An Evolution In The Designs Of Small-Scale Cutter Suction Dredges; Economical Benefits Of Modern Equipment
Over the past 10+ years, many new products have entered the market that also apply to the dredge manufacturing processes. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM's) are spending more money and time into Research & Development to explore increased efficiencies, longer life and more affordable components. As these new components find themselves available for sale in the marketplace, they offer benefits to end users in many industries. The dredge manufacturing industry is a market that can utilize the new components in their product designs when beneficial use and economics allow for these enhancements. This paper will address the trends in the dredging industry and the efficiencies offered from new product offerings particularly in the hydraulics, electrical, controls and automation fields. Electronics and powerful HMI’s are not only becoming increasingly popular, but are quickly becoming the norm for even the smallest of dredges. Monitoring equipment is in an evolutionary stage where new products and upgrades seem to be offered overnight. Advances in coating systems, bio-friendly lubricants, GPS systems, data recording devices, communication systems, automation and operating systems will also be addressed in both their new offerings and their increased efficiencies to the overall dredging machine. Other major OEM suppliers, such as Caterpillar, are now offering increased available power in the same or smaller equipment packages that were seen 5-10 years ago. These advances help the dredge manufacturers allow for additional options and increased performance simply based on other OEM upgrades. New winch designs, noise abatement devices, design software and electrical power systems have also recently entered the marketplace – allowing dredge manufactures to use these products to advance the industry.