BPP-TECH were engaged by a purchaser of a 300-tonne reel drive unit (RDU) to review evidence and provide an opinion as to the failure of the RDU on its first offshore deployment.

The RDU is used to spool cables and umbilicals from a reel onboard an installation vessel onto the sea floor. This failure related to the detachment of a hydraulic drive unit which subsequently fell a distance of four metres to just above the deck of the installation vessel causing damage to the intermeshing gear train and other components of the RDU.

It was subsequently discovered that the RDU had significant design defects related to the bolting, gears, bearings, structural strength, deflection, selection of drive motors and the braking system. Additionally, the RDU had not been manufactured in accordance with the specifications and drawings. BPP-TECH also provided attendance at site inspections and at court in an expert witness capacity.