The newly launched portable, Bollard Load Test system is a fully calibrated, easy to use solution to safely test the strength of marine mooring bollards.
Bollards come in many shapes, sizes, capacities and materials and throughout their life will suffer corrosion, fatigue and other effects leading to failure.
The forces exerted on a bollard are considerable, in excess of 20000kN, which can weaken the bollard and its fixings to the point that the bollard fails to withstand such forces. Should this happen, it can cause damage to dockside equipment and the quayside, as well as serious or fatal accidents. It is therefore prudent to test dockside bollards at regular intervals.
The BLT fully portable and easily deployable system (patent pending) replaces the traditional method of a tug pulling against the bollard, a method that has previously caused damage to vessels and can be dangerous to the people involved in the test.
The breakthrough technology uses a powerful hydraulic cylinder and custom designed dyneema to recreate conditions that are for example, equivalent to 120 metric tonnes of ‘pull’. The equipment is manufactured in a range of sizes to test the variety of safe working load sizes.
The system allows for standardised testing of bollards by replicating the various forces and movements which they may experience when used to moor a vessel. The strength of the bollard is measured using a pressure transducer fitted to the hydraulic cylinder to relay pressure back to a digital gauge in a remote location. The BLT can simulate spring lines at various angles up to 20 degrees thus giving a great deal of confidence in the bollard and surrounding structure.
FAQ’S AND COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT BLT
+ IS THIS NOT JUST TWO BOLLARDS PULLING AGAINST EACH OTHER?
Yes. What does a ship do?
The equipment cannot pull outwards away from the quay edge. The custom designed dyneema can be attached to a bollard in a way that creates a turning moment similar to some of the angles experienced from a ship. The dyneema can be elevated up to an angle of 20 degrees and further, but becomes not practical; albeit it could be custom designed.
+ CAN THE BLT SIMULATE ALL ANGLES OF PULL FROM A VESSEL?
No. The BLT pulls in both directions parallel to the quay. It also can pull at vertical angle of up to 20 degrees, thus readily simulating vessel spring lines, providing a great deal of confidence in both the mooring bollards and their surrounding structures.
+ ARE THERE ANY REACTION FORCES AROUND THE BOLLARD CAUSED BY THE BLT?
No. There are no reaction forces in the quay; it is a true test of a mooring line attached to a bollard.
+ WHAT HAPPENS IF A BOLLARD BREAKS DURING THE TEST OR DAMAGES THE SURROUNDING STRUCTURE?
Welcome it – far better to have a bollard failure during a test rather than in a real life situation resulting in multiple thousands of pounds worth of damage, or millions of pounds in law suits due to injury or death – which consequence would you prefer?
+ HOW IS THE LOAD APPLIED DURING A BOLLARD LOAD TEST?
By using a hydraulic cylinder, and gradually increasing pressure in 4 stages:
25 percent hold
50 percent hold
75 percent hold
100 percent hold
+ WHAT IS MEASURED OR RECORDED?
Hydraulic pressure converted into tonnes. Load, deflection of bollard and quay; deflection of bollard hold down bolts and other, such as surrounding structure.
+ WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM LOAD THAT YOU CAN APPLY?
Currently up to 120 tonne with plans underway for up to 200 tonne plus.
+ HOW IS A TEST DEEMED TO BE SUCCESSFUL?
When the bollard successfully holds a static load.
+ WHAT DETERMINES BOLLARD LOAD TEST FAILURE?
Catastrophic failure – the bollard is separated from the quay, surrounding structure cracks or fixing bolts snap Or if load indicator does not hold a steady load and is steadily dropping this would determine that there may be potential movement in the bollard and structure surrounding it.
+ TO WHAT STANDARD ARE THESE CALCULATIONS TO BE PERFORMED
DNV recommend 20 percent over safe working load, however in reality this is up to a clients discretion e.g why overstress an old bollard quay structure.
+ WHAT WARRANTY OR OTHER STANDARD IS OFFERED IN REGARD TO TEST THE PROCEDURE?
The Bollard is certified for that load for that day. There cannot be a guarantee of how that bollard will be used in future. A test certificate is validated for a minimum of 12 months as OEM working method.
+ WHAT SIZE IS THE RIG AND HOW MUCH WEIGHT?
A basic unit is approx 1.1 tonne 1.6 mtr long (retracted) 1 mtr wide 600 high. There are variations depending on size of rig required.
+ WHAT IS THE DELIVERY TIME?
2 to 3 months.
+ WHAT ARE THE VARIATIONS OF BLT EQUIPMENT AVAILABLE?
Testing up to 120 tonnes. Testing up to 200 tonnes – machine under development. A collar type BLT purely to test fixings and bollards in any direction; although does not test quay structure is currently in design and being tested at present.
+ HOW MANY BOLLARD LOAD TESTS CAN BE CARRIED OUT PER DAY?
Once equipment is set up 15 – 18.
+ HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO CARRY OUT A BOLLARD LOAD TEST?
Approx 30 minutes for standard test.
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