A vessel for growth for Ulstein
Based in Norway, the Ulstein Group designs and manufactures vessels, focusing firmly on innovative technological solutions and global integration.
Founded in 1917 as Ulstein Mekaniske Verksted, the Ulstein Group of today is an industrial and shipping group that consists of various expert divisions in ship design, shipbuilding, electrical solutions and control systems.
Ulstein is a company known throughout the offshore industry as a dynamic innovator with extensive experience and well-established services. It has built a strong client base at its headquarters in Ulsteinvik, Norway, which has aided in the expansion into international markets outside of Europe. The group excels in constructing advanced vessels and has accumulated a high level of competence within ship design and electrical control systems. One of its key strengths is its strong position carved out in the shipbuilding market by continuously providing advanced and wide-ranging products for ever-more demanding marine operations.
The Ulstein Group has evolved from modest beginnings 90 years ago as a small, family-owned shipyard operating in the repair industry to become an innovative, global shipping expert in a wide range of areas with a 600-strong workforce. Ulstein’s success is partially attributed to its highly skilled, versatile employees, a factor contributing significantly to its strong profile, and Ulstein prides itself on its reliability and strong product portfolio. Its range includes anchor handling vessels, the Ulstein A-series; platform supply vessels, the Ulstein P-series; and specialised multi-functional vessels, the Ulstein S-series.
The group is divided into three sectors that bring expertise in each respective area. The largest of the three employers is Ulstein Verft, situated at the base of operations in Ulsteinvik. It is the shipyard at the heart of the group and the world’s foremost supplier of specialist vessels. Ulstein Design develops advanced vessels for challenging offshore operations and focuses on vessels for the offshore market, such as Anchor Handling Tug Supply (AHTS) vessels which can supply oil platforms, tow them to location, anchor them up and, in a few cases, serve as an Emergency Rescue and Recovery Vessel (ERRV).
Ulstein Elektro delivers solutions involving electrical, control and communication systems for the marine and industrial markets. In this product range, Ulstein Com, an integrated solution for data and telecommunications for the marine market, and Ulstein IAS, which is an integrated automation system for vessels and also the latest addition to the Ulstein Elektro range, are both considered to be extremely inventive solutions that have attracted a great deal of attention. Ulstein Belga Marine is a sub-company of Ulstein Elektro, and operates in the electrical and control system product area. It is one of the most recent additions to the group, transpiring after the oil and gas market grew in Brazil, which created an attractive opportunity for Ulstein to seize the majority shares of the Brazilian company Belga Marine based in Rio de Janeiro. This new branch forms the basis of Ulstein’s representation in South America as that market continues to expand.
In April 2005, Ulstein Design introduced the Ulstein X-Bow an innovative bow solution with improved seakeeping abilities, noted for its revolutionary design and appearance. Its inverted bow is designed to improve handling in rough sea, increase speeds and lower fuel consumption. Its pioneering, futuristic design emerged as a result of Ulstein’s long-term design philosophy that began in the seventies and, in order to realise its visions, Ulstein formed strong partnerships within the maritime cluster with other companies looking for alternatives to conventional solutions.
In the spring of 2008, a new construction vessel with the Ulstein X-Bow will be delivered after a two-year collaboration with Island Offshore to produce the Island Constructor. This is the first ship design delivered from the Ulstein S-series and the contract is worth around 600 million NOK. In order to ensure long-term success in the future, it is important for Ulstein to have a strong foundation in innovation and, to date, the Ulstein XBow has been the company’s most visible original achievement. It has generated considerable interest in international maritime circles by winning the Norwegian Engineering Feat of the Year Award in 2005, and as one of the entrants at the 2006 Seatrade Awards in the category for Innovation in Ship Operations. Ulstein was particularly proud to be recognised in the Feat of the Year competition as the award is given to a development in Norway that has had a significant positive impact on the local, national or international community.
The company has harnessed Ulstein’s international potential and one of its primary aims is to continue working towards the internationalisation of the group, which is strongly rooted in the Norwegian maritime industry where the level of costs makes it difficult to compete for labour-intensive contracts. Consequently, Ulstein has increasingly focused on enhancing its technological skills to provide a more expertiseintensive service structure, demonstrating its flexible and adaptable method of operating.
Ulstein prioritises the development and construction of state-of-the-art ships and ship systems for challenging operations. The vessels, and the services that it has to provide, are becoming increasingly complex, creating a need for reliable management and control systems for the shipowner and crew. As a result of this, electrical and control systems are an important area for Ulstein. Automation is the only area within the Ulstein group that also works with land-based industry. For instance, in March 2007 the automation department in Ulstein Elektro won a contract which, together with an earlier contract with ITT Flygt on deliveries of pump control for the same tunnel, is worth 2.3 million NOK for the delivery of a control and alarm system to Eiksundsambandet, a major tunnel and road project that will link Ulsteinvik and surrounding areas to the mainland. Ulstein Elektro has earlier delivered close to 40 surveillance systems for Statens Vegvesen, the state-owned road department, which helped to ensure it secured the contract.
The Ulstein Group operates by continuously exchanging knowledge between shipowners, designers, equipment manufacturers, engineers and shipbuilders, believing this collaboration to be the best way to allow Ulstein to act as a centre of expertise. This keeps it ahead of its competitors in the design and construction of advanced vessels and solutions for tough conditions. Customer demands and expectations continue to challenge the engineers’ expertise and capabilities in developing solutions for increasingly demanding marine operations.
Ulstein develops its marine and industrial solutions within electronics, automation and power control for customers worldwide and one of its strengths lies in integrating individual products with large systems and package solutions. Recent projects in Brazil and China have revealed potential in developing and marketing electronic package solutions internationally.
Based on its core values of innovation, flexibility, expertise and quality, Ulstein develops the best ship design for any specific operation and has the experience to reassure any customer that the finished vessel will operate successfully for many years. Ulstein designs are known as safe, reliable and for having a low lifecycle cost. The popularity of the Ulstein X-bow design has led Ulstein to assert that a new era within the offshore shipping industry is emerging that will see pioneering visions become a reality. For years, land-based industry has been at the cutting edge in developing sophisticated management systems within automation and now innovations for ships and vessels are coming to the forefront of technological and design advancement.
Products: Advanced ship design, vessel construction and electrical control systems
Sites: Norway, Brazil, China, Poland, Slovakia and Turkey