Submarine Handling Crane completes Huisman facility for Walrus-class submarine replacement

Huisman, a leading designer and manufacturer of innovative and step changing technical solutions to the world’s leading companies in the renewables, oil & gas, naval, civil and entertainment industries, has announced today that with the Huisman Submarine Handling Crane its future submarine facility is fit-for-purpose. With this facility, located in Schiedam, the Netherlands, Huisman enables the three bidding non-Dutch Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) to increase Dutch content, reduce costs and investments in specialised facilities, and minimise construction risks. 

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Over the last 90 years, Huisman has built up its track record in the field of design, engineering, production and assembly of highly complex and high tensile steel constructions for offshore wind-, oil & gas- and related markets. Huisman has extensive knowledge of and experience with complex high strength steel constructions with a high material thickness, in combination with accurate tolerances for constructions up to 30 meters of diameter. The company has engineered and built the world’s largest (2 x 10.000mt) Offshore Cranes and has developed complex megatronic solutions such as Heave Compensation Systems and Motion Compensated Grippers. The technology used for these solutions is equal to submarine production technology and meets the requirements for hull assembly and joining assemblies. Therefore, Huisman’s knowledge and skills perfectly match those used in submarine production.

With this portfolio-extension, Huisman aims to carry out detailed engineering and production of parts of the pressure hull as well as assembly of elements and parts of submarines, including marine engineering systems. Furthermore, Huisman is able to facilitate the overall assembly and testing of the submarines. All of this under the guidance of experienced submarine OEM partners. 

The recently developed Huisman Submarine Handling Crane offers a method for safe and easy handling of complete submarines, from the assembly hall into the harbour and vice versa. With this crane, the Huisman submarine facility is fit for purpose, and provides major benefits and minimal investment risks to the remaining three OEM partners for the replacement of the Dutch Walrus-class submarines. 

The location of the submarine facility in the heart of the Rotterdam area facilitates cooperation with the Dutch maritime cluster, contributing significantly to the future Dutch content for the submarine replacement. Furthermore, existing knowledge will be secured and production technology in the maritime and submarine field will be kept up-to-date. This enhances the international competitive position of the region. 

The Rotterdam area has built up expertise and equipment support for the current Walrus submarines and subsequent other complex maritime projects. The Dutch maritime cluster offers a central location where all Dutch expertise and knowledge can be integrated in close cooperation with the OEM partners for this replacement programme. 

The importance of investing in higher local Dutch content is obvious. The government receives a 125% return on investment for every euro spent in the Netherlands, contrary to a full cash out spent abroad. Involving the Dutch maritime cluster early in the programme reduces risks and therefore costs for initial investments. At the same time, it ensures long-term local employment which is of great value to the area, following the economic downturn as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.