Dutch invention prevents towline failure on tugboats

by Hans | May 30th, 2012

The Rotterdam based shipping company Rotortug and ASD Ship Design from Alblasserdam have invented a revolutionary tugboat technology (‘tugnology’) to prevent towline failures from chafing against a tugboats fixed towing point. The invention of Mr. Ton Kooren (Rotortug) and Mr. Arie Aalbers (ASD Ship Design), the so called azimuth friction free towing point, is presented today at the 22nd International Tug, Salvage and OSV (ITS) convention in Barcelona, Spain.

Conventional towing point designs are usually fixed bitts fitted with polished and stainless steel cladding in line contact areas guiding a towline to a towing winch. Using state of the art towing winches, towlines are winched in and out automatically by using a pre‐set line force to prevent both dynamic overloads and slack wires. Synthetic towlines can easily fail due to chafing and friction with increased risks for safety.

Rotoring@Kotug_ASD Design

Fast in‐ and outgoing movements of a towline with these winches cause high temperatures in especially the inner core of synthetic towlines. This is an even bigger issue at high outdoor temperatures. The fiction and the high result temperature cause much wear and, at the end, failure of a towline connection.

Rotortug and ASD Ship Design in co‐operation with the company Ridderinkhof in Hasselt have developed a rotating wheel construction to guide the towline without friction. ‘’Our azimuth friction free towing point will be of great influence to towing methods,’’ according to Mr. Ton Kooren of Rotortug. ‘’Especially when synthetic towlines are used our invention holds many advantages.’’ The patent on this invention is currently pending.

Synthetic towlines are gradually replacing steel wire towlines. They are generally seven times lighter compared to equivalent steel wire towlines. In fact synthetic towlines are so light (and thus easy to handle) they float in water. A downside to synthetic towlines is their sensitivity to chafing and maximum safe working temperatures.

Rotoring@Kotug_ASD Design

Together with the Rotterdam based maritime service provider Kotug International and the Rotterdam pilot organization Rotortug has developed new methods to assist sea going ships. One of these methods is the so called ‘rotoring’, a method through tugs of the Rotortug type can assist objects to be towed and moored in confined spaces. The azimuth friction free towing point enables ‘rotoring’ in heavy seas.

Rotortug bv develops, builds and sales tugs. The Rotterdam based company is known for its revolutionary tug concept Rotortug, featuring three azimuth thrusters which provide a greater maneuverability and better specific towing characteristics compared to conventional tugboat designs.

ASD Ship Design bv, based in Ablasserdam (the Netherlands), develops and designs new types of ships for ship owners. In recent years ASD Ship Design was involved in the design of over 30 new types of ships.

Ridderinkhof bv, based in Hasselt (the Netherlands), develops and produces winches and winch systems for maritime and civil applications. Recently Ridderinkhof has developed the so called Wave Winch for sea and port tugs, a high dynamic winch that secures a tight towing rope even in difficult circumstances. Ridderinkhof is awarded the exclusive production rights for the azimuth friction free towing point for the first years.

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2 Responses to “Dutch invention prevents towline failure on tugboats”

  1. Willem Prins says:

    An excellent invention for increased safety of the tug/tow connection and an improvement for costcutting expense on towrope wear and tear.
    The Wave winch will also drastically reduce shock loads on the tow line.
    Howeve the steep angle up to the ship is still a concern.
    Well done and congratulations.
    Kind regards,
    Willem Prins.
    Fremantle, Australia.

  2. Het is fantastisch hoe de sleepboten zijn verbeterd
    en technisch zijn verbeterd.
    als ik terug kijk,ben ik jaloers op de huidige generatie
    machinisten.mijn tijd was van 1947 tot 1990
    veel succes

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