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Monthly Archives: June 2012

MAXIMISE EFFICIENCIES BY WORKING WITH WHAT YOU’VE GOT

By Simon Wilson, Managing Director of Docking and Mooring, Trelleborg Marine Systems

Back In February, Richard blogged about the safety results from our 2011 Barometer Report, which showed that 81% of those surveyed believe that having a safer port environment directly contributes to reducing costs.

Safety should, of course, be a priority in all ports and harbours, but with ongoing budget restrictions in place due to the current economic climate, ports need to look for ways to improve safety and operational efficiencies while keeping costs down.

Fortunately, challenge tends to breed innovation and using established systems in new ways can counteract declining budgets. The effectiveness and efficiency of existing technologies can be optimised to reduce not only costs, but safety risks to vessel and jetty crew too.

Upgrading existing technologies with more intuitive products can improve ‘on berth’ efficiency in terms of cost, manning and, subsequently safety. For example, upgrading Quick Release Hooks to include a remote release function, removes personnel from around the mooring line at the time of release.

The larger vessel sizes coming into the market are also pushing ports to revisit their approaches to berthing and to optimise mooring operations.  Improvements to established docking and mooring equipment can produce cost efficient ways to accommodate these new vessel sizes, which are often in excess of the berth’s design, without having to make radical changes to the port’s overall infrastructure.

In addition to the importance of crew safety, it’s also about asset protection for ports. For example, using fixed or portable laser docking systems to monitor the speed of approach can allow the vessel crew to amend their speed accordingly. Thereby, counteracting the increased momentum produced by the size of the vessel and protecting the jetty from forces that are potentially too high to safely accommodate.

As suggested by the data in the Barometer Report, a safer port environment means fewer incidents, less downtime and ultimately, less avoidable expenditure. By utilising all the technologies and options available, it’s possible to maximise operational efficiencies without compromising safety. It’s important to consider creating bespoke and unique systems that complement existing capabilities in order to minimise spend, rather than replace whole systems.

REDUCING MAINTENANCE NEEDS THROUGH INNOVATION

By Scott Smith, Technical Director for Trelleborg Marine Systems

We’re always looking to develop new products, and indeed, find new innovations that will enhance our existing product line so we’re extremely pleased to have recently received patent pending status for our new marine fender load monitoring system.

One of the key findings from our Barometer Report highlighted the high levels of unscheduled downtime in ports and this system was developed in response to this market need to improve efficiency.

The load monitoring system can be used to measure the impact on fenders when a vessel berths, as well as the ongoing force applied as the vessel continues to bear against them. The data collected could prove to be invaluable in avoiding disputes and the costly downtime associated with insurance claims.

The system is such that it can be adapted to suit the needs of the environment it is located in and data can be processed, communicated and transmitted through either wire or wireless means: whichever is more suitable for the environment that particular application.

Additionally, the data collection device itself may be located either directly within the fender, on the jetty, or at a remote location, depending on the needs of the customer. If more than one fender is providing load sensing data, this can be transmitted to a central data collection and processing system. The system is also suitable for retrofitting into existing fenders.

When analysed, the data obtained has the potential to be used in a lot of ways: such as developing a deeper understanding of berthing dynamics, which in turn could assist with future fender and wharf design, and further, feed into the revision of safe and acceptable berthing operations and procedures.

Load data may be used to determine when maintenance is needed, or indeed, a replacement fender is required. In the event of an accident, or a fender failing, the data can even be used to provide information as to why – this is the kind of information that is valuable for assessing insurance claims, and ultimately reducing downtime and increasing efficiencies in ports.