A Dredge is Like a Racing Car

Backhoe dredges dredging offshore - Dredging production rates performance guarantees

Clients in need of dredging work often request dredging equipment performance guarantees and some of these clients rely on these guarantees to set their budgets and schedules. Unfortunately, however, dredging equipment suppliers lack the necessary experience and knowledge to accurately estimate production rates or to determine the optimal work methodology to achieve maximal production rates on a particular project.

Recently a colleague came up with a good analogy for these types of requests.  He said: a dredge is like a racing car! When one buys a racing car, one expects it to have a certain power output and accelerate to 100 km/hr by a predefined period of time. But the car supplier cannot guarantee the buyer a certain lap time on a specific race track, since lap times are dependent on, among other things, the driver’s ability, track and weather conditions. This makes sense, right?

Now imagine that the racing car is a dredge. When one buys a dredge, can one expect a certain production rate for a particular project? This, in actual fact, is like expecting a certain lap time on a specific race track. Production rates are dependent on, among other things, the dredge operator’s skill, soil and weather conditions. One can expect a dredge to meet detailed predefined technical specifications, such as engine torque and revolutions, but one cannot expect to receive a guarantee on production rates for a specific project.

Actually, many factors can limit a dredge’s production.  Successfully commissioning a dredge requires attention to many details, as the devil is in the technical detail!

Over the last three years, in2Dredging has come across several projects with disappointing production rates, which were due to inaccurate production estimates or the use of suboptimal work methodologies.  Funnily enough, in many of these cases, accurate production estimates could have been attained in advance for these new build projects for a fraction of the new build price, thus saving these clients some major headaches. The same can be said for establishing optimal work methodologies.

Therefore, since expecting dredging equipment performance guarantees is unrealistic, before commissioning a dredge, ask a dredging expert to establish a specific dredge’s production rates for your particular project and assist you in establishing what would be the optimal work methodology for your dredging program.