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Cortland Blog

Customization versus standardization for complex rigging operations

With more than 400 stores in 50 countries, a certain Swedish flat-pack furniture retailer is a global giant in its provision of affordable, yet often tricky, off-the-shelf solutions. While this grab and go model has proved a success, there is still a clear need in the DIY market for custom furniture or handcrafted fixtures and fittings.

Cortland also works in markets flooded with easily accessible, mass-produced tools and equipment. For instance, heavy lift, tugboat and towing applications across the energy industries rely on a wide range of products straight out of a catalog. This makes sense from a cost-effective point of view, ease of logistics and knowledge of engineers. However, sometimes teams are faced with a challenge that no standard product can overcome; the problem doesn’t have an existing solution. This is where real ingenuity plays an upper hand.

Like a carpenter contracted to create a custom piece to fit in a specific place, our engineering teams work with their knowledge and skills to develop tooling or equipment for a unique purpose. In a recent project, a 400-tonne steel riser had to be transferred from a pipelay and construction vessel to a FPSO in one of the world’s deepest production sites in the Gulf of Mexico. Standardized rigging for the complex and potentially hazardous operation was most definitely not a suitable option, due to strict height and weight limitations due to the FPSO’s narrow i-tube. The Cortland team therefore designed and recommended custom hardware for the rigging assembly.

Working closely with the client, Cortland devised a package of hardware and slings to meet the exact requirements, decreasing both the height and bulk of the set-up. A compact fiber-to-fiber pull in hook and a fiber-to-fiber load transfer hook were purposely designed and built for the project.

When combined with Cortland’s Selantic® slings, the assembly achieved a minimum breaking load well within permitted limits and retained a short height. The shape of the hooks was optimized to suit the Selantic products and ultimately lowered incidences of snagging. Additionally, a high capacity short sling was used to dramatically decrease the hook to hook connection length.

While there was very little room for maneuver in height and width, collaboration between Cortland and the installation contractor ensured a solution was delivered that worked in terms of strength, precision and ease of handling.

The result was a highly accurate installation using a rigging set‑up that made the transfer possible at all. It was the correct decision for the client on such a critical project and illustrated that customization is sometimes the only answer in a world of convenience and quick fixes.

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