It’s a matter of trust
OFFSHORE ACCESS: GETTING A CLOSER LOOK AT AMPELMANN
Ampelmann is a name synonymous with motion compensated offshore access. The company’s foundations lie firmly in offshore wind, on the realisation that, as the market developed, there was going to be an increasing need to transfer personnel safely from ship to turbine. CEO Jim Craig answers some questions about the company’s success and how the system fits in to today’s market.
What is the reason behind Ampelmann’s success?
Ampelmann started with a small, talented team and a goal to make offshore access as easy as crossing the street. The basis was effectively an inverted hexapod similar to a flight simulator which negated the seas’ movement completely. We turned this into a product that our customers trusted. This is probably one of the biggest factors in our success; customers put their most important asset – their people – across our systems. To date almost 3 million people on over 150 projects have walked to work safely.
How has the company’s focus changed over the years?
Ampelmann’s goal of ‘making offshore access as easy as crossing the street’ was focused initially on the user – the person crossing to the platform. However, over the last two years we have been increasingly focused on making it easy for our customers to get a complete solution whenever they want it, wherever they are in the world with the same high quality service.
Describe Ampelmann’s relevance in today’s market conditions?
The current market is incredibly challenging for the whole supply chain. The benefits of a product like ours become even more apparent in today’s market. Customers see that this is more than just about safety. By getting people safely to work in all sea conditions we help the energy company reduce Opex, increase time on tools and increase production.
How do you cope with the increasing amount of competition?
It keeps us sharp. There are several companies coming to the market, but I think they have seen that it is not easy to develop a system with such redundancy, safety and performance. We have set the bar pretty high – there is still no other solution that fully compensates the movement of the seas. Furthermore our service model means we provide a worldwide service with trained operators and certified systems.
Is this service model linked to the fact that most Ampelmann systems are for rental use?
It’s a tough time to be a vessel owner; buying a motion compensated gangway is a major capital investment. Why would you want to own, maintain, operate and certify a gangway when you can pay for one just when you need it? Short term deployments are an attractive option for many vessel owners and end users. It’s about making life easy for our customers – not just using it but also paying for it.
Damen and Ampelmann recently joined forces to test your L-Type system on board their Fast Crew Supplier 5009. How will this cooperation benefit the end client?
We are very excited to work together with Damen. They have revolutionised the shipbuilding industry and I think we are doing the same with offshore access. Combining two great products delivers a solution that the customer really needs. Operators can improve safety, performance and efficiency while reducing interfaces and costs.
What are Ampelmann’s ambitions for the future?
There are number of areas where we want to grow and develop. In cargo transfer and with systems that can transfer a larger amount of people. The possibility of providing a complete integrated ‘crew change solution’ is interesting too. Trust plays an important role – we want to become the default choice for our customers – such that they don’t want or need to go anywhere else!