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Home > DredgingEquipment > Pipeline Trenching 2011/01/26

Arthropod 600 - Pipe Trencher

The Arthropod 600 is capable of trenching pipelines with a diameter between 0.3 m and 1.25 m at a maximum burial depth of 3,50 m (bottom of trench). The standard design is suitable for water depths between 4 and 350 meters. Optionally this range can be extended for shallower or deeper water.

The trencher is operated under remote control from an air-conditioned control cabin. The initial requirement for the machine is for it to be capable of handling hard soils at least up to 400 kPa. However, the cutters in practice allow operation in much harder soils, at reduced speed. Apart from the cutters the trencher is also equipped with an extra tool, which allows removal of soft soils and sand.

An umbilical winch supplied with the system allows the storage of 400 m umbilical. Two hydraulically driven tracks drive the trencher at a maximum speed of 400 m /hr (traveling speed) or 60 m/hr (nominal operating speed)

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GES - Grab Excavation System

Deeprock CV, a joint venture of two dredging contractors, has recently taken delivery of the Grab Excavation System (GES) shown in these pictures. The system is capable of accurate dredging at up to 1000 meters water depth.

The 75 tons grab consists of a hydraulically operated clamshell with a ROV on top. The ROV was built by Seatools and contains all subsea equipment necessary for positioning and operating the grab. Two hydraulic power packs of 200 kW each provide power for the thrusters and the clamshell open / close functions. An atmospheric Electronics Pod contains, among other items, a solid state gyro compass and a dedicated control computer. Communication for control tasks, survey and video data is effected via a multiplexed fibre optic link. The steel armoured umbilical contains six of these multi mode fibres plus eight shielded twisted pairs and thirteen power conductors that supply 3 kV to the power packs.

The grab is operated hanging off two hoist wires, one routed via the forward end of the vessel, the other via the aft end. Positioning the grab is effected by a combination of control over the forward and aft winches and thrusters operation. The system is largely automated: the operator selects the target position for the next dig operation in Northing and Easting and the control system automatically places the grab at the desired coordinates. The accuracy of this operation around 20 cm is no small accomplishments considering this is all carried out at sea and take into account the size of the grab.

Since such a system had never been built anywhere in the world, several unknown factors had to be investigated as part of the design process. For example, knowledge about dynamic behaviour of such a grab in water was hardly available so model tests were carried out to determine this. Using the results of these tests a simulator was built that demonstrated the complete control system in house at the Seatools factory before the grab ever touched ground. Without such elaborate preparations this project could never have been brought to a successful end.
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