TU Delft spin-off Ampelmann hits major milestone

Offshore personnel transfer company Ampelmann successfully performed its one-millionth safe transfer at sea. The former YES! Delft start-up is committed to making offshore access to fixed and floating structures as easy as crossing the street.

Founded in 2008 by TU Delft alumnus Jan van der Tempel, Ampelmann Operations specializes in the development, construction and lease of offshore access solutions. The firm’s motion-compensated gangway systems use six hydraulic cylinders, which adjust to the constant movement of sea vessels, resulting in a stationary transfer platform. The gangway can be extended to any offshore structure, enabling all personnel to walk across safely, even in rough seas.

Van der Tempel came across the idea to develop the technology during a conference on offshore wind energy in Berlin. At the time, safe access to offshore wind farms was a major issue and was considered a bottleneck to the development of offshore wind technologies. While working on his PhD at TU Delft, Van der Tempel invented the Ampelmann system together with his colleague in 2002 and built a full-scale prototype five years later.

In January 2014, the company successfully conducted its one-millionth-sea transfer during an offshore project in Malaysian Borneo for Royal Dutch Shell. “It is an enormous achievement for the company since we first started focusing on offshore access in 2007,” said Frederik Gerner, Director of Ampelmann Asia Pacific. “I still remember well how proud we were with our first, our thousandth and our one hundred thousandth transfer, but this is an even greater achievement by the Ampelmann team, which has quickly grown onshore and offshore.”

Since 2008, Ampelmann has rapidly developed into multinational organization with more than three hundred employees working in six different continents. “Over the years, we have opened up markets in the Gulf of Mexico, Trinidad, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Australia and even North East Russia,” Gerner claimed. “Every country brings different cultures, experiences and challenges, but also provides us with [satisfied customers] once the Ampelmann system is operating successfully on our clients’ projects.”

Apart from expanding its worldwide fleet, Ampelmann is focusing more on innovation. In 2013, the company developed an offshore cargo transfer system that can be used to deliver tools and large equipment such as generators and grout hoses. Mounted on the Ampelmann system, the KIB cargo basket can transfer up to 100kg, 20 meter above sea level. All products developed by Ampelmann are designed with safety in mind, ensuring that secure offshore operations can be conducted at all times.

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