The ULSTEIN X-BOW® was designed to give the anchor handling tug vessel, the ULSTEIN AX104, superior seafaring qualities and improved energy consumption and more environmentally friendly operation. The project also includes the design of a new stern solution that reduces risk on board to a minimum.
Only a year after the first ship was completed, Ulstein had built a further two ships with similar bows and had an additional six on order. Furthermore, Ulstein Design has sold the design and equipment for ten vessels for external production, and Ulstein’s first partner, Bourbon Offshore Norway, has four ships with the ULSTEIN X-BOW® design under construction in China.
An astounding aptitude for innovation and cooperation!
A unique form of cooperation between designers, naval architects, ship-owners, seamen and shipyard workers in the maritime environment along Norway’s Møre coast has resulted in impressive new shipbuilding solutions.
The Ulstein Group in Ulsteinvik possessed the necessary shipbuilding expertise while industrial designers Odim in Hjørungavåg had the technological know-how to produce a completely new stern solution, while the shipping company Bourbon Offshore Norway in Fosnavåg supplied the funding and the desire for innovation.
The aptitude for innovation that spurred the design of ULSTEIN AX104 is so astounding that it has given both Ulstein and Norway an enormous amount of attention worldwide. The Ulstein Group has set a new maritime standard, and even shipowners who were initially sceptical have now become enthusiastic ambassadors.
The new bow shape means reduced slamming when the ship is in motion. Movement both when sailing in a head sea or with a tailing current is calmer, thus giving greater comfort. In addition, fuel consumption is lower and the ship produces fewer emissions. One can maintain faster speeds in high seas, with the same energy consumption as earlier. Last but not least, reduced sea spray means there is less risk of icing. These superior qualities surprised even the seasoned engineers at Marintek in Trondheim who were responsible for testing the bow during the development process.
The handling of the enormous anchors that secure floating installations to the seabed has traditionally been a very heavy and dangerous job. Oil companies have therefore demanded equipment that increases safety. The new stern means that a large part of this work on ULSTEIN AX104 has been automated. While the heavy anchors previously had to be hauled over the stern, they can now be lifted up by a moveable stern that lies flat on the deck. Furthermore, there is no longer any need to have crew members on the rear deck during the most dangerous operations.
Firm strategic foundation in the organisation
In addition to all these unique functional improvements, the new bow has a visual expression that is easily recognisable throughout the world. This was a conscious strategy by the Ulstein Group, who for many years has strategically given industrial design a firm foundation throughout the organisation.