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Helping Morek Engineering pioneer a new approach to seafastening

Morek Engineering was founded in 2019 by Bob Colclough, a chartered Naval Architect with over 15 years’ experience in project and technology development of nascent and mainstream offshore renewables. The company is a specialist offshore operations and technical service provider, focused on innovation and sustainable solutions for the marine industry.

The services that Morek Engineering provides span naval architecture, structural engineering, marine operation simulation, project engineering and seafastening. 

Bob Colclough explains:

“Morek Engineering has significant expertise in seafastening design for offshore renewable energy projects.  This involves detailed engineering design to make sure that components are safely secured to the deck of a ship for offshore operations. Seafastening has a big impact on the speed and effectiveness of deployment – and is a critical factor in ensuring safety at sea.

“As you can imagine, the growth of the offshore market has created some big new challenges in the field of seafastening. Loads are becoming larger, heavier and more difficult to handle. There is also much more variety in size and shape – from turbine blades, to monopiles and towers – each of which require a tailored approach. 

“Current seafastening designs go through a multi-stage process with many individual ‘manual’ calculations. We identified an opportunity to create an innovative software tool that will allow our engineers to optimise seafastening designs quickly and accurately. We engaged with the Marine-i project to support us in the development of this pioneering new approach. 

“One of the key new features we have in the new tool is the ability to accurately predict project costs, including estimates of labour, materials and mobilisation durations, all of which are often overlooked during design.  This means project costs will be minimised whilst ensuring robust systems are designed that meet stringent client safety demands.”

Professor Lars Johanning, Project Director for Marine-i says: 

“The rapid development of floating offshore wind is creating new opportunities that require clever new solutions from the supply chain. Morek Engineering is a great example of the innovation that is putting Cornwall and the South West at the forefront of this global industry.”

Morek Engineering was supported by Dr Tessa Gordelier, Business Research Fellow at Marine-i partner, University of Exeter. Tessa explains:

“The software development was broken down into four key stages. First, we needed to collect data on the current design process and its decision pathways, as a foundation for the creation of the software algorithms. Secondly, we took these data sets and developed a process hierarchy. The third stage involved the development of specific modules such as the cost elements. The final stage was the creation of preliminary programming algorithms. These were then tested against the existing ‘manual’ approach so that we could validate the new methodology and evaluate the cost/time benefits of the new software tool.

“In all, the project required 300 hours of work from myself and the University of Exeter team, together with extensive data and information inputs from Morek Engineering. The result is a software tool that can provide an important step forward for the offshore industry.” 

Bob Colclough adds:

“We are really grateful to the Marine-i project and the University of Exeter for their support in helping make our vision a reality. It will be exciting to see our new approach deliver significant improvements for our customers, as the offshore renewables market continues to grow.”

Photo credit: Morek Engineering