Trelleborg Marine Systems has received a patent for its slide in, slide out ‘SISO’ marine fender system, which is now in operation in Dampier, Western Australia, in addition to a number of other sites across the region.
The system has been designed to make fender maintenance more straightforward and less time consuming, by utilising removable sliding panels: significantly reducing the time taken to complete a fender wear pad change-out.
Richard Hepworth, President of Marine Operation at Trelleborg, said: “Innovation at Trelleborg is always centred on the needs of our customers. For the marine systems operation, this means looking for ways to help ports operate more efficiently. Thanks to in-house design and testing capabilities, we were able to develop the new system, which will reduce customers’ maintenance time, reduce downtime and save money over the long term.”
For a typical fender frame system, ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) wear pads, which act as the contact faces for the vessel in berthing, are fixed directly to a fixed frontal frame via a bolt fastening arrangement.
Over time, due to factors such as high or heavy usage, large ships coming in to berth, arduous weather conditions – or a combination of the three – these UHMWPE wear pads wear away because of abrasion with the ship’s hull.
In Trelleborg’s SISO system, the UHMWPE wear pads are bolted onto two stainless steel removable panels. These panels are then inserted into a guide rail on the front face of the fixed frontal frame.
The original panels can then be transported onshore for maintenance and have their UHMWPE wear pads replaced, ready to be used as spares for the next fender wear pad change-out operation.
The system is now in use at a site in Dampier, Western Australia. In this case, upon arrival, each fender module was hoisted into the correct orientation and simply bolted onto the supporting dolphin headstock structure.
For LNG and other gas terminals that Trelleborg has supplied with the SISO system, the product has been further developed and refined to prevent metal to metal contact, thus reducing the possibility of spark ignition onsite.