OceanX project: Morello’s platform carts to transport submarines


Posted on January 15, 2022
20 t - On ship decks submarines mover - OMNI

This project was born thanks to the mission of OceanX, a company based in the USA and founded by Ray Dalio and his son Mark Dalio. Their purpose is to explore the depths of the ocean, protect the sea and marine life, in order to educate, inspire and make people know the wonders of the underwater world through a gripping narrative. 

This mission could be fulfilled only with the ship OceanXplorer: the most advanced exploration and research vessel ever built. It was fabricated in Norway by the company Damen and is capable of exploring the most unreachable places on Earth. This ship can carry four submarines and will sail the ocean around the world pushing the limits of discovery until the maximum depth of 6000 meters.

OceanX proposed a demanding, but very stimulating, challenge to Morello in order to carry out the important mission of the ship OceanXplorer. For this project, Morello was expected to provide a special type of heavy-duty platform cart that could safely move highly sophisticated submarines on the deck and in the hold of the ship without any risk for the crew.   

Let’s see in detail this stimulating project.

Information about the customer:

The direct customer of Morello is the Norwegian shipbuilding company Damen, while the final customer is the ship OceanXplorer. It is an American vessel that will sail across all the oceans of the world to explore and protect the marine environment. For this mission, Morello dealt also with the submarine operator.

The challenge:   

Object Two on-board submarines which, although small submarines, were very large relative to the size of the ship

The working environment:

Working AreaThe implementation of shipboard operations can be very dangerous in narrow spaces, especially during the roll and the pitch of the ship or when the sea is really rough.
SpaceThe ship is relatively small with narrow spaces where the crew had to move the submarines.
Weather ConditionsMorello’s heavy-duty platform carts must operate on a ship during its journey across the ocean and withstand any weather condition.
Air QualitySea air, saltiness and adverse weather conditions can cause many problems to the equipment.  
Floor ConditionsThe floor of the ship is not suitable to withstand excessively heavy loads and for this reason the distribution of weight must be stable and balanced.
Moreover, the floor is often wet and the risk of slipping during the roll and the pitch must be well evaluated and kept under control.
Place and ServiceEven in the middle of the ocean there can be mechanical breakdowns and for this reason Morello’s transfer carts must be highly reliable. Possible breakdowns aren’t easily repairable and Morello’s experts can’t be available 24 hours a day in such a difficult environment. 

The solution provided by Morello:

VehicleThe ship OceanXplorer needed two heavy-duty platform carts to transport the submarines. They are battery-powered OMNI platform carts, equipped with electric engines in order not to pollute the environment.
We used only IP certified electrical components, made of stainless steel and covered with C5-M certified marine varnish. Our carts were built to transport submarines and other equipment with a maximum weight of 20 tons.
SteeringOur heavy-duty platform carts are very flexible to drive in the narrow spaces of the ship OceanXplorer. Thanks to the multidirectional driving system, our carts can steer right and left 90 degrees, diagonally or rotate on their axis.
MobilityA specific calculation of dynamic acceleration was done in order to ensure a uniform distribution of weight with all possible sea conditions and to avoid overload on a small portion of the surface.
Moreover, the twelve wheels are equipped with individual engines and hydraulic suspensions to ensure an excellent stability and adhesion to the surface. In addition, a specific calculation to measure the friction between the floor and the wheels was done both in dry and wet conditions.   
EngineesOur transfer carts are equipped with alternating current brushless engines, that don’t need maintenance and don’t pollute.
Operational ControlOur platform carts are driven with a remote-controlled potentiometer. The operational software has been developed and improved by Morello over the years and now is used all around the world. 
Technical SupportAll the components that were used don’t need maintenance and all the possible risks of breakage were identified and minimized. In case of emergency, specific procedures were established and spare parts were provided in order to ensure the maximum level of efficiency.
An advanced interface was installed to diagnose all the possible mechanical problems of the vehicle. Moreover, remote assistance was activated through the use of an on-board monitoring software.
Project ManagementMorello’s team has many years of experience in the supply of technical solutions to carry out important and challenging projects such as the one related to the ship OceanXplorer. This project was very stimulating due to the adverse ocean and weather conditions that the ship had to face during its journey.

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Morello’s expert team: Amedeo Morello, Luca Tibaldi, Stefano Rizzo.

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