Richard Hepworth, Managing Director, Trelleborg Marine Systems
Some of my colleagues will be attending the Prevention First Conference in Long Beach, California at the end of the month. The conference discusses a number of issues that are important to us and the wider industry, so it’s a great platform to exhibit our products and solutions, and to meet with the wider industry and share ideas and best practice.
At the conference, we’ll also be discussing some new tests that we’ve recently developed. These analytical and physical tests help buyers to determine the quality of rubber through chemical composition analysis.
We took samples from two commercial sized fenders (ours and a low cost suppliers) and sent them to an independent third party laboratory, where they were tested using our newly developed methods.
The results revealed that low cost fenders are made of low grade recycled rubber and have inferior mechanical properties. There was a significant difference in performance between the two fenders during compression tests.
Our research indicated that rubber composition has a profound effect on the durability and performance of the fenders. Moreover, the velocity and temperature factors are significantly affected by the composition of the rubber compound. Velocity and temperature factors are key when setting out to accurately calculate the performance of a fender.
Determining accurate performance of marine fenders means maximum protection of the port infrastructure and the vessels that come to berth there.
Our research results showed that rubber fenders that are produced mostly from synthetic rubber have far higher velocity and temperature correction factors when compared with natural rubber based fenders. Our findings also indicated that higher percentages of recycled rubber in the rubber formulation lead to a substantial overall reduction to the life cycle and the performance of fenders.
Cheap fenders offer an upfront cost saving at the expense of both performance and longevity. As is often the case, you get what you pay for, and what appears to be “lower cost” probably is, due to the fact that it is made of low cost materials. One should consider the impact this has to overall operating costs, including more frequent fender replacement, higher maintenance costs and down time.
To give it its full name, the “Prevention First: An Onshore and Offshore Pollution Prevention Symposium & Technology Exhibition” will take place on the 23rd and 24th October 2012.
The exhibition will host over 400 representatives from a range of backgrounds within the public sector and private industry, if you’re one of them, be sure to stop by booth 30 to find out more about our test methods and our findings.