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A system for monitoring the load on marine fenders in quays and harbours can both measure the impact of a vessel berthing and the ongoing force applied as it continues to bear against them whilst docked.
Data from the Trelleborg systems can 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, information can be used to provide information as to why, providing valuable data for insurance claims.
Not only this, it can also help develop a deeper understanding of berthing dynamics, which in turn may assist with future fender and wharf design and feed into the revision of safe and acceptable berthing operations and procedures.
Trelleborg Marine System’s technical director Scott Smith said, “The data collected by this system could prove to be invaluable to ports and harbours all over the world in avoiding disputes and the costly downtime associated with insurance claims.” He added that a key advantage of the system is that it can be adapted to suit the needs of the environment it is located in.
Data can be processed, communicated and transmitted either by wire or wirelessly. Additionally, the data collection device itself may be located either directly within the fender, on the structure, or at a remote location. 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 able to be retrofitted into existing fenders.
Once the central system receives and processes the data, it can either automatically transmit real time data or store it on a dedicated memory with periodic transmissions made to the central system.
This central system can also be configured to receive other relevant data which may affect the load sensor data, such as environmental or visibility information. There are a number of existing products that can be used to compliment the marine fender load monitoring system and gather this additional data, such as the SmartDock Laser system and the SmartDock GPS system.
Testing of the system was conducted using a sample SCN800 cone fender element. A hydraulic ram press was used to subject the cone fender element and mounting assembly to forces of up to 80 tonnes. The test demonstrated that the data derived from the load cell measurements very closely matched the data from the actual ram pressure.
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