A SMALL Aberdeen company has won a top award at OTC, which it hopes will lead to a major boost for sales.
Nautilus Rigging has been recognised by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for its Nautilus Hooks.
The Granite City family firm had been selected as one of five finalists for the 27th annual Woelfel Best Mechanical Engineering Achievement Award.
Nautilus says its new hooks largely consign to history pinch-and-trap injuries associated with traditional “latch-lock” lifting hooks.
The firm was set up in 2007 and only has a team of three: managing director Bill Toon, wife Wendy and son Jake.
The Nautilus Hooks range was officially launched at Offshore Europe in Aberdeen last September.
The company has already sold more than £100,000 of the hooks – which are made in China – since the end of 2009 and also has orders of about £250,000 in hand.
Mr Toon said sales had been targeted to hit £750,000 in 2010, but they were now looking at double this.
He added: “I am delighted to win this award. We were up against some massive companies.”
Mr Toon said the idea for the hook came to him seven years ago when he was working offshore as a ship’s master, adding: “One night, one of my deck crew got his hand caught between the sling and the hook and ended up losing the end of his finger. That got me thinking that there had to be a better solution.”
Mr Toon refined his idea until he was satisfied he had addressed all the safety issues posed by traditional latch-lock hooks.
Nautilus is using OTC to launch two new lifting hooks after the company secured Det Norske Veritas (DNV) certification for the range, verifying them fit for purpose and meeting all European and international lifting-hook standards.
Unveiled at Houston were the four-ton and 12-ton SWL (safe working load) versions of the groundbreaking design, adding to the eight-ton safety hook launched at Offshore Europe last year. Mr Toon said: “Since Offshore Europe, we have been overwhelmed with interest from both distributors and customers, and now we have DNV approval we’re expecting business to take off even more sharply.
“We were being asked to widen the range almost as soon as we launched, so we have moved quickly to develop and produce the four-ton and 12-ton versions and we’re already getting orders.”
Mr Toon said that the final Nautilus Hooks range would comprise seven sizes. He said of OTC: “We see this as our gateway to establishing contacts and raising our profile on the global stage.”