Trusted marine solutions

Since its last inclusion in Shipping and Marine magazine in November 2012 Maats Tech Ltd (Maats) has continued in its mission to provide total marine project solutions. Driven by a sea change in the way the major subsea contractors approach new vessel acquisitions, the company has continued to grow, with requests for quotations reaching the company on almost a weekly basis.

Working with shipyards to provide onestop solutions to the varying aspects of naval architecture and marine engineering, the company helps to facilitate the acquisition of new vessels for the major offshore operators including Subsea 7, Technip, McDermott and Aker Solutions. From its three work sites across the UK Maats also specialises in providing bespoke carousel systems for specialist ship requirements.

The company designs all of its carousels individually and has catered for requirements of up to 7000 tonnes, plus the equipment is able to handle flexible pipe, umbilicals and power cables. The carousels are usually either a basket type or reel type (with or without an outside wall) although combination units can be provided to operate in either mode depending on the project requirements. The company’s head office is based in Micheldever, Hampshire, with its Engineering and FEA Office in Gloucester and its Naval Architectural Office in Sunderland, Tyne & Wear.

Maats also supplies dolly base systems for deck-mounted reels. The reels can store up to 240 tonnes of flexible pipe product on each of eight 9.2m diameter reels. Maats also provides over-boarding and load-out equipment associated with the carousel system, including tensioners, chutes and a range of loading arms.

During the past eight months, the company’s growth has been accelerated by the different approach the major subsea contractors have taken to acquire their new vessels and at the same time the coming together of an uplift in deep water flex pipe laying and increase in demand for heavy cable laying for the wind industry and power distribution industry. Elaborating on the subject, managing director, John Holt, observes that: “In the past, the subsea contractors would commission a shipyard to build the vessel and supply the mission equipment – diving systems, large cranes, pipelay systems – to the shipyard for the shipyard to install. The operator would make the capital investment in the mission equipment and provide the financing. This approach has seen a major change wherein the operator says to the shipyard this is the vessel we require and here is the functional specification of the mission equipment, go out and find it, deliver and finance it. The result is that Maats and other manufacturers get an enquiry f
rom four or five shipyards all for the same project.” On the back of this approach, the company has secured four contracts, including a 7000te under-deck carousel for Subsea 7 HCV, which is currently under construction at HHI Korea. It has also secured contracts from Subsea 7 for three flex-lay vessels with VLS top tension of 650te. These vessels will include carousels and 30te loading tensioners.

The 7000te Subsea 7 carousel is an ambitious project, representing the largest under-deck unit the company has produced so far and is designed to handle heavy cable or flex pipe-lay products. The flex-lay Subsea 7 vessels have been commissioned for a Brazilian company.

As well as these projects the company has several other constructions underway, including vessels being built in Romania and outfitted in Norway for Bergen, Kleven and Vard. There are also DSME (Korean) new builds for the Techip/Oderbrecht partnership in Brazil, one vessel for Subsea 7 being built at IHC Holland and two vessels for IHC, which are also being produced at the Merwede facility in Holland.

Drawing on its comprehensive experience with carousel systems, the company has developed a detailed knowledge of varying deck layout and pathway engineering and boasts growing expertise in assisting operators to find solutions to complex operational handling requirements. Having worked in the sector for over 25 years, Meets has earned a detailed understanding of the requirements of vessels operating in the offshore environment. This means that in addition to its design services it is able to offer a specialism in Finite Element Analysis, which is critical in assessing the interplay between the incoming heavy mission equipment and the vessel.

At the core of the company’s mission is its dedicated team of engineers. Hiring in an offshore environment is difficult. Maats aims to provide quality management and design services. To ensure that the company is able to recruit the best people for its team, it looks to expand its human resources by engaging graduate and track record proven engineers. This can be challenging as the company is keen to hire career personnel and the availability and fluidity of the market can make finding the right staff hard work. However, Maats is dedicated to having a strong core team. Despite the challenges its staff levels have increased by 20 per cent since 2012 and has a 30 per cent female to male makeup. These staff have mainly added to the company’s project management and detail design teams who underpin its ability to obtain new contracts. Also vital in moving forward is the company’s finite element team, which is continually being expanded to further take advantage of the expertise that Maats is able to offer its clie
nts. Additionally its in-house project support has attracted work with Rutherford Labs for pressure vessel analysis, Nepean coal mine support fatigue analysis, Diamould ESP Cable Thermal FEA and Reflex Tech Solutions for whole ship analysis and Bergen for vessel/carousel interface assessment.

The net result of this investment in people and partners is that Maats is able to offer new solutions to its clients. As such, the company is currently engaged in the development of a whole vessel design for an inshore cable laying vessel that would include its established carousel and handling equipment. John further explains: “Offers for the full detail design have been made to the operators and we await feedback as we are quite keen on these vessels as they are not the usual run of the mill. They have to have the capability of laying in reasonably deep water (N/S-Baltic), but at the same time have the ability to ground if they lose the tide on a beach approach – our Caspian tugs had the same grounding capability.” The company’s development of new products is set to be bolstered in August 2013 as the company’s team has been tasked with commissioning Maats equipment on the Subsea 7 Seven Waves at IHC. “This is the first of the five Petrobras bound vessels that Maats is involved with and will be a milestone in the learning curve for the other vessels,” John elaborates.

These developments will place Maats in a strategic position to meet the challenges of an ever-changing market. Possible future projects are circulating due to the collision of offshore wind and platform cable lay requirements and the movement of flex lay operations into of 2013 the company intends to focus on HR and product expansion to meet the future demands of the market. In the short term, focus will be on shifting the direction of the business by moving some of the team from design and building operations to production operation.

This change reflects the fact that projects for Subsea 7 and others are repeat contracts, which are something rarely heard of in the industry and quite challenging. However, the ability of Maats to retain its customers and consistently rely on repeat contracts and product support operations demonstrates how the company’s specialist engineering is fast making it an industry leader.

Maats Tech Ltd
In operation for over 25 years
Total marine project solutions
Specialist engineering