Founded in 1960, the Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO) family of companies now represents the most diverse and dynamic marine transportation operation in the world. ECO owns and operates a growing fleet of new generation offshore service vessels supporting a vast majority of the US Gulf deepwater market. The organisation’s in-house design and shipbuilding capabilities have made it unique in the offshore boat service industry.
The co-operation between ECO and PEMA began in 2007: ECO wanted to increase the flexibility and capacity of the welding of panel stiffeners in its Gulfship yard in Gulfport, Mississippi, and also in North American Shipbuilding (NAS) yard in Larose, Louisiana. PEMA supplied a portal with a rotating welding boom, which enables welding of longitudinal and transverse stiffeners. The PEMA SWP 12200/6 portals delivered can weld three profiles simultaneously on both sides with six MIG/MAG welding heads. A year later, ECO decided to order a similar portal for its NavShip yard in Navegantes, Brazil. That portal was delivered and installed in winter 2008-09.
In 2009, ECO ordered two 12.2m (40ft)-wide panel lines from PEMA, one of which was delivered to the company’s new LA Ship yard in Houma, Louisiana, and the other to the Tampa Ship yard in Tampa, Florida. The lines consist of a PEMA OSW one-sided welding station, a PMA SMP-R rotating stiffener mounting station, a PEMA SWP stiffener welding station with six welding heads, a PEMA SSMP stiffener and bulkhead lifting and mounting portal, and the PEMA SP service gantry/weld-out station. LA Ship’s panel line also received a complete conveyor system. In the Tampa Ship line, the existing conveyor system was utilised as much as possible.
The Tampa Ship panel line was delivered from PEMA in June 2010 and LA Ship’s line later in the same year. Two patented PEMA VRWM vision robot welding portals were added to the LA Ship line by which it is possible to weld pre-mounted structures comprising deep bulkheads, stiffeners and other profiles.