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Friday, January 31, 2020 

Dutch company RH Marine has developed and tested a special dynamic positioning (DP) system for plough boats that equalize the seabed after dredging.

The new DP system for plough boats has attracted two orders from the Netherlands and one from China. RH Marine supplies PCs, PLCs and software that control the thrusters of the ship in DP mode. Plough boats often need to slow down or stop during their work, for example if the plough gets stuck. Otherwise, there is a risk that the ship will fall off course.

In the RH Marine system, the ship’s DP system communicates with the plough system and the survey system that examines the seabed. It adjusts the speed of the ship according to the forces exerted on the plough. For example, if the plough gets stuck, the ship will remain stationary.

“This system goes beyond what most systems do. It does more than just respond to the force applied. We have looked at all stages of the operation, what the ship does, what the plough does, and have implemented this in our DP product,” said consultant Ehab El Amam.

The Dutch maritime system integrator and automation specialist has developed new DP systems for the offshore industry. For example, RH Marine was involved in a study and simulation for the installation of monopiles for offshore wind turbines by DP ships. The large foundation piles are placed by jack-up vessels, which attach themselves to the bottom with spud poles, or by vessels that can be secured with anchors. Both ways are cost and time consuming. In the case of DP ships, there is a danger that the ship will move too much during installation and the monopile is diagonally positioned or - in the worst case scenario - damages the ship. The study in which RH Marine participated showed that this can be prevented by coupling the ship’s DP system to the grip system that controls the position of the monopile. “If we can use dynamically positioned ships for the construction of wind farms, we can build them a lot faster,” said El Amam.

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