Lifting and lashing operations on offshore oil rigs frequently involve sustained periods of work in harsh environments to tough deadlines. Alongside these rigours, shrinking budgets and strict safety rules imposed by regulators mean that operators can ill afford to make costly mistakes.
In these testing circumstances, shackles and master links play a crucial role in rigging and industrial lifting systems, ensuring that large offshore containers and drilling tools can be transported safely and securely.
Whether operating in storms or freezing cold temperatures, these pieces of equipment have to stay strong under heavy loads. If they don't, an intricate line of ropes and pulleys, and the equipment they hold, fails with them.
"Operating in harsh conditions while installing these enormous pieces of machinery, you need equipment that you can trust - otherwise there are going to be problems, both from a financial and a safety point of view," says Anja van Beest, export manager at Van Beest manufacturing company.
To avoid any mishaps, the company has created a heavy-duty master link sold under the brand name 'Green Pin', specifically designed for carrying high loads over sustained periods. With a working load limit ranging from 131t to 400t, the product is fully forged as a single piece, meaning the device is guaranteed to meet the most stringent safety requirements with a Charpy-V Value of at least 42J.
"The product is specially forged from eight-grade alloy steel and there is no welding involved, which is something that differentiates us from other manufacturers. By making these master links from one piece, we can guarantee a uniform product design that is strong, reliable and longlasting," Van Beest explains.
The exceptionally smooth surface also reduces wear on counter components such as slings and shackles, making for a more cost-effective installation process. Meanwhile, the device is deliberately designed to be compatible with other models on the market and is capable of operating in temperatures ranging from -40°C to over 200°C.
As with all Green Pin products, the exterior is painted silver with a green mark indicating a maximum lifting angle of 120°, while the link is submitted to several non-destructive trials before shipping and tested to ensure that it can carry double its average working load.
The link is the latest addition to the company's programme of lifting, lashing and mooring fittings that it has been manufacturing from its base in Sliedrecht, the Netherlands, since 1922, when Dirk van Beest began supplying iron works to the local dredging industry.
Since then, the company has established long-lasting relationships with a network of users across the globe, attracting clients from a variety of industries, including oil and gas, fishing, construction and shipbuilding.
"We started off as a shackle factory in the Netherlands nearly 100 years ago, making steel tools for the local dredging industry," Van Beest says. She continues, "Since then, our Green Pin shackles have proved popular with consumers across the world. Over the past decade, we acquired a company in France making hooks and production components to go with lifting chains, and we now sell a wide range of accessories for steel wire rope, chain and synthetic lifting ropes."
With its meticulous attention to detail and innovative working methods, coupled with long-standing experience in manufacturing, Green Pin looks set to supply strong and durable lifting equipment for years to come.
"Attention to detail has always been a big part of who we are. We're always focused on improving our products, making small incremental changes to each device to make them that little bit better," Van Beest concludes.