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Tag Archives: fender


The results of our latest Barometer Report show that the majority (65%) of port owners, operators and contractors request and check PIANC certification to ensure that marine fenders are sold as described.

Although it’s reassuring to see that the majority of respondents do request certification, it’s important that owners and operators understand exactly what to look for. PIANC is undoubtedly an important standard bearer for quality and performance, but it doesn’t have the legal mandate to enforce standards across the industry.

At present, it’s too easy to gain PIANC certification, with some of the more unscrupulous traders using this to their advantage by applying certification to entire product lines or factories, rather than to specific product batches and compound formulations.

In comparison to last year’s report, which revealed that just under 80% of respondents were struggling to get to grips with unscheduled downtime, this year’s Barometer reveals that, alarmingly, over 90% are now suffering, which suggests to me that the emphasis placed on checking certification in theory, is not necessarily translating to best practice.

It’s therefore imperative that equipment specifiers, for mission critical equipment such as fenders, begin to take necessary steps to ensure that the products they are buying are truly “as described”.

I’d like to get your thoughts on the matter. How much importance do you put by third party certification and design approvals when procuring mission critical equipment? Let us know in the comments section.

The full results of Trelleborg’s latest Barometer Report, which details a wide range of findings from the industry survey, is available now as a free download from:


Richard Hepworth, President, Trelleborg Marine Systems

Having earlier in the year been awarded the contracts to supply docking and mooring equipment and monitoring software to all three liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects on Queensland’s Curtis Island, Australia; we are proud to announce that we at Trelleborg have now been chosen to supply the Queensland Curtis LNG, Gladstone LNG and Australia Pacific LNG projects with industry leading SCN Super Cone and ANP Arch Fender Systems.

Our solution was selected after we worked closely with contractor John Holland Group, thanks to our comprehensive range of solutions and ability to support regulatory guidelines and hazardous area standards.

Queensland Curtis LNG is the world’s first project to turn coal seam gas into LNG. It is currently one of Australia’s largest capital infrastructure projects and will see an investment of over $20billion from 2010 to 2014, when it will provide cleaner hydrocarbon energy for export.

We are delighted to have been awarded the three contracts on Curtis Island and are looking forward to again working closely with John Holland Group to execute these demanding projects.

The award of these contracts is testament to our unrivalled industry expertise and reputation as a world leader in the design and manufacture of advanced, high-performance solutions. The award of the Queensland Curtis Island projects also highlights our commitment to the fast moving LNG market and provides an ideal opportunity to showcase our full portfolio of industry leading solutions.


As discussed in my last blog, there’s a trend across the industry of procuring mission critical fenders on the basis of upfront outlay – rather than the cost over the fender’s entire lifecycle.

Industry body, PIANC, set out the leading design guidelines for fender systems in 2002, but I remain concerned that these aren’t working in practice.  PIANC have neither the authority nor mandate to enforce these regulations, and this is allowing some of the more unscrupulous suppliers to use higher percentages of recycled rubber, to supply fenders at a cheaper upfront cost – without transparency around the composition of the fender.

PIANC’s guidelines state that robust material testing is a necessity, but laboratory and full scale testing is not routinely performed by all suppliers as part of their quality assurance process.  This is a serious concern, as specifiers need assurance that both sets of testing have been conducted on mission critical equipment.

We’ve developed new analytical tests to help stakeholders across the industry determine the quality and performance characteristics of the fenders they procure, so that buyers can understand and substantiate the makeup of their fenders and subsequently, the performance characteristics they can expect.

We conducted a series of physical and chemical tests on one high quality and a low cost fender – to really understand how much performance between the two differs.  To learn more about the tests and see the results, download the rubber testing whitepaper here.


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.


We recently worked with ABG Shipyard Ltd in Gujarat, India, to develop a bespoke fendering solution which needed to overcome the high tidal variation, underwater current and high wind velocity that they face at their shipyard.

The work we did with ABG Shipyard is a great example of how much added value a bespoke solution, considered on the merits of the specific development, can bring to a project.  When we talk about the benefits of bespoke solutions, it’s often in terms of safety and reducing maintenance – and therefore enabling whole life cost savings. In this case, overcoming the various hurdles brought about in the project, and sticking to a tight timeframe saved ABG Shipyard about €2 million of cost for their project.

The solution required for ABG Shipyard meant that a lot of operational hurdles needed to be overcome, in addition to the demanding environmental considerations, the system was required to meet the conflicting demands of an economical jetty design, whilst being able to accommodate high impact loads.

The solution we came to ultimately used two piles connected with a fabricated frame to improve the load carrying capacity of the jetty. Parallel motion fenders were then installed on the centre of these beams to further reduce impact on the structure, eliminating conventional fenders but providing the most cost effective and easily installed solution, with a quick turnaround time.

The beam structure was designed at our Design Centre of Excellence in India, which also carried out stress analysis of the proposed system.  The complete proposal, including stress analysis, was reviewed and approved by ABG Shipyard and their structural consultant, engineers, as well as being validated by British Maritime (BMT), who acted as independent third party design review.

We worked closely with ABG’s civil consultant and technical team and combined our design and manufacturing capabilities with their knowledge of the specific environmental conditions they work with every day.  Thanks to this sharing of expertise, we were able to develop an effective solution that perfectly met the needs of the project.

I’ll leave you with a few words from D.N. Mathur, Senior Vice President of Projects at ABG Shipyard Ltd. I think Mr Mathur’s words summarise how much value a tailor made solution can add, and the need for suppliers to be involved at the design stage, to maximise operational efficiencies, and reduce costs.

“Trelleborg worked with our civil consultant and technical team to develop a custom-built solution, without overrunning on tight project timelines. Overcoming the operational hurdles posed by the rough environmental conditions at the jetty within this timeframe meant a saving of approximately €2 million to ABG.”


We place such an emphasis on the benefits of in-house design, engineering, and manufacturing capability because it’s so important to constantly look for ways to develop new and innovative systems that respond to port needs and enhance operational efficiency.

So, we are extremely pleased to announce that our innovative new DFM (design for maintenance) Fender System, which utilises removable sliding panels to significantly reduce the time taken to complete a fender wear pad change-out, has received patent pending status.

The system allows the sliding panels to be easily lifted out of the frontal frame and replacements reinserted within two hours – reducing downtime on the berth and keeping operations running in a timely fashion.

The original sliding panels can then be transported onshore for maintenance and have their UHMWPE wear pads replaced, ready to be used as spares for the next fender wear pad change-out operation.

The system also reduces the safety risks associated with completing the pad replacement work from a workboat.  The downtime experienced when using a maintenance scaffold system to complete the same task is very much reduced too.

We’ve already successfully implemented the new system in three projects to date. One of which involved the refurbishment of two berths as part of a major terminal expansion at one of the world’s top five largest bulk handling ports in Australia.


By Richard Hepworth, Managing Director, Trelleborg Marine Systems.

The end of June saw our sales meeting for Asia, which took place in Cebu in the Philippines.  A lot of information and best practice was shared, and we even managed to squeeze in a few rounds of golf!

With the APAC region being such a fast growing and diverse market, it’s a key target for us and we’re working to extend our service offering throughout the region and add value to the strong product offering we already have, we’re already doing this, for example, through the recent expansion our fender rental service to the APAC region.

The sales meeting was a great opportunity to get everyone together. With a global company like Trelleborg, it’s important to ensure that practical, on-the-ground regional presence is available for our customers and it’s brilliant to see that the sales team truly understand and can fully support the specific needs of their region, and the specific needs of each country within it.

Although we discussed a number of key trends emerging in Asia; it’s amazing how much the market changes from country to country, even within one region.  For example, compare the high documentation requirements in Australia to the market education that is required in China around quality control and whole life cost considerations.

Another of the hot topics on the agenda included the use of foam fenders in the region – they’re already very successful in Japan, where their used by the coast guard and there’s a moderate demand in China and Korea, but they’re almost non-existent in other Asian markets.

Again, this brings to mind the market education that could be brought to the region, to inform procurement decision makers that there may be more suitable solutions for their projects that they’re missing out on by making habitual decisions.

With our commitment to service, as well as products, we’re aiming to educate the market on all the options that are available – to ensure that marine environments avoid sticking with the status quo – it may not be the most effective solution.

In closing, thanks to all that attended the sales meeting and made it so successful – I look forward to seeing you at the next one!



By Richard Hepworth, Managing Director, Trelleborg Marine Systems.

It’s safe to say there are exciting times ahead for us here at Trelleborg after the phenomenal news that we secured the $24.5 million (€19.5million) contract to supply the largest marine fender solution project in history for a state-of-the-art new port project (NPP) in Qatar.

Which, valued at $7.1billion (€5.8billion), is currently the world’s largest Greenfield port-development project.

After working closely on the deal for over five years, we are delighted to have the opportunity to apply our unique solutions to bring efficiencies to such a prestigious, large scale project. It goes without saying that securing the biggest ever order for fender solutions in both quantity and value is a massive coup and proves once again that we are an industry leader. Each and every individual whose hard work contributed to the contracts fruition deserves significant congratulations.

Being awarded such large scale contract wins and breaking records in the process, Trelleborg are raising the bar and setting the standard for this type of project, which needed in-depth engineering and application know-how to provide full service solutions. I fully expect these types of contract to become more prevalent in the coming years due to the increase in vessel sizes and traffic coming through major ports, and we’re delighted to have proved we can deal with the additional demands they bring.

I would personally like to extend my congratulations to Paul Welling and his team, whose efforts have been nothing short of exceptional and have proved instrumental in the award of what is a monumental contract win. I know I won’t be alone in saying; I thoroughly look forward to seeing what the future holds for Trelleborg.


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.