A new steel wire rope plant is taking shape for Kiswire on the Malaysian coast with the present and future needs of the offshore industry very much in mind.
Of the 130,000t of wire rope the company already produces annually, some 30,000t is currently employed offshore in diameters ranging from 50mm to 140mm for abandonment & recovery winches, cranes, hoists, mooring & anchoring equipment and other applications. With the inexorable move into deeper waters placing ever greater demands on the wire rope used in such applications, Kiswire has responded by building a brand new plant at Johor. It is also implementing a dual operations strategy that will substantially increase its manufacturing capabilities over the next year or two. The new factory, called Neptune 2 (N2 for short) and representing a $100 million investment, is being built in two phases that Kiswire expects will comfortably establish it as the biggest and most advanced facility of its kind in the world.
Already installed, and expected to go into operation by November under phase one, is one of the largest closing machines ever built, capable of producing 6-strand rope in units up to 300t. ‘That is a huge closure, and quite a jump since our current capacity limit is 125t,' says Kiswire VP and Kiswire Europe managing director Bert de Ruijter.
With deepwater subsea applications setting the pace, phase two of the N2 plant's development will see the start up, about a year later, of multi-strand non-rotating wire rope production using another record-setting machine now at the design stage. This machine will be capable of producing multi-strand ropes in 600t units, the kind of duty being specified for a new generation of vessels targeting ultra-deepwater construction work.
‘That is the requirement in the market that we see for the next 10 to 20 years, and right now nobody can make it,' says Bert de Ruijter. ‘It's all subsea driven these days. We believe the new large machine for multi-strand rope, producing wire rope units so big they will require reels of around 10m by 10m, will cover just about anything that is required or being done in the offshore oil & gas industry.
With the buildings complete and its first-phase machinery installed, N2 is now well into its equipment trials and commissioning phase. The plant will design and produce a wide variety of rope types with features including zinc/ aluminium coating, plastic infill and special lubricants.
N2 is situated adjacent to the Asiaflex flexible pipe production facility inaugurated last November by Technip, which also employs Kiswire steel wires in the manufacture of its flexpipe. The two companies jointly funded and share the use of a new jetty at Johor for the loadout of their giant reels onto offshore barges.