elements are made of foam material with a hydraulic crush point greater than 30 bar.

4. Mooring rope according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the buoyancy elements are made of foam material with a compressive strength greater than 310 kPa, a tensile strenght greater than 520 kpa, a shear strenght greater than 280 kPa. 5. Mooring rope according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the buoyancy elements are made of foam material with a density greater than 180 kg/m3.

6. Mooring rope according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the elements are positioned longitudinally spaced apart and wherein the distance between longitudinally consecutive elements is smaller than twice the height (2h), preferably smaller than the height (h).

7. Mooring rope according to claim 4, wherein the distance between longitudinally consecutive elements is greater than a quarter of the height (h/4), preferably half of the height (h/2).

8. Mooring rope according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the elements are arranged tangentially spaced apart and wherein the distance between tangentially consecutive elements is greater than a quarter of the height (h/4), preferably half of the height (h/2).

9. Mooring rope according to any one of the preceding claims 4-6, wherein the space formed between successive elements is filled with air, water, or a suitable solid material.

10. Mooring rope according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the rope core (10) comprises at least one subrope (11), wherein an inner shell layer (21) is braided around the at least one subrope (11), and wherein optionally the rope core (10) further comprises a first filter cover (12) made of filter material, such as a non- woven fabric or a geo-textile, provided between the at least one subrope (11) and the inner shell layer (21).

11. Mooring rope according to any one of the preceding claims, the shell layer (22) further comprising:

an element sheet (23) extending between the rope core (10) and the buoyancy elements (24) for connecting and supporting the buoyancy elements (24); and/or

comprises a second filter cover (25) made of filter material, such as a non-woven fabric or a geo-textile, extending between the buoyancy elements (24) and the outer shell layer (26).

12. Mooring rope according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the mooring rope (1) is substantially cylindrical shaped over at least 75% of its length, preferably over at least 90% of its length, even more preferably over at least 95% of its length; and/or wherein the synthetic rope (1) is substantially cylindrical shaped.

13. Mooring rope according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the synthetic rope (1) extends longitudinally over at least 10% of a length of the mooring rope (1), preferably over at least 25% of the length of the mooring rope (1), even more preferably over at least 50% of the length of the mooring rope (1).

14. A substantially synthetic rope, preferably as defined in any one of the preceding claims 1-13, comprising a rope core (10) and a layered shell (20) arranged around the rope core (10), said the shell (20) having a braided outer shell layer (26),

characterized in, that the shell (20) comprises sub-surface buoyancy elements (24) extending radially between the rope core (10) and the outer shell (26) over a height (h).

15. Method for manufacturing a mooring rope according to any of the preceding claims 1-13 or a synthetic rope according to claim 14, comprising the steps of:

a) providing a rope core (10);

b) providing an elongated sheeth (23), e.g. made of a fabric or a textile, having sub-surface buoyancy elements (24) arranged spaced apart in the longitudinal direction of the elongated cover; and

c) winding the elongated sheeth (24) around the rope cover (10).

Description:
Underwater Mooring rope

Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a mooring rope comprising a substantially synthetic rope with a rope core and a shell braided around the core. This invention also relates to a synthetic rope which is provided to form part of such a mooring rope.

Background

Unlike wire and chain mooring systems that rely on the weight of the mooring lines to hold the surface production station, synthetic rope mooring systems use the elasticity of the rope to provide the restoring force needed. Synthetic ropes have the advantages that, due to their lower weight, they sag less under their own weight. The most commonly used synthetics are polyester, polyamide, polypropylene, aramid and HMPE (high- molecular polyethylene).

Such synthetic ropes are known from the prior art and comprise a rope core and a shell braided around the core. Because most synthetic ropes will not naturally float in sea water, external buoyancy elements to be attached to the synthetic ropes are required. For example, lace on floats and tubular floats are used to provide the necessary surface buoyancy to the synthetic rope. However, said external buoyancy elements may be easily damaged during use which is not only disrupts offtake service, as the rope is installed and/or taken out-of-service, but is also costly to repair.

Furthermore, underwater mooring rope applications are different from other offshore rope applications. They are long term applications, typically 30 years, and under constant load.

Object of the invention

An object of the invention is to improve the known mooring ropes and whether synthetic ropes are provided to form part of such a mooring rope.

Another object of the invention can be to provide a mooring rope that can easily be wound on and off a reel. A further object of the invention can be to improve the bending properties. A still further object of the invention can be to improve the subsea buoyancy. In addition, it may be an object of the invention to provide protection against damage by heat and UV radiation and/or against mechanical damage.

Summary of the Invention

This object is achieved by a mooring rope for use in subsea mooring, such as permanent mooring ropes or mooring lines, or a substantially synthetic rope thereof The synthetic rope comprises a rope core and a layered shell arranged around the rope core, said the shell having a braided outer shell layer. The shell comprises substantially rigid sub-surface buoyancy elements, suitable for use in a subsea or underwater environment, extending in radial direction R between the rope core and the outer shell over a height h. As such the buoyancy elements withstand very high water pressure so that they prevent compression in underwater application.

Because the sub-surface buoyancy elements are built into the mooring rope construction, becoming an integral part of the rope, the buoyancy elements do not need to be replaced during the mooring rope's operational service life. This construction makes mooring rope more robust and longer lasting. Furthermore, because the buoyancy elements are suitable for use in an underwater environment, the mooring rope can be designed to float at a pre-determined depth below the water surface/above the sea bed, making the mooring rope suitable for underwater mooring, down to 3000 m and more.

Additionally, the structure of the synthetic rope improves the sub-surface buoyancy performance, raises the impact resistance, enhances the abrasion resistance, improves resistance against UV radiation and prolongs the lifetime of the mooring rope, eliminating the need for spare mooring ropes and expensive maintenance crews.

In a preferred embodiment, these buoyancy elements are block-shaped. In a further preferred embodiment, these block-shaped elements are arranged spirally around the rope core. Preferably, the height is greater than 1 cm, more preferably, the height is less than 10 cm, and still more preferably, the height is about 2.5 cm. The elements preferably have a length of 10 - 30 cm and/or a width of 2 - 10 cm.

Due to the presence of buoyancy elements in the shell, the properties of the mooring rope can be adapted to specific requirements by adjusting the properties of the elements or changing the arrangement of the elements. This has the advantage that predetermined properties of the synthetic rope, and therefore the mooring rope, can easily be obtained. These elements can, for example, influence the buoyancy, bending properties, or protection properties of the mooring rope. A further advantage is that mooring ropes with different properties can be manufactured in a similar manner.

In a first aspect, the invention relates to the mooring rope described above, wherein the buoyancy elements are substantially made of a foam material, in particular a foam material with a substantially closed cell structure. Preferably, the buoyancy elements are be made of pressure-resistant subsea foam for use in subsea mooring. Optionally the buoyancy elements are made of a closed cell foam material encapsulated within a protective external skin. Because of the much higher core density of closed cell foams, they are practically rigid whereas open cell foams tend to deform under very small forces.

In a further embodiment, the invention relates to the mooring rope described above, wherein the floating elements are made of foam material with a hydraulic crush point greater than 30 bar. The term "hydraulic crush point " is defined as the pressure (in bar) when a material subjected to an increasing pressure of 1 -2 bar/sec has lost 5% of its initial volume.

In further embodiments, the invention relates to the mooring rope described above, wherein the floating elements are made of foam material with a compressive strength greater than 310 kPa, preferably greater than 4,5 MPa, according to the test method ASTM D 1621, a tensile strength greater than 520 kPa, preferably greater than 6,3 MPa, according to the test method ASTM D 1623, a shear strength greater than 280 kPa, preferably greater than 3,2 MPa, according to the test method ASTM C 273, and/or a shear modulus greater than 45 MPa, according to the test method ASTM C 273.

In further embodiments, the invention relates to the mooring rope described above, wherein the floating elements are made of foam material with a density greater than 48 kg/m 3 according to the test method ISO 845 or ASTM D 1622. In particular, the floating elements may be made of foam material with a density greater than 180 kg/m 3 and/or a density lower than 230 kg/m 3 , preferably a density around 200 kg/m 3 .

In a second aspect, the invention relates to the mooring rope described above, wherein the elements are spaced apart in longitudinal direction L and wherein the distance between longitudinally consecutive elements is greater than half the height, preferably greater than the height. In one embodiment, the invention relates to the mooring rope described above, wherein the distance between longitudinally consecutive elements is less than twice the height. Preferably smaller than the height. Because the elements are placed at sufficient distance from each other, it is possible to bend the synthetic rope such that it can be rolled on a reel (or in a container) for transport.

In another embodiment, the invention relates to the mooring rope described above, wherein the elements tangentially T are spaced apart in a circumferential direction and wherein the distance between tangentially consecutive elements is greater than a quarter of the height. Preferably greater than half the height.

In a third aspect, the invention relates to the mooring rope described above, wherein the rope core comprises at least one subrope and wherein an inner shell is braided around the at least one subrope. Preferably, the rope core further comprises a first filter cover made of filter material provided between the at least one subrope and the inner shell.

In a further preferred embodiment, the invention relates to the mooring rope described above, wherein the intermediate shell comprises at least one element sheeth provided between the rope core and the elements for carrying the buoyancy elements. Preferably, the rope core further comprises a second filter cover of filter material provided between the elements and the outer shell.

In embodiments, the invention relates to the mooring rope described above, wherein the outer shell is substantially cylindrical, i.e. having a substantially constant cross-sectional area, and preferably has a circular cross-sectional area. Because the synthetic rope has the same cross-section everywhere, the synthetic rope has a substantially even outer surface in the longitudinal direction. This has the advantage that the synthetic rope can easily be rolled on and off a reel.

In one embodiment, the invention relates to the mooring rope described above, wherein the synthetic rope extends longitudinally over at least 10 % of a length of the mooring rope. The synthetic rope preferably extends over at least 25 % of the length of the mooring rope, even more preferably over at least 50 % or 75 % of the length of the mooring rope. Because the synthetic rope extends over a substantial part of the mooring rope, excluding the ends, mainly the synthetic rope will determine the shape of the mooring rope. If the synthetic rope has a substantially even structure, then the mooring rope also has a substantially even structure, possibly with the exception of the ends. This makes rolling up and/or unrolling the entire mooring rope easier. The invention further relates to a synthetic rope for use in the mooring rope described above and a method for manufacturing the mooring rope by winding at least one element sheeth carrying buoyancy element around the rope core.

Brief description of Drawings

The invention will be explained in more detail below with reference to drawings in which illustrative embodiments thereof are shown. They are intended exclusively for illustrative purposes and not to restrict the inventive concept, which is defined by the appended claims.

Figure 1 shows in a cut-away view a simplified representation of a synthetic rope, for use in a mooring rope, according to an embodiment of the invention;

Figure 2 shows a cross-section through the mooring rope shown in Figure 1.

Other alternatives and equivalent embodiments of the present invention are conceivable within the idea of the invention, as will be clear to the person skilled in the art. The scope of the invention is limited only by the appended claims.

Detailed Description of Embodiments

The present invention will be described with respect to particular embodiments and with reference to certain drawings but the invention is not limited thereto but only by the claims. The drawings described are only schematic and are non-limiting. In the drawings, the size of some of the elements may be exaggerated and not drawn on scale for illustrative purposes. The dimensions and the relative dimensions do not necessarily correspond to actual reductions to practice of the invention.

Furthermore, the terms first, second, third and the like in the description and in the claims, are used for distinguishing between similar elements and not necessarily for describing a sequential or chronological order. The terms are interchangeable under appropriate circumstances and the embodiments of the invention can operate in other sequences than described or illustrated herein.

Moreover, the terms top, bottom, over, under and the like in the description and the claims are used for descriptive purposes and not necessarily for describing relative positions. The terms so used are interchangeable under appropriate circumstances and the embodiments of the invention described herein can operate in other orientations than described or illustrated herein.

Furthermore, the various embodiments, although referred to as“preferred” are to be construed as exemplary manners in which the invention may be implemented rather than as limiting the scope of the invention.

The term“comprising”, used in the claims, should not be interpreted as being restricted to the elements or steps listed thereafter; it does not exclude other elements or steps. It needs to be interpreted as specifying the presence of the stated features, integers, steps or components as referred to, but does not preclude the presence or addition of one or more other features, integers, steps or components, or groups thereof. Thus, the scope of the expression“a device comprising A and B” should not be limited to devices consisting only of components A and B, rather with respect to the present invention, the only enumerated components of the device are A and B, and further the claim should be interpreted as including equivalents of those components.

In a preferred embodiment of a mooring rope according to the present invention, a synthetic rope 1 , as shown in Figure 1 , is provided with a loop or eye on at least one end. Such eyes are known from the prior art and are not described further here.

The synthetic rope 1 which forms part of this preferred embodiment comprises in a radial direction R, as shown in Figure 2, a rope core 10, a shell 20 with an inner shell layer 21, an intermediate shell layer 22 and an outer shell layer 26.

The rope core 10 is made up of at least one subrope 11 which is wound in a first filter cover 12 consisting of a 6-fold layer of a filter material. The at least one rope 11 can be designed as a 3, 4 or 6-strand twisted rope or as 8 or 12-strand braided rope, or double braided rope. In a specific embodiment, the rope core 10 can be composed of a bundle of subropes 11 which are wound in the first filter lining 12. These subropes can each be formed as 3, 4 or 6-strand twisted ropes or as 8 or 12-strand braided ropes. This rope core 10 defines a longitudinal direction L, the radial direction R and a tangential direction T of the synthetic rope. Several strands are braided around the rope core 10 to form a continuously seamless inner shell layer 20.The inner rope structure, i.e. the rope core 10 and the inner shell layer 21, are wound in an intermediate shell layer 22 constructed from a sheeth 23 with floating elements 24 and a second filter cover 25 consisting of a single or multiple layer of a filter material. Several strands are braided around the intermediate shell layer 22 to form a continuously seamless outer shell layer 26. Preferably, this synthetic rope 1 is made from polyester, but it can equally well be made from another synthetic or from a combination of different synthetics.

The filter covers 12, 25 prevent sand grains or other abrasive particles larger than 5 pm from falling between the strands, even when the rope 1 lies at a great depth on the bottom of the sea. Water can pass through the filter coating so that this filter coating does not crack under the influence of hydrostatic pressure. The filter material can be, for example, a non- woven fabric or a geo -textile, or other suitable material insofar as it has the appropriate permeability and filter effect.

The filter covers 12, 25 consisting of a multiple layer of a filter material can be formed by one strip of overlapping wound filter material or by a plurality of strips of themselves little to non-overlapping wound filter material, the windings of the plurality of strips being shifted in the longitudinal direction. The strips can for instance be wound helically. The floating elements 24 are suitable for underwater purposes. These underwater floating elements must withstand very high water pressure, and consequently have a high compressive strength, so that they prevent distortion in underwater application. In underwater application, the buoyancy elements 24 provide buoyancy.

Preferably, the floating elements 24 are made of a foam material with a closed cell structure and a hydraulic compressive strength, hydraulic crush point, greater than 30 bar.