Meeting the challenges of equipment engineering for cutter suction dredgers

The complexity of equipment engineering varies greatly across vessel classes, depending on their design and function.


According to C-Job, the company that works on a wide range of vessel types, among the most complex and challenging vessels that their equipment engineering team have worked on recently are cutter suction dredgers (CSDs).

What makes CSDs stand out in their complexity is the specialist machinery that enables them to undertake their very specific purpose; the tough and intensive work of dredging.

“Equipment engineering for CSDs requires a fusion of skills,” explains Marco Lambalk, Lead Engineer Mechanical. “Firstly, it involves a thorough knowledge of both structural and mechanical engineering. Dredging involves substantial loads and many moving, often rotating, parts at a range of scales.”

To integrate these variables requires in-depth knowledge of materials of all types, not least because the tolerances can be very fine and minimizing friction can be vital. Incorrect alignments bring with them a high risk of failure and so different types of calculations are needed to ensure that the alignments are at the necessary level of precision.

Another important consideration is that even a small change in the specification of one item of equipment can result in alterations being required in other systems as the demands on them change.

With CSDs, everything is interconnected and, for the engineers, understanding the relationships between the components is vital for a successful project.

Perhaps the best illustration of this attitude and work can be found in the company’s two latest projects:

The General MacArthur – owned by Callan Marine, is one of the largest and most powerful cutter suction dredge in the United States dredging fleet, with 24,000 installed horsepower. C-Job was brought into the project by SPI / Mobile Pulley Works when it was already underway, designing the cutter ladder including the cutter drive, the spud carrier system, gantry, anchor boom system, cutter service platform, discharge pipe, and the dredge pump drive skid on vibration mounts.

The Lorraine Hooks – work is now underway in the USA on a new, 27-inch CSD for US dredging company Mike Hooks, to be named Lorraine Hooks. C-Job is responsible for the design of the entire vessel including the majority of dredge equipment on behalf of SPI / Mobile Pulley Works. In its role as the systems integrator, C-Job is also specifying equipment and components where required alongside vendors selected by Mike Hooks, SPI/Mobile Pulley Works, and Southwest Shipyard. CSD Lorraine Hooks is scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2022.