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These FAQs provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about DSC Dredge. If you don’t find an answer to your question here, feel free to contact us.

General FAQs

What is a Shark Class Dredge?

The Shark Class Conventional Dredge combines a conventional dredge-operating configuration with modular design for ease of transportation. The Shark is often used by sand and gravel producers and contractors. Standard discharge sizes range from 10 inches through 24 inches. For more information, please consult DSC’s Shark page.

Where can I find replacement parts?

DSC’s Parts Express is available 24/7, to quickly ship dredge parts for both replacement and regular maintenance. Visit the Parts Express page for more information.

At what digging depth should I consider a ladder pump?

A submerged pump, in a nutshell, raises production due to increased suction inlet pressure even at shallow depths and low production rates. Economic issues usually dictate the decision of whether to purchase a ladder pump or not. Without adding an elaborate jet system in the pump suction, which is very inefficient and costly at or near sea level, if you plan to dig deeper than 45 feet and need to average more than 300 tons per hour of production, it is more cost effective to use a ladder pump or a combination ladder pump and hull-mounted pump. At DSC, any of our sales staff, with the help of one of our four licensed professional engineers, will gladly do a project analysis to help you choose the most cost-effective dredge to satisfy your production needs.

Why are DSC's dredges PLC-controlled instead of being equipped with manual controls?

The PLC allows the dredge to interface with the processing plant and boosters, and also allows different automation schemes to be employed. The PLC has revolutionized the hydraulic control system. It has allowed the hydraulic oil, valves and hose to stay in the hydraulic room or engine room, so they no longer reside in the control room or lever room. For more information about automation and controls, please see our Automation page.

Why does the Marlin dredge employ the torque tube instead of the line shaft with cutlass bearings?

Torque tubes require less horsepower because they use antifriction bearings, as opposed to the cutlass bearings, which are basically rubber sleeve-type bearings or “friction bearings.” Cutlass bearings must be flushed with clean water, which not only requires horsepower to drive the water pump, but also may be impossible to obtain in some dredging environments.

Why does DSC use square flotation tanks instead of round tanks?

Square tanks are more stable for a given size than round tanks. Square tanks are also more user-friendly because a simple addition of handrails creates a safe work platform. Special grating schemes must be devised on round tanks to allow the addition of a personnel walkway on the top of the tank. Because square tanks are more expensive to manufacture, however, they are not often used.

What does the term "critical line velocity" mean?

This is the lowest possible velocity at which the dredged material will stay in suspension and move through the pipeline in a heterogeneous mixture. Below this velocity, the material begins to separate and fall out in the pipeline. The critical line velocity changes with dredging conditions and the type of material being pumped. If the operator continues to pump below this point, the pipeline will plug with material and the dredge will stop working.

What is a Wolverine Class Dredge?

The Wolverine Class Conventional Dredge is 68 feet in length and is offered in a 10-inch discharge configuration. The Wolverine can dig down to 25 feet below the surface and allows for a maximum particle clearance of 6 inches. This tough, portable dredge is perfect for the light contractor and is fully functional by one person. For more information, please consult DSC’s Wolverine page.

What is a Badger Class Dredge?

The Badger Class Conventional Dredge is offered in an 8-inch configuration. With a maximum digging depth of 20 feet, this 54-foot-long dredge is ideal for smaller dredging jobs where more compact equipment is required due to work area limitations. For more information, please consult DSC’s Badger page.

Who is DSC Dredge, LLC?

DSC is a world leader in Customized Dredging Solutions that provides customers with new dredges, dredge parts and supplies. With the ability to build quality standard dredges, and specializing in custom-designed dredges, DSC has developed a dominant role in the dredge manufacturing industry. DSC today is proud of its reputation as a “World Leader in Portable Dredges.”

Why choose DSC?

DSC Dredge has decades of experience in custom dredge design and manufacturing – specializing in portable cutter suction, combination, environmental, maintenance, articulating ladder, sand and gravel, and various other mining dredges, including underwater pump dredges. With a legacy of design excellence, DSC can build a dredge that matches your exact needs.

What is a Moray Class Dredge?

The Moray Class Swinging Ladder Dredge is a swinging ladder dredge that is also equipped with an underwater dredge pump. The Moray dredge has proven itself to be highly productive and transportable. For more information, please consult DSC’s Moray page.

What is a Barracuda Class Dredge?

The Barracuda Class Swinging Ladder Dredge is a hull pump swinging ladder dredge with standard discharge sizes ranging from 10 inches through 16 inches. Barracuda dredges have been most commonly used in waterway maintenance and lake revitalization projects. For more information, please consult DSC’s Barracuda page.

What is a Marlin Class Dredge?

The Marlin Class Mining Dredge is designed to meet the needs of deep mining deposits as an efficient tool to excavate materials. The Marlin can dredge depths exceeding 100 feet. This deep digging depth is made possible by the use of an underwater pump system with a high-torque cutter drive assembly. For more information, please consult DSC’s Marlin page.

When does a dredge pump require more horsepower? On a short line or on a long line?

Required horsepower is dependent on pressure and flow rate. At a given flow rate, more horsepower is required on the long line than a short line. This is because a higher pressure is required to pump a longer pipeline at a given flow. At a given pump speed, more horsepower is required on a short line than a long line. This is because the lower friction on the short line induces a higher flow rate.

When we purchase a dredge from DSC, will we receive operator training from you?

DSC provides dredge operator training on each dredge when it is delivered and commissioned. Additionally, customers will receive classroom training, as well as dredge simulator training. Please check out our Field Services and Why Choose DSC Dredge? pages for additional details.

What type of jobs do you have open at DSC Dredges?

Please visit Careers to see a complete list of our current openings.

Do you work on the water?

DSC positions include engineering, manufacturing, sales, service and administrative-type work. All DSC positions are located within one of our three land-based facilities in Reserve, LA; Poplarville, MS; and Greenbush, MI.

DSC Vision FAQs

What is DSC Vision?

DSC Vision is a highly innovative, user-friendly bottom visualization system that allows dredge operators and managers to “stop dredging in the dark.” The DSC Vision system integrates geographical dredge cutterhead position and heading, multibeam sonar imaging and mapping, dredge navigation and instrumentation, remote connectivity and monitoring, and a user graphical display and software interface that correctly depicts the current dredge location, depth of the cutterhead, and topography of the bottom.

Is there any other company with a DSC Vision style system, i.e. real-time visualization software?

No. DSC Dredge’s DSC Vision is the only system that combines the best of the best technology such as PDS and CARIS real-time visualization software creating a paradigm shift from the previously long time frames associated with taking survey-grade work to real-time visualization.

Is DSC Vision only compatible with DSC Dredges or can it be retrofitted to fit any existing dredge?

DSC Vision can be added to any existing DSC Dredge or retrofitted to fit any other hydraulic dredge. The existing dredge may already contain technology and systems, like Dredge Rx, that will reduce the purchase cost.

Does DSC VISION work well on clam shell dredges?

The technology employed in DSC Vision works well with any type of cable or fixed boom mounted bucket; however, at this time, DSC has elected to make DSC Vision available only on hydraulic dredges.

Does DSC Vision come preloaded on all newly built DSC Dredge dredges?

All new automated dredges contain Dredge Rx with one year of service included. All automated dredges are “DSC Vision ready” if the option to purchase is made.

Does the DSC Vision package include Dredge Rx?

Yes, all DSC Vision packages will include Dredge Rx which allows remote connectivity to not only see the dredge control system but also see the navigational system.

How technical is DSC Vision? Will an operator need prior training to operate DSC Vision?

Usually within 24hrs of installation an operator is comfortable to operate the program.

Can DSC Vision be used to document materials removed, particularly, situations of moving waters, for example a river?

Yes, DSC Vision allows the operator/contractor to track materials and adjust their dredging style based on what they are seeing in real time which allows for no material to be left behind thus increasing productivity. The DSC Vision system allows the operator to constantly see forward and behind the dredge at all times.

Does the system automatically adjust for day-to-day pit level changes, and maintain the maps generated on previous days?

With any of the RTK or RTX corrections purchased, the daily water levels are automatically corrected and mapped at the correction precision (typically 2 OR 7 centimeters of accuracy).

How well does the underwater imaging work while dredging? Does suspended sediment in the water column degrade the quality of the image?

A major goal of DSC Vision is to be usable while dredging. DSC, along with Teledyne, performed extensive tests with both the sonar location and sonar filters to produce crisp, accurate images and bathymetry even during the dredging process.

How rugged are DSC Vision sensors?

DSC Vision sensors were developed for very rugged dredging and ocean environments. While the sensors are placed in a location where damage is unlikely DSC does have hot swaps available, if there ever is a problem, to lessen down time.

If I have any issues with the system, who should the customer contact?

DSC Dredge is the customer’s first and final stop, they will not be shuffled from one person to another.

Who do International customers contact for installation of DSC Vision?

Installation of DSC Vision will be handled by DSC personnel in their country but all product support will be handled by DSC Dredge USA.

What is the warranty on DSC Vision?

DSC Vision has a 12 month warranty, following installation.

Does DSC provide service after the warranty has ended? Do you have service reps all over the country?

Our DSC Product Support group services DSC dredges, and others, throughout North America and the world. We do not have designated representatives in each state but do have servicing agreements with individual companies and people. Many of the service issues can be performed via Dredge Rx remotely.

Technical FAQs

What is the difference between GNSS vs GPS and how it relates to DSC Vision?

GNSS stands for Global Navigation Satellite System, and is an umbrella term that encompasses all global satellite positioning systems. This includes constellations of satellites orbiting over the earth’s surface and continuously-transmitting signals that enable users to determine their position.

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is one component of the Global Navigation Satellite System. Specifically, it refers to the NAVSTAR Global Positioning System, a constellation of satellites developed by the United States Department of Defence (DoD). Originally, the Global Positioning System was developed for military use, but was later made accessible to civilians as well. GPS is now the most widely used GNSS in the world, and provides continuous positioning and timing information globally, under any weather conditions.

GNSS is used in collaboration with GPS systems to provide precise location positioning anywhere on earth. GNSS and GPS work together, but the main difference between GPS and GNSS is that GNSS-compatible equipment can use navigational satellites from other networks beyond the GPS system, and more satellites means increased receiver accuracy and reliability. All GNSS receivers are compatible with GPS, but GPS receivers are not necessarily compatible with GNSS.

What about data security of the system?

Each DSC Vision system is equipped with cellular connectivity. Devices located on the dredge are only administratively accessible through a cloud-based VPN accessed using a software client installed on support staff computers. Vision technical data is synced between equipment on the dredge and DSC servers. This solely occurs through an open VPN connection between the dredge and the secure DSC network. The data is used by DSC support staff in order to help troubleshoot issues, receive advanced alerts, and also provide production data to the customer.

How does the DSC Vision system integrate with the Hypack controls?

DSC Vision is an independent system from other cutter mapping systems, like Hypack. DSC Vision can possibly use some of these sensors, but the control and imaging would replace that of the existing system. The DSC Vision bathymetry can easily be converted into another system’s data format for manipulation.

What kind of computer system is required to do the real-time processing? For example, is a high end graphics card and processor required? Will a maintenance key or software license (hard key) be required?

A ruggedized computer is part of the DSC Vision package. Depending on space available in the dredge, this can be a ruggedized notebook or an industrial brick computer. Testing to date has been mostly with computers that do not have separate graphic cards and use the built in GPUs. The system can run on as few as two cores, but four or more is recommended. There is a hardware dongle to license the software, and that will require a small annual fee. This fee will also include Dredge Rx connectivity charges and the selected GNSS correction subscription as well.

Can the system provide an as-built DTM of the dredged lake?

DSC Vision can certainly provide a digital terrain map of any areas dredged within the lake. Depending on the sonar selected, the varying ranges outside the dredging area are additionally mapped. The dredge can be towed throughout the lake, or the equipment can be relocated on a small boat or remotely-operated vehicle to quickly map the entire lake without moving the dredge throughout.

What is the precision of the system in elevation and what is the best possible machine precision with the most precise cutterhead available?

There are several components that control the precision of DSC Vision. The level of corrections on the GNSS equipment is one of the most influential. The base GNSS system does not provide a precise cutter head or sonar location. There are two different levels of RTK and one RTX correction that can bring horizontal and vertical precisions into the 2 to 3 centimeter range. Additionally, an RTK base state provides even more precise accuracy. On the sonar side, the imaging multibeam sonar return is “evaluated” to produce bathymetric data. Available is a true 256 or 512 precision multibeam option that is as accurate as sonar technology permits.

What do the different soils look like on the bottom?

Currently, the different bottom types are not distinguished on the mapping sonar display. In the real-time sonar scatter return, the density of the point cloud can, with little practice, be used to see varying materials on the bottom. Initially a visual validation is required either at the plant, by survey, or sample.

How is the accuracy compared to a multibeam survey?

Since the DSC Vision system is using a multibeam sonar, the results should be as good or better, since the dredge is continually passing over the same area where a survey boat makes far fewer direct passes. The imaging sonar’s return will not be as accurate as the true bathymetric sonar.

Can a grid be uploaded with the deposit bottom to see a comparison between the sonar and the loaded grid in real time?

The DSC Vision is capable of displaying pre, during, and post-survey data. This data can be uploaded and downloaded remotely via Dredge Rx.

Can the product work in a high-slime or high-sediment environment, particularity slimes in suspension?

There is a good likelihood that we can detect the bottom successfully even in water with high turbidity and slime.

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