Linkspan Lifts Red Funnel's Fortunes

The addition of another full length car deck on Red Funnels ro-ro ferries necessitated a dual level linkspan arrangement which was implemented by Bosch Rexroth. The addition of another full length car deck on Red Funnels ro-ro ferries necessitated a dual level linkspan arrangement which was implemented by Bosch Rexroth.
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A significant growth in traffic has led Red Funnel , the original Isle of Wight ferry operator, to extend and refurbish two of its three 2,900 ton Raptor class vessels, Red Osprey and Red Falcon , stretching each boat and adding another full length car deck to provide capacity for an extra 80 vehicles. The provision of the extra deck necessitated an additional ro-ro linkspan level at both Southampton and East Cowes as well as the refurbishment of existing hydraulics lifting equipment.

The Bosch Rexroth drive and control company supplied, installed and commissioned hydraulic lifting cylinders, variable displacement power units and associated control systems for the new high level linkspan bridges. The client, Red Funnel Group, commissioned the work through main contractors Dean & Dyball Construction as part of a £10 million investment.

Rexroth, whose UK hydraulics and civil engineering team specialises in the installation and upgrade of ro-ro linkspan and walkway facilities, completed the work on schedule with minimum disruption to ferry sailings.

The scope of supply included three new 160 mm bore by 5.5m stroke hydraulic cylinders for the Southampton end, including a spare, two new 280mm by 5.1m stroke units for East Cowes, the refurbishment and refit of three existing cylinders, two hydraulic power packs featuring tandem fixed displacement pumps, and associated control systems complete with automatic linkspan levelling facilities.

Red Osprey sailed to Gdansk in Poland in September 2003 for stretch and refurbishment work.

The extensive conversion, since applied to Red Falcon , involved the removal of the complete passenger lounge, promenade area and wheelhouse, separation of the hull and insertion of a new mid-body section, and the building of a full length car deck. The third vessel, RedEagle , will be stretched next year.

The extra car deck clearly required revised ro-ro vehicle handling facilities so Red Funnel commissioned Dean & Dyball's Ringwood office to build new high level linkspans at both terminals, including access ramps, hydraulic lifting equipment and infrastructure.

Rexroth was then chosen to install the hydraulic systems, which at both ports needed to accommodate the extra loads imposed and the considerable vertical movement of the linkspan ramps as dictated by the high Solent tides.

MJ Information No: 20328

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