Innovation to reduce downtime



Richard Hepworth, managing director, Trelleborg Marine Systems, Singapore, Malaysia


Industry survey, the Barometer Report 2 from Trelleborg Marine Systems, has revealed that eight out of ten ports suffer from unscheduled downtime and, of these ports, almost half are down for approximately 10 percent of the time.

The findings reflect a similar position to that of the previous year, when the report was introduced. The fact that the industry is not getting to grips with these surprisingly high levels of downtime is a concern. Unscheduled downtime is costly, not only in terms of reduced throughput and revenue, but also in terms of managing relationships with shipping lines. There is a need within the market to develop innovative solutions to combat this issue of unscheduled downtime in ports.

Fender load monitoring

Trelleborg are always working to develop new and innovative systems that will help ports to operate more efficiently and are pleased to have recently received patent pending status on a system for monitoring the load on marine fenders, which can be used to measure both the impact on fenders when a vessel berths, and the ongoing force applied as the vessel continues to bear against them whilst docked.

The data collected by this system could prove to be invaluable to ports and harbors all over the world in terms of avoiding disputes and the costly downtime associated with insurance claims. One key advantage of the system is that it can be adapted to suit the needs of the environment it is located in – the market needs bespoke solutions to improve efficiencies and minimize downtime. Trelleborg have designed the system to be flexible and to align with the needs of the port: data can be processed, communicated and transmitted through either wire (for example, copper wire or optical fiber) or through wireless means, whichever is more suitable for the environment that the device is to be located in.

Additionally, the data collection device itself may be located either directly within the fender, on the structure (jetty), or at a remote location, depending on the needs of the customer. 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 apt to be retrofitted into existing fenders.

Once the central system receives and processes the data, it is configured to automatically transmit real time data. Alternatively, data can be stored on a dedicated memory, and 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, for example, 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.

When analyzed, the data obtained has the potential to be used in a number of ways, such as developing a deeper understanding of berthing dynamics, which in turn could assist with future fender and wharf design, and further, feed into the revision of safe and acceptable berthing operations and procedures.


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