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Category Archives: Uncategorized

TRELLEBORG FOCUSES ON OPTIMIZING PILOTING AND NAVIGATION IN US WORKSHOP

By Tommy Mikkelsen, Managing Director of Trelleborg’s marine systems operation in Denmark

Piloting requires the safest, most efficient and reliable technology. It demands exceptional performance, ease of operation and high position accuracy to facilitate optimum approach, berthing and departure. With that in mind, we hosted a technical seminar and workshop designed to help marine pilots keep up-to-date with Smart technology to ensure the efficiency and safety of navigation and piloting operations. The seminar and workshop was held 4 – 5 May at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Baltimore, U.S.

The event saw myself discuss Trelleborg SmartPort, a technology platform that connects disparate port operations, providing holistic, real-time oversight which allows users to analyse the performance of assets and identify areas for optimization.

In addition, the President of the American Pilot Association, Captain Jorge Viso, also had his say on the evolution of piloting technology. Representatives from both the Association of Maryland Pilots and San Francisco Bar Pilots (SFBP) were also on hand to discuss Trelleborg SafePilot which uses state-of-the-art software and smart technology to help pilots and ports optimize safety and efficiency in their day-to-day operations.

SafePilot offers the latest in navigation & piloting and port systems. Developed in conjunction with working marine pilots from across the world, SafePilot offers the most up-to-date user-friendly PPU (Portable Pilot Unit) software available. Using touch screen technology to make it easy to operate, this intuitive PPU software consists of separate modules to meet different maritime operational needs, from docking and river through to lock.

 

IT’S SHIPPING, BUT NOT AS YOU KNOW IT – HOW MAERSK AND ALIBABA ARE POSITIVELY DISRUPTING OUR INDUSTRY

By Richard Hepworth, President, Trelleborg’s marine systems operation

Could the announcement of a major collaboration between Maersk and Alibaba in just the first week of 2017 indicate this is going to be a year of seismic change for our industry? Let’s hope so. Shipping, like all other sectors of the global economy, is transforming. And it needs to change too.

Technology is recognized as one of the key enablers of this change and while it’s interesting to see that the first big deal of the year sees a traditional industry player team up with an e-commerce giant – surely an example of positive disruption at its best – it’s perhaps not unsurprising.

Over the last few years we’ve seen a number of alliances and collaborations, such as the emergence of the so-called Power Four, so the decision by a main shipping line to form a partnership to deploy online services seems to be the logical next step in the evolution of the ‘old’ shipping business model to a more logistics-centred approach. It’s also worth noting that while the first deal of this kind is based in Asia, where the speed of change and disruption is more rapid, it won’t be contained there. Further digitalization of the supply chain is inevitable and everything that can be automated will be automated.

Attitude is key. The traditionally conservative shipping sector needs to embrace technology and the positive change it can bring. Collaborations such as this one, may seem removed from our own day-to-day activities, but there are smaller, practical steps that can be taken now to take advantage of developments in smart technology.

Our own research shows how shipping lines value smart technologies that have a positive impact on the safe and efficient operations of ports and terminals. These so-called smart ports benefit from smart technology that connects products, collects data and provides insights to deliver real efficiency gains, such as lowering operating costs due to improved vessel throughput. It’s a first step but it’s a tangible one.

THE BATTLE FOR FENDER BEST PRACTICE

By Mishra Kumar, Technical Director for Marine Fenders at Trelleborg’s marine systems operation

Back in December, Richard posted a blog entitled ‘Smoke and Mirrors’, about the importance of understanding how materials perform and are processed in order to ensure you get what you pay for when it comes to specifying and procuring fenders.

We’ve discussed this issue a lot. We know there are players in the industry who are willing to lie and cheat tests in order to undercut reputable manufacturers. We have been working for years to stop it.

And now we’ve got some new developments to share.

A lot of our previous work has concentrated on rubber fenders: the importance of understanding how ingredients are selected, how they are manufactured and how they are tested. Although the industry is still far from perfect, largely, this work has been successful. There is a recognition of the need to specify quality and avoid making purchasing decisions based on price.

Now, we’ve moved our research on to foam fenders. Erroneously perceived to be a commodity product, they are an extremely versatile solution, often the most effective system for a number of applications.

The specification and production of foam fenders needs to be taken more seriously: they must be decommoditized and treated with the same level of importance as highly engineered, rubber fenders are beginning to be.

That’s why we are recommending a new testing method for foam, to ensure a best practice approach is taken. We’ve launched a brand new whitepaper and webinar detailing best practice design and manufacture for foam fenders, and highlighting exactly how they should be tested to guarantee performance. The new method and report are based on robust data from an in-depth research program we undertook earlier in the year.

But we’ve not stopped there. A key project for this year has been the development of an online Fender Selection Tool, which enables port consultants to determine the appropriate fender system for their project. We’ve almost completely digitized the fender selection process, while saving consultants huge amounts of time normally spent carrying out complex manual calculations.

The tool will help specifiers and suppliers take steps towards a more standardized engineering process, reducing subjectivity in the design process and shaping industry best practice and consistency.

The tool only requires the input of a few parameters and generates a document detailing every potential fender system suitable for the application and performance required.

These are just the latest steps we’ve taken in our mission to drive standards up across the industry. We will continue to work to raise awareness of the risks of inappropriate fender selection. It’s critical that specifiers understand the dangers. The consequences could be severe.

To explore the tool, visit: https://goo.gl/DTfcbM

SMOKE AND MIRRORS

Understanding how materials perform and are processed will help make sure you really are getting what you pay for, says Richard Hepworth of Trelleborg.

Ports need to have confidence that equipment will perform as expected to fully protect terminals and berthing vessels and keep the port running safely and efficiently.

Fenders are an essential part of this port infrastructure and as such their ability to perform reliably day-in, day-out is also essential. But not all fenders are made equal, and even those that appear to be made out of the same material, such as rubber, differ significantly in terms of performance. This is down to a number of factors and familiarisation with these could mean the difference between a good investment and a bad one.

How fenders are built and then chemically processed determines the product’s final properties which in turn determines fender performance (read more about building and curing in fender performance here). However, as the economy has become increasingly global, it has become more difficult to be fully confident in the performance and provenance of some products. There have been instances of falsified testing information which means that it isn’t always a case of what you see is what you get. Caveat emptor definitely applies.

The good news is that Trelleborg is working to highlight these issues and, as a supplier of high quality fenders, to raise global standards in testing and performance.  We are currently undertaking a large-scale study into the impact of chemical processes on rubber fender performance – more information to follow soon!

In the meantime, being aware of quality issues and questioning suppliers to improve specification will help ensure you’re getting the right fender for the job, and more importantly one that will perform over the long-term as expected. It’s about minimizing risk, protecting investment and improving performance.

Remember if you don’t ask, you don’t get. So get familiar with fender production, ask suppliers difficult questions and give yourself peace of mind.

TRELLEBORG SHOWCASES SMALL-SCALE LNG EXPERTISE AT INTERNATIONAL LNG CONGRESS

By Richard Hepworth, President of Trelleborg’s marine systems operation

Trelleborg showcased its Seatechnik™ Universal Safety Link (USL) at the 2nd International LNG Congress (28 – 29 November), an innovative product that takes the company’s expertise in large scale applications and applies it to an optimized product for the burgeoning small-scale LNG sector.

Small-scale LNG transfer, whether ship-to-shore or offshore ship-to-ship, is in its relative infancy in terms of the development of infrastructure to meet increasing supply and demand. However, as the market has developed over the past decade, so too has new thinking around innovative means to transfer LNG. The onus has been on finding solutions that strike the balance between new means to improve operability and maintaining the highest safety standards.

The safe control and operation of small scale LNG transfers and fuelling pose special challenges, and the drive for a Ship-Shore Link (SSL) of increased functionality in an assured compatibility package is secured with the USL.

Some of the key benefits of the system include automatic shutdown through an intrinsically safe Emergency Shutdown (ESD) backup system, assured inter-compatibility throughout the small-scale and fuelling supply chain, as well as in-built system test and diagnostics.

 

 

 

 

ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS

Richard Hepworth of Trelleborg’s marine systems operation considers whether the global shipping industry is keeping up with the technological pace of change.

No-one in the shipping industry denies that automation and Big Data will have a real impact on how we do business, our own research tells us so. But there’s a noticeable disconnect between understanding the significance and opportunities of these new technologies, and actually doing something about them.

According to Trelleborg’s upcoming Preparing for the Port of the Future Report, over 90% of ports, terminals and shippers accept the importance of Big Data, but when it comes to capturing and then interpreting different types of performance data this number drops significantly.

At a time when our industry is under pressure to reduce costs and be more efficient, embracing the opportunity to work smarter should be a priority. There are many different types of data available to port and terminal operators and shipping lines, all of which can deliver real efficiency gains. For example, electronically tracking and standardizing data on pilot performance and adherence to approach routes is monitored by less than a third of operators, yet this has significant impact on areas such as fuel efficiency, missing vessel slots and cost control.

We also know from our research that shipping lines are keen to have greater insights into the speed and angle of berthing but that currently only a fifth of ports offer this. This is just one example of many (see the full Report for more), but it shows that by putting in place smart technologies that enable more sophisticated data capture, there can be benefits for all parties, from improving customer relationships to understanding and avoiding berthing delays.

The old adage of don’t run before you can walk can be applied to Big Data. An easy first step to increase efficiency is to turn existing unstructured data into something useful. Audit, digitize and normalize existing metrics and formats to standardize data. This standardization makes analysis easier to produce informed decision-making that can refine processes, optimize efficiencies, improve safety, identify maintenance and improve customer relationships. And that’s just for starters.

It’s not a case of data becoming the new business currency, it already is. Smart technologies offer an immediate opportunity for port and terminal operators and shipping lines alike, together let’s take advantage of them now.

TRELLEBORG ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR PORT PERFORMANCE SEMINAR IN BRAZIL

By Richard Hepworth, President of Trelleborg’s marine operation

At a time of economic recovery across much of the Latin America market, now is the time for consultants to specify quality and intelligently steer port owners and operators away from cutting costs up front, enabling them to reap the benefits of investing in solutions that guarantee quality over a whole lifecycle.

With that in mind, I am delighted to announce that we will host an exclusive one-day seminar for port consultants on 11th November at the Windsor Excelsior Hotel in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Designed to provide consultants with everything they need to know about the latest developments in port and terminal infrastructure, the free to attend seminar will see the experts at Trelleborg discuss a range of key industry issues including PIANC marine fender best practice, Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) guidelines for docking and mooring systems, as well as rubber and foam marine fender and foam buoy design. In addition, Mishra Kumar will discuss the importance of ingredient selection, mixing and the manufacturing process in marine fenders.

For more information about the seminar, or if you’d like to register your attendance, contact Paulo Carmesini: TMS.Brazil@trelleborg.com

 

TRELLEBORG LAUNCHES ANNUAL BAROMETER REPORT

We are delighted to announce that we have launched our fifth annual Barometer Report, which calls on the views of 200 port owners, operators, consulting engineers and contractors.

This year’s report takes a look back over the last five years to see how attitudes to investment, maintenance and quality have changed over time.

In previous years, the Barometer Report has examined the issues helping and hindering port performance over a 12 month period. This year however, we decided to find out how attitudes to investment, maintenance and quality have changed over the last five years.

During this time, ports have had to batten down the hatches in the grips of the recession, and have largely made the most of the situation they were faced with. However, as this year’s report highlights, the mist is beginning to lift, with last year’s anticipated budget boost now materializing. So much so, the majority of port owners and operators have the opportunity to invest more strategically in smart technologies and supplier service in a bid to improve long-term product performance.

One cause for concern though, is that while levels of unscheduled downtime have decreased over time, unscheduled downtime caused by fender damage has increased significantly in the last 12 months. As such, port owners, operators, consultants and contractors need to ensure they are not replacing like-for-like out of habit – but investing in quality solutions that will perform well over a long design life.

As discussed within the latest Barometer Report, supplier expertise should guide procurement decisions, and technology should enable owners and operators to minimize maintenance requirements.

To download the Barometer Report 5, visit: http://ow.ly/TA6uR

APPLYING THE RIGHT CORRECTION FACTORS

Richard Hepworth, Managing Director, Trelleborg Marine Systems


Some of my colleagues will be attending the Port and Terminal Technology Conference in Virginia this week. The conference explores the latest developments, issues, trends and technology affecting ports and terminals around the globe, so it’s a great platform to meet with the wider industry and share ideas and best practice.

At the conference, my colleague Mishra Kumar will present a technical paper, “Applying the right correction factors” discussing the importance of applying the right Velocity Correction Factor (VCF) and Temperature Correction Factor (TCF) when specifying marine fenders.

Rubber type and compound formulation undoubtedly have a dramatic impact on the performance and lifecycle of fender systems. It’s essential that specifiers understand the difference that low quality compounds can have on performance – and the impact that rubber type and formulation have on VCF and TCF.

Last year, it’s safe to say we really put our money where our mouth is and delved in depth on the difference between high quality and low cost fenders. Having developed new analytical and chemical tests to determine fender composition, we found some dramatic differences between two fenders which were claimed to be designed to the same specification.

The paper Mishra will be presenting at the conference builds on that work and discusses the impact that these differing formulations have on VCF and TCF – which can’t be applied correctly unless the rubber compound and formulation are properly understood.

INTERPRETATION OF TEST RESULTS

Our rubber testing whitepaper “Fenders: why it’s not so black and white” highlights some interesting results from the comparison of the compositions of low cost and high quality fenders – results that clearly highlight dramatically different performance characteristics between the two.

The low cost fenders contained larger amounts of recycled rubber and filler, and were found to be heavier and denser than those that used virgin rubber.

Further chemical and physical analysis revealed some further important results, including:

  • Tensile strength and the value of elongation at break were found to be lower in the low cost fender than in the high quality fender, which was made with higher quantities of virgin rubber.

    Crucially, the low cost fender was not in compliance with the specification.

  • Rubber to filler ratio for the high quality fender was 1.23, for the low cost fender, just 0.88.
  • Overall, the low cost fender contained 28.45% less rubber than the high quality product, explaining the difference in the physical properties of the two and justifying the higher purchase price of the high quality fender.

It’s essential that decision makers are aware of the key performance differences and varying quality being sold as one and the same thing, when they procure fenders based on up front price alone.

These tests provide a reliable analytical method that can be made available to buyers so that they can assess the composition of recently procured fenders prior to delivery, simply by taking a small sample from the surface of the fender.

For more information, download the full rubber testing white paper here.