Straightpoint Load Cells Test Mooring Equipment at Huge Port Project

Straightpoint force measurement technology has been used to test mooring equipment at Pier IV of the monumental Ponta da Madeira Maritime Terminal (TMPM), in Maranhão, Brazil. The port is part of the S11D mining project that has been designed to accommodate Valemax ships, a fleet of large ore carriers that carry up to 400,000 metric tons and are 362m long by 65m wide.

Vigo, Spain-based Ibercisa Deck Machinery was contracted by the S11D project, located in São Luís on Brazil’s northern coastline, to install 26 identical 100t capacity mooring winches and 50 150t capacity fairleads, for the new pier that will be the point of departure for vessels from the Carajás mine, bound for Asia, Oceania and Europe.

Ibercisa utilised 52 custom loadpins (two for each winch) with 4-20mA analogue outputs for PLC integration, designed for use in applications where an end of line load cell cannot be used and an integrated solution is required; and a 150t capacity Radiolink plus, commonly applied in marine, offshore, oil and gas applications.

All winches were calibrated at the factory and again at the port, while the Radiolink plus was utilised to calibrate the loadpins when mounted onto the winches and then to test the machines. The fairleads are essentially rings that guide ropes, keeping them clear of obstructions and preventing them from cutting or chafing.

Manuel Ricardo Romero Vega, project manager at Ibercisa, said: “Because of the strong tidal currents and lack of a breakwater, the pier has land-based cables that help to moor ships to the berths. Given the importance therefore of the winches and fairleads, TMPM represents a landmark project for Ibercisa.”

David Ayling, director at Straightpoint, said: “This project will be memorable for a number of reasons. The first point of contact was at a trade show where we were exhibiting with our distributor, Rigmarine. It was rewarding to enter dialogue with Ibercisa face-to-face and explore force measurement solutions for their challenging scope of work at TMPM.”

He added: “Delivery of the loadpins and Radiolink plus marked completion of our first order from them and we hope it represents the start of a long-term relationship. We relished the challenge of custom manufacturing 52 loadpins, which are essentially round shearpin load cells enabling load measurement in mechanical joints, to the specifications of the winches Ibercisa was to install at the port.”

Vega said: “Straightpoint manufactured an excellent custom solution and, following initial discussions, we were confident they would suit our requirements for this demanding project. The loadpins and dynamometer [Radiolink plus] performed under pressure and the manufacturer was able to deliver the custom units to site to a short lead time.”

The expansion of TMPM is the final stage of the logistics phase of the S11D project and incorporates both onshore and offshore expansion. The centrepiece of the offshore development is Pier IV, also called the northern berth, equipped with a ship loader that replicates the southern berth’s existing design.

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