Trelleborg Marine Systems, part of Trelleborg Engineered Systems, has received patent pending for an innovative new DFM (design for maintenance) Fender System, which utilises removable sliding panels to significantly reduce the time taken to complete a fender wear pad change-out.
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, in berths with a very high or heavy usage, large ships or arduous weather conditions – or a combination of the three – these UHMWPE wear pads wear away due to abrasion with the ship’s hull.
Trelleborg have found an alternative to this system, in which 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.
Richard Hepworth, President of Trelleborg Marine Systems, said: “We are always working to develop new and innovative systems that will help ports to operate more efficiently. Thanks to our in house design and engineering expertise, and our manufacturing capability, we were able to design and test the new DFM system – and we’ve already successfully implemented this technology in three projects.”
One such project that utilised the DFM Fender System was a major terminal expansion in Australia, which involved the refurbishment of two berths. The terminal in question is one of the top five largest bulk handling ports in the world. Once refurbishment is complete, it will see the port’s capacity increase from 44 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) to approximately 55 mtpa by 2014.
The DFM fender system allows the sliding panels to be easily lifted out of the frontal frame and replacements reinserted within two hours – reducing downtime on the berth and keeping operations running in a timely fashion.
The original sliding panels would 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.
This system also reduces the safety risks associated with completing the pad replacement work from a workboat. The downtime experienced when using a maintenance scaffold system to complete the same task is very much reduced too.
Increasingly, Trelleborg have been providing turn-key solutions for fender systems and as such, tend to get more involved in the design of accessory products, such as fabricated steel maintenance platforms, that are complimentary to the core fender system.
Source: Trelleborg, July 25, 2012