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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.