• Subsea Rock Bolting Rig

    Robert Elks & Associates

    Rock Bolting Rig

    Onslow, Western Australia, Australia

Project Summary

Project
As part of Australia’s USD 37 billion Gorgon Project, Robert Elks & Associates (REA) worked with the contractor and fabricator to design the rock bolting rig as a remotely operated vehicle (ROV). The rig had to be light enough to meet the sea-bed bearing pressures, robust enough to resist the high operational loads and adverse weather conditions, and stable enough to remain on a sloping sea bed with varying water levels. REA also had to design a docking lifting frame for the rock bolting rig. Given these complex engineering challenges and a 12-week deliverable for the design portion of the project that allowed for early issue of materials to the fabricator, REA needed accurate, interoperable technology to ensure efficient design and collaboration.

Solution
REA used a combination of Bentley solutions to design a rig that met minimum stability criteria and develop analysis models of welded assemblies with multiple grades of steel. REA developed control systems for many machine movements and functions to minimize installation time. These included self-guiding and self-leveling, drilling, and machine traveling. The inherent interoperability of Bentley software enabled REA to overcome the design challenges and integrate design workflows to complete the rock bolting rig project on schedule.

Outcome
Bentley’s integrated design and analysis tools allowed for an iterative design cycle with a model that became progressively more accurate. Throughout the rock bolting rig project, 3D multi-material modeling, analysis, visualization, and clash detection ensured a fully coordinated design. The design was completed in ‘record time,’ allowing fabrication to proceed early, commissioning to be completed on schedule, and the contractor to meet its contractual commitments to the Gorgon Project. Using Bentley’s flexible, interoperable solutions to complete the critical path design activities saved significant time and money for all stakeholders.

Software
Throughout the design phase REA relied on Bentley ProStructures for model reviews, with its ability to produce weight and material reports, keeping design apace. REA used Bentley SACS to calculate the environmental load of hundreds of combinations for all likely configurations and check the design of the members against industry standards. Bentley STAAD.Pro was used to develop analysis models for track assembly, the chassis, cassette guide frame, mast assembly, and lifting frame. Integrating engineering workflows through data exchange with the latest ProStructures model saved significant time and enhanced the accuracy of the analysis.
Outcome/Facts:
  • REA designed a remotely operable rock bolting rig to install 1,546 pairs of stabilization anchors along a 54.9-kilometer-long pipeline in water depths ranging between 7 and 22 meters.
  • Bentley’s accurate and interoperable software enabled REA to complete the complex design within 12 weeks as part of the 12-month, USD 37 billion Australian Gorgon Project.
  • REA’s confidence in its Bentley designed project model allowed the fabricator to gain an early start on procurement, saving significant time and money for all stakeholders.