Ulstein MPS Concept

This project was done in collaboration with Ulstein Design & Solutions AS. The goal for this project was to explore the future of platform supply vessels and challenge the traditional way the maritime industry designs and use offshore vessels. The result will work as an eye-opener for Ulstein. By being different and provocative, the concept solution should inspire them to get new ideas and to look differently at how to solve ship designs in the future.

Diploma Project, spring 2013 – Prize for Innovation from The Norwegian Design Council
This project was done in collaboration with Mikael Johansen

Systems Oriented Design Approach

To manage complexity we need tools to visualize. As designers we often find it easier to understand concepts and situations by visualizing them, and it makes it easier for other interest groups to understand what we see and where we are in a context. A systems oriented design approach let us find and deal with complex systems. To deal with the complexity of our material from the field-trip and the research phase, we managed all our information in a Giga-map to get a better understanding of how the people and the situations are linked together. Our giga map has been like a ever changing document and has gone through many iterations from analogue to digital versions. As we did our research, we put it physically up on a wall besides our workstations.




Our process has moved rapidly between ideation, sketches and simple CAD models. Making and studying structural principle sketches was fast and easy by using 3D Studio Max CAD-software. With these models we made tenfold of iterations and combinations by manipulating the models in the software. Sketches often do not tell you how things actually are put together, they mostly give you a feeling of how things function. By switching back and forth between the mediums, we could get a better understanding of how the vessel could be and it made it much easier to discuss the different directions.

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Free Hand Sketching

 The MPS Concept

The MPS (Multi Purpose SWATH) concept is designed to be a modular platform that can adapt to a great variety of operations.  The vessel itself is a minimized structure containing only what is needed to get the job done. The reduced accommodation area makes it a more efficient solution compared to todays offshore vessel designs where a lot of dead-weight is transferred around at any given time. Offshore operations often requires precision work in high seas. In the future, we will experience even greater changes and more extreme weather. The SWATH-hull type (Small-Water plane-Area-Twin-Hull) used on this vessel makes it very stable in high seas and ensures comfort for the crew and reliability even in the most demanding operations.

As the “base model” of the vessel only contains room for two people, we saw the need to make the accommodation area expandable if the vessel is supposed to do other tasks than cargo handling where there is need for lab-equipment, offices, kitchen, sleeping facilities or similar functions. These modules have connections for water and electricity. Other than accommodation units, we see possibilities to include other functions such as solar panels, extra power sources or even a helicopter platform.

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Streamline Logistics

With the new connection interface, we can streamline the logistics at the harbor. Today vessels take up their whole length when docking, this new system will free up space by letting the vessels stand closer to each other.A roll on roll off strategy makes rid of slow crane operations. The cargo units crane lift the loads of the trucks itself.  The situation today is that the loads arrive by truck, a fork lift puts it down on the ground before the crane slowly load the vessel. Instead of having the vessel’s crew wait for the harbor crew to load the deck, loading and unloading happens independently of the tug vessel. This allows the tug vessel to take on other assignments right away.

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Harbor Logistics

Compared to today’s situation, where vessels stand in queue to deliver goods to the platform, the cargo unit can be dropped off by the platform. Then the platform crane operator takes over control inside the 500m safety zone. After taking control of the cargo unit, the operator positions the cargo in reach of the platform crane. Here he activates the DP on the unit. The loading and unloading can begin. After loading and unloading at the platform is done, the cargo is moved out of the safety zone, where it waits to be picked up.

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Platform Logistics