An innovative stair fender for stationary dredging equipment

Koninklijke Boskalis Westminster NV is a leading expert in the fields of dredging operations and maritime service provision. Boskalis delivers innovative and competitive comprehensive solutions to its customers, operating in the offshore industry, ports and coastal and delta areas globally.

The Boskalis head office is located in Papendrecht, but the company also operates several offices around the world and is active in 90 countries across six continents.

The rubber collaboration

Large vessels are often equipped with rubber fenders to protect the ship when berthing or when lying alongside another vessel at sea. The fenders can also be used by the crew to access or leave the vessel while at sea. Such operations can be risky, so Boskalis and RIS Rubber have together devised a solution: the stair fender.

Large and small stair fenders

Both a large and a small stair fender have been developed. The stair fender is equipped with metal plates to mount it on the vessel. An intelligent construction ensures that the fenders are easy to exchange when maintenance is required. Rubber is vulcanised onto the mounting plates, to which an HMPE slide plate is fitted. The rubber absorbs the forces that are exerted under strain and the slide plate ensures minimal friction to reduce wear and tear. The stair fenders are designed to be fitted as a ladder on the side of the ship, enabling the crew to access or leave the vessel safely. The fenders feature an anti-slip profile for extra safety, a development that dovetails nicely with the Boskalis NINA safety programme: No Injuries, No Accidents.

Since RIS operates its own advanced testing facilities, these stair fenders have been subjected to rigorous tests for indentation and shearing. The impact of lateral force was analysed as part of the indentation tests, whereby extra attention was given to the deformation of the rubber.

The future

RIS Rubber has developed and produced an excellent solution within a short time frame, devised within the company and using its own testing facilities. The stair fenders have already been installed on a number of Boskalis backhoe dredgers and on other Boskalis equipment where possible. These stair fenders represent a valuable contribution to safety at sea, something which is also an important focus for Boskalis. RIS Rubber is therefore very proud that it has been able to deploy its expertise to achieve this.
Stairfender small met HMPE glijplaat