Technology Penetration: New dredging equipment and components to increase efficiency

New dredging equipment and components to increase efficiency

Increasing focus on dredging in the country has resulted in the rapid growth of the dredging equipment market. At present, the equipment needs of the dredging market are met largely by foreign suppliers. These players have set up subsidiaries in India to meet the specific requirements of the domestic dredging industry. Some of these players have also set up workshops and service centres for providing technical assistance and after-sale services as well as for meeting the demand for components.

New and innovative dredging equipment

Netherlands-based Royal IHC is a leading supplier of dredging equipment in the country. Over the years, IHC has undertaken several research and development activities to improve the operational efficiency of dredgers and dredging components. New innovative components have been introduced for its IHC Beagle® trailing suction hopper dredger (TSHD) series. The new trailspeed controller and eco pump controller designs have reduced loading time by 14 per cent and fuel consumption by 18 per cent. Ergonomically designed TSHDs and cutter suction dredgers (CSDs) have been introduced for greater comfort of the dredge master. The innovative “jetpump special” has been designed to offer lower radial loads, and a robust and wear-resistant design. Wing-shaped bow thruster tunnels have been designed to improve the hydrodynamic pressure around tunnel openings and reduce the negative effects of the flows when a vessel has a slow forward speed. Other innovations include the development of two-phase computational fluid dynamics modelling for sand-water mixtures, a clay drag head, a plumigator for turbidity reduction and a non-radioactive slurry density measurement tool for inland CSD dredgers.

Other manufacturers are also developing new dredgers and components to increase their market share. China-based Qingzhou Julong manufactures a wide range of small- and medium-sized water environmental protection equipment and dredging equipment. These dredgers can be utilised for a variety of dredging activities such as sand dredging, river cleaning, sea dredging and beach nourishment. The CSDs manufactured by the company are not only easy to assemble but also offer a long running time and higher productivity. The production capacity of the CSDs manufactured range between 300 cubic metres (cum) per hour and 7,000 cum per hour. The CSDs are capable of dredging up to a depth of 25 metres. The key water area cleaning vessels manufactured by the company include aquatic weed harvesters and weed cutting ships. The company has also set up after-sales service centres at select locations for providing customised services such as equipment assembly, training of personnel and provision of customised components.

Meanwhile, to improve the productivity of dredgers, US-based Exxon Mobil Corporation has developed a new product, Mobilgard M440, which has a number of unique features such as unmatched lube-fuel compatibility, deposit control and overall engine cleanliness. The product has also received approvals from a number of major equipment builders including Finland-based Wärtsilä, US-based Caterpillar, Inc., UK-based Rolls-Royce and Japan-based Yanmar. Another product, Mobil DTE 10 Excel, a next-generation hydraulic oil, has been introduced. Among the benefits of Mobil DTE 10 Excel are low aquatic toxicity, reduced environmental impact and higher efficiency. The use of Mobil DTE 10 Excel 68 for running dredgers at Mundra port has increased the oil drain interval from 1,000 hours to 14,000 hours and has resulted in cost savings of $10,320 per annum. ExxonMobil has also introduced a new service – Mobil ServSM – to provide a wide range of technical solutions to its customers: tools, analysis, insight and consultancy.

Further, US-based Anvil Attachments is manufacturing a number of environment friendly grabs, grapples and clamshell buckets for bulk material handling. The hydraulic clamshells manufactured by the company offer a wide variety of features including bolt-on-edges, seal lips, underwater rotation, dust covers, dewatering baffles, stainless steel liners (for sticky materials), extension tubes and a round nose. These features also offer higher efficiency levels.

In conclusion, continued emphasis on deepening and widening draughts at ports and government initiatives for development of inland waterways will expand the market size for dredging equipment in the next five to six years. This in turn will significantly increase demand for spare parts and supporting equipment.

Based on presentations by Jon Craft, President, Anvil Attachments; Mohit Mahajan, Territory Manager, Exxon Mobil; Alex Song, Country Manager, Environment Technology Company; and Bob Rijnders, Royal IHC, at a recent India Infrastructure conference