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Tag Archives: marine fenders


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

Trelleborg’s marine systems operation has launched a new whitepaper highlighting the impact of the manufacturing process on the performance, safety, and longevity of pneumatic fenders.

Titled ‘Pneumatic Fenders: Manufacturing Methods Matter’, the whitepaper explores the difference in fenders manufactured using the airbag manufacturing method without employing a mold, and fenders manufactured conventionally using a mold, to highlight the impact of the manufacturing process on fender quality.

Pneumatic fenders are extensively used for ship-to-ship transfers mid sea, double banking operations, and as vessel-to-berth at dock/jetties. Therefore it is vital that they are not only of high quality, but are extremely reliable, to guarantee effective performance in even the harshest environmental conditions.

Each and every pneumatic fender must comply with the ISO 17357-1:2014 standard to ensure they follow the correct manufacturing process. The major concern for the industry is that there is an influx of manufacturers employing airbag production methods resulting in fenders that don’t usually comply with all of the recommended manufacturing process guidelines or compound properties as specified under the ISO 17357-1:2014 standard.

By using the conventional method, whereby the entire fender is built inside a mold and vulcanized with it in an autoclave, a clear positive impact is seen on the appearance, dimensional stability and the bonding between layers, leading to a more reliable and long lasting fender.

To read the whitepaper, visit:



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

I’m very pleased to announce Trelleborg is the platinum sponsor of PIANC Australia’s Technical Workshop on Fenders on June 15, 2017. My colleague, Mishra Kumar, our Global Technical Director will also present at the event, on the topic of ‘Ensuring Fender Performance through Physical and Material Testing Specification’.

We’ve long supported the work of PIANC and our contribution to the forthcoming technical seminar is just the latest in a long history of collaborative work. We look forward to joining peers from other leading companies at the event, to share our latest ideas and best practice.

We will also be hosting two of our own technical seminars in Australia, in Perth on the 12th June, and one in Brisbane on the 14th June. These seminars will see Trelleborg experts discuss rubber fender design, technology and testing, pneumatic fender design and application, as well as foam fender design and application.

We’re also the Platinum Sponsor of PIANC’s Annual General Assembly (AGA) in Cairns, Australia, which takes place from 17 – 20 June.

To register for either of the Trelleborg seminars, please visit:

For further details on PIANC Australia’s Technical Workshop on fenders, go to:




Trelleborg’s marine systems operation was invited to speak at the leading event in the international rubber calendar, RubberCon 2015, in early March, which was held at Hotel ITC Grand Chola in Chennai, India.

Organized by the Indian Rubber Institute (IRI), Rubbercon is the official bi-annual conference from the International Rubber Conference Organization (IRCO). With the theme ‘Shaping the Future through Innovative Technology’, Rubbercon 2015 brought together over 600 attendees to discuss the latest trends and developments in the rubber and allied industries.

At the seminar, Trelleborg technical expert, Mishra Kumar, discussed how a superior rubber formulation – one which uses natural rubber and reinforcing fillers – can be degraded if it is subjected to an inferior mixing process, ultimately producing a low performance compound and a low performance fender.

In addition, Mishra also discussed mixing and compound modulus as an effective and robust measure of fender performance.

You can learn more about the topics covered in our recent “Assuring fender Performance” webinar.


Last month, representatives from both Trelleborg’s marine systems and engineered products operations visited colleagues at Trelleborg’s wheel systems operation, along with a rubber plantation and processing plant in Malwana, Sri Lanka.

The visit to the Wheel Systems operation’s facility provided visitors with the chance to learn about the processes involved in the manufacture of its tires and complete wheels. This also provided the opportunity for representatives of the three business units to share best practice and discuss the commercial and technical challenges facing each of the industries in which they operate.

The visit to the rubber plantation and processing plant provided attendees with the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of natural rubber, the building block of the rubber compounds used in many of Trelleborg’s engineered polymer solutions, including our high performance rubber marine fenders.

Attendees were able to see the extraction of natural rubber, which involves the ‘tapping’ of the Hevea Brasiliensis tree, first-hand. They were also educated on the subsequent processing, grading and quality control of properties within natural rubber.

The trip also saw attendees visit the Rubber Research Institute of Sri Lanka, the oldest rubber research institute in the world, responsible for the research and development of all aspects of rubber cultivation and processing. This provided visitors with an overview of research currently being conducted across the industry, in a bid to increase rubber production yield, improve tapping technique and fight the many kinds of disease rubber trees are susceptible to.

I’ll leave you with some words from our President, Richard Hepworth, about the significance of the trip.

“With a limited understanding of rubber quality and its impact on fender performance across the marine industry, we’ve spent considerable time and resource highlighting its importance.

“With that in mind, the visit was a great opportunity to not only get together with colleagues from Trelleborg Wheel Systems and Trelleborg Engineered Systems Qingdao, but get to grips with the very first step in how natural rubber goes from rainforest to protecting critical marine environments across the globe. A huge thank you to those that attended, our colleagues at Trelleborg Wheel Systems for their hospitality and to Sanjay Melvani and Melissa Asmone for organizing.”


We call ourselves the Performance People because we ensure the right support is in place for our customers from conceptual design to after sales care. With that in mind, we’ve put significant time and effort into redesigning the Trelleborg marine systems operation’s website, to create an easy to navigate web experience for our visitors.

Remaining true to the principles of customer service and product innovation that founded Trelleborg’s marine systems operation over 30 years ago, the new website (which you can view here) provides everything you need to know about each of our six product areas; Marine Fenders, Oil & Gas Transfer, Ship Performance, Docking & Mooring, Surface Buoyancy and Service and Support. Ensuring our resources can be explored more quickly and easily than ever before.

Visitors can access our offering by visiting either the ‘Products, Solutions & Services’ section of the website, if they already know which product they’re looking for. Alternatively, they can search by the  ‘Markets & Applications’ section to see where we could help in their area of interest. The website also has a dedicated ‘Resources’ section, which has everything from product brochures and project requirements forms, through to whitepapers and on-demand webinars.

The new website has been purposefully designed with an emphasis on high quality visuals and graphics showcasing our true capabilities in maintaining and enhancing port and vessel performance. In addition, the new website boasts responsive design technology, which automatically adapts to any viewing device to deliver an optimal, interactive experience wherever you are in the world.

To explore the new website, visit and let us know what you think!


1. Evaluate supplier solutions based on whole life costs

You need to ensure you’re getting the best value over the full lifecycle of your products.  Buy cheap, buy twice, as they say.

2. Put emphasis on engineering capability

Evaluate the track record of your supplier closely. With ports and terminals becoming increasingly complex to accommodate the demands of modern vessels, it’s essential your supplier can demonstrate engineering experience and expertise that aligns with the needs of your project.

3. Consult shortlisted suppliers early in the project development

The earlier you consult suppliers, the more tailored your solution can be. Consult your suppliers at the conceptual design stage to ensure you get the bespoke package that really fits your requirements and guarantees optimum performance.

4. Insist on dealing with technical engineers as well as sales / bus dev personnel

If you don’t feel completely assured of your supplier’s technical expertise, determine their credentials by asking to deal with technical engineers. Your point of contact in the sales or business development team should be able to facilitate a discussion or find you the answers you need.

5. Inspect the suppliers facilities in person

If your supplier can’t give you access to their manufacturing facilities, alarm bells should be ringing.  Furthermore, you’re entitled to witness the testing procedures your products undergo. Get the reassurance you need to ensure you’re getting what you pay for.

6. Ask to witness testing

Your supplier should be able to offer you the opportunity to witness materials or full scale testing: ask for it.  Don’t let your supplier get off easy by just handing you the paperwork.

7. Explore suppliers’ track record

A robust track record should give you some confidence, but make sure your supplier has experience in your application.  A full track record should come as standard: expect it.

8. Demand samples and check certification of materials and processes

When specifying fenders, ask for a sample of the rubber compound that will be used in your project. Three key factors – velocity factor, temperature factor and longevity are affected by rubber grade and compound formulation. The properties of fenders vary dramatically depending on their composition, as such; rubber compound composition should be built into specifications in order to guarantee performance and lifecycle.

9. Get the training you and your people need

Your relationship with your supplier shouldn’t end at installation.  Demand maintenance and operational training to ensure you optimise performance in the field.

10. Ask about aftersales service

Full after sales support should be considered as part of your supplier’s offer. Not only should they be able to supply product training, spare parts and servicing should be available to you on demand, no matter where you are in the world.



Mission critical equipment such as fender systems need to be bespoke, fit for purpose and considered, from the design stage, on the merits of the specific project.

Designing a fender system requires engineers to determine the berthing energy of a vessel, or range of vessels, that are likely to be docked against the system, then determine the necessary capacity of the fender system to absorb that energy.  Finally, engineers need to find ways to avoid creating too much force both when a ship comes to berth and whilst it continues to bear against the system, to avoid damage to both the port infrastructure and the vessel.

Commercially, high quality fendering systems can add value to port operations by minimising maintenance requirements and reducing the risk of incidents. Custom made, high quality fenders also offer a longer service life and, reduced maintenance requirements ensure fewer “lost” days for ports and subsequently, minimise lost revenue.

In addition to these commercial concerns, and most importantly, fenders provide the first line of defence for ports and play a key role in protecting the safety of port personnel, vessel crew, cargo and infrastructure.

We’ve frequently discussed the worrying trend within the industry of specifiers procuring this mission critical equipment on the basis of upfront cost and subsequently, only short term cost savings – without taking into account the fact that over the fenders lifecycle, costs will be higher.

Some suppliers have been able to take advantage of this trend by supplying lower cost, but lower quality fenders.  These fenders have been found to contain a higher percentage of recycled rubber, as opposed to virgin rubber, and replace carbon black filler with non-reinforcing white filler.

We decided to put our money where our mouth is on this issue and conduct some independent testing, comparing the physical and chemical properties of a high quality and low cost fender.

Our rubber testing whitepaper discusses this trend in more depth and reveals the results of this testing.  Download it for free here.