Lankhorst making the right connection
Maritime rope supplier Lankhorst Ropes has introduced a new towline connection aimed at providing tug owners with a quicker and safer method of connecting the various components that make up a towline.
A typical towline consists of a number of components including, apart from the main towing medium itself, a forerunner and possibly a stretcher. An obvious requirement is the connection between the components, usually involving a cow hitch, shackle or similar hardware which Lankhorst state can be laborious and time consuming to make up and comes with the risk of a break in the costly main line and forerunner from overloading.
Lankhorst’s solution, called the Lankonect is claimed to be a new approach to towline assembly by removing the need for a cow hitch knot or hardware with the added advantage of allowing the tug operator to set a calculated breaking force for the towline. Lankhorst also states the connection presents minimal chance of damage to other components such as towing bits and winch on the tug itself and of course the various towline fastening hardware on the vessel being towed and other components of the towing assembly. By allowing a variable calculated breaking force to be set for the tow line, the connection can be either the strongest or a calculated weak link in the towline.
Explaining to MJ how the Lankonect, which incorporates a ‘monkey’s fist’ style knot is joined, Jacco van Snippenberg from Lankhorst Ropes said: “The ‘soft shackle’ indeed has a special in-house developed knot on one side, and a variable self-locking eye on the other end. Put the special knot through the eye, apply tension, and the connection is secured. Extensive field testing shows no problem with getting loose during the job.”
Two high-profile tug operators speak positively on the new product, Jan Busscher, group procurement manager, Smit Lamnalco stating: “In the short time that we have been using the Lankonect, the benefits are clearly visible to us. The ease of use and thus indirectly the safety for the crew is striking."
Meanwhile, Andries Looijen, superintendent Multraship comments on the economical element of the connection stating: “With this solution, we simply earn money. In the past, we connected the main line and the forerunner with a lashing. To replace one of these ropes we had to cut the lashing. With the Lankonect this is not necessary anymore.”
With a history dating back to 1803, Lankhorst Ropes produce a range of products for the general maritime, offshore and heavy lifting sectors. It offers more than the hardware however including: developing mooring plans, through-life support, testing and training. Its range includes a variety of ropes aimed at the towing industry suited to integrate with the Lankonect connection.
By Peter Barker
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