After initially using a Volvo Penta D12 engine in one of its early vessels, Windcat Workboats launched the Windcat 5 with Volvo Penta D16 engines in 2005. Eight years on, Windcat’s co-owner, Robbert van Rijk, still considers the D16 to be one of the most reliable marine diesel engines available on the market today, offering customers uptime, low fuel consumption and a proven track record for success.
Operating in the seas around the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and the UK, Windcat workboats has become a pioneer in crew transfer vessels within the offshore wind power industry. With a fleet of more than 37 boats predominantly powered by Volvo Penta marine diesel engines, Windcat Workboats offers its customers a safe, fast, comfortable and reliable transfer to windfarms across Europe, despite the region’s often-challenging sea conditions.
“Our strength lies in our ability to safely transport crews to the wind turbines in extremely turbulent waters, where some waves can reach nine feet in height,” says Robbert van Rijk, co-owner of the Dutch/UK company. “Since Windcat was founded, we’ve helped our customers make more than 1.5 million safe transfers to and from wind turbines.”
Part of the reason for Windcat’s excellent track record is the engines it uses to power its boats — in particular, Volvo Penta D16s. These robust, highly efficient marine diesel engines offer customers a solution that is designed, built and operated by one partner. More than just an engine manufacturer, Volvo Penta is Windcat’s very own partner in design.
Delivering uptime and fuel efficiency
Spanning almost a decade, Volvo Penta’s and Windcat’s partnership has been built on trust and collaboration. “At the beginning, there were some hurdles — a few wrinkles that needed ironing out,” van Rijk explains. “But Volvo Penta quickly took our feedback on board and showed that they were listening to their customers. Now the benefits are clear — Volvo Penta D16 engines offer excellent uptime, reduced total cost of ownership and outstanding service and maintenance.”
Windcat’s MK2, MK3 FP, MK3 RW, and MK3.2 workboats are all equipped with Volvo Penta D16 engines that run at 1,900 rpm. Despite its relatively low weight and small displacement, the D16 engine is a highly efficient unit with enough power and torque to safely transfer a crew of 12 to their wind farm destination.
The engine’s solid design not only ensures a speedy journey, it also guarantees that fuel consumption is kept to a minimum, thereby reducing the customer’s total cost of ownership. “Offering our customers low fuel consumption as part of the Windcat package is an excellent incentive,” says van Rijk. “Thanks to the engine’s economic fuel usage, Windcat is an easy choice to make for customers.”
Originally launched by the Volvo Group in 2004, Volvo Penta released the D16 for marine use in 2005 and, since then, more than 95,000 heavy-duty D16 units have been collectively produced across the Volvo Group. Now, Volvo Penta is updating its original unit to offer more features and greater benefits to customers. The D16 is a proven engine, boasting high production levels — something Ewoud Hooymans, Volvo Penta’s key account manager for Benelux, believes is confidence booster for companies like Windcat.
“With an established track record for low fuel consumption and durability, Volvo Penta’s D16 marine diesel engine is a solid choice for windfarm workboats,” he explains.
Support when it’s needed
“The 24/7 support we’ve received and the high quality of service provided have created an excellent partnership between Windcat and the Volvo Penta Center,” van Rijk says. “Ultimately, this gave us the confidence to choose the D16 again for other developments in the Windcat fleet.”
Volvo Penta’s broad dealer network and dedicated team of tech specialists have proven to be very beneficial to its relationship with Windcat over the years. Windcat appreciates the ability to liaise directly with Volvo Penta’s office in Gothenburg when support is needed, and values being listened to and consulted if problems arise.
“We originally began working with Volvo Penta because of its D12 marine diesel engines, but when our vessels grew and our power needs increased, we started using D16 engines instead,” explains van Rijk. “It’s a decision that paid off. And, with the D16’s update this year, it’s exciting to see Volvo Penta investing in and reinvigorating some of its key products.”
The updated Volvo Penta D16 engine will be on display at Europort, held in Rotterdam, Netherlands, on November 3 to 6. Visit Volvo Penta at Booth 1411 to find out more.
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