Living near a body of water has always appealed to many, yet some of these areas may require maintenance operations – such as dredging – to keep up with the ever-changing environment.
To achieve this, an amphibious excavator or some other suitable dredging equipment is used to remove the underwater soil and sediment to clean the area near the shore and move the dredged material closer to the shoreline to form and strengthen the yard around the structure.
An important goal of managing dredged material is to ensure that the material is used or disposed of in an environmentally sound manner. Much of the several hundred million cubic meters of sediment dredged each year from worldwide ports, harbors and waterways is disposed of in open water, confined disposal facilities and upland disposal facilities.
Most of this dredged material could be used in a beneficial manner instead, such as for nourishment of beaches with clean sand or development of wetland habitats.
A couple of days ago, we took an opportunity to talk about sustainable dredging solutions in today’s world with Mr. Pavel Syrtsov, Business Development Manager at Remu Oy, a Finnish manufacturer of dredging equipment.
DT: As an introduction to some of our readers who are not familiar with your company, what can you tell us about your business, the beginnings and where is Remu Oy today?
Mr. Pavel Syrtsov: Remu was established in 1997 in Ähtäri, Finland, as a developer and a manufacturer of innovative earthmoving products. Screening devices and screening buckets were the main product line.
It took a decade of product development and bringing it to international markets before Remu became globally recognized brand.
The company was rapidly growing, giving up on all subcontracting and focusing on development of own products and increasing export. In 2004, first Big Float amphibious excavator was manufactured. Unique floating excavator saw ever growing demand.
Over years, Big Float undergone several major design revisions until it became what it is today: highly versatile, precise, mobile dredging equipment, designed to allow for carrying out works in some of the most environmentally fragile environments.
Today, with over 4000m2 of modern production facilities, Remu is well recognized globally for its innovation and quality in both amphibious excavators and screening technology.
DT: Overall, 2020 and 2021 were challenging around the globe in many ways, how did your company sail through that period?
Mr. Pavel Syrtsov: It was, of course, challenging period for Remu as well. Suddenly, we were not able to be in front of our customers, invite for product demonstrations or visit the job sites. Our sales team is multinational, and we could no longer meet even within our own team.
At the same time, some of our resources freed and we decided to invest our time and effort in expanding the range of Big Float amphibious excavators with new, larger model that would fit 30-35t class excavators.
Designing took good part of 2020 and the first several units were manufactured in 2021.
With new Big Float E35, we were able to enter new markets where we were not present before and it made for a good start in 2021.
DT: What is in the pipeline at the moment and what are you and your team currently working on?
Mr. Pavel Syrtsov: Today, we are very well positioned at the center of the shallow water dredging equipment.
With growing recognition of Big Float, we continue investing in production methods, automation and robotization to meet increasing demands.
Recent uptick in the wetland’s restoration projects around the world keeps our team busy following its development and working closely with our dealers and authorities to identify advantages of having a fleet of Big Float amphibious excavators on the projects.
DT: Do you believe that dredging industry can make a difference in improving the environment’s quality, and what is your opinion on this?
Mr. Pavel Syrtsov: Dredging industry includes wide range of operators and actions. The cases that we see through our customers and co-operators have convinced us that dredging industry can work for the nature and improve environments quality.
Major part of our amphibious excavators are used solely for environmental projects like building nesting places for birds or restoring river habitat for endangered species, as well as removing overgrown vegetation and invasive species from water bodies.
We have also delivered machines to create floodplains and protective barriers to prevent negative effects of flooding. In the urban environment, these machines are used – for example – for cleaning the canals from the trash and excessive sediments.
Common denominator to all of these works is that those are performed to fix the mistakes people have made earlier.
Dredging industry can make the difference in improving the quality of environment and, luckily, environmental awareness is on the rise in the way that there is more and more funds available for these projects.
DT: Sustainability now comes in many forms, and as a producer of dredging equipment, you have knowledge, data and expertise to make a positive difference. What are your priorities when it comes to creating sustainable dredging solutions?
Mr. Pavel Syrtsov: In many cases, planning of the dredging works makes the biggest impact when it comes to sustainable dredging. Our priorities as a machine manufacturer are to design and build machines that can be operated in the most efficient manner.
For example, the machine must be able to move around in the environments where it is meant to be working, have sufficient working range and a capacity to move desired amount of dredged material per hour (if it cannot do the work, it should not be burning the fuel on the jobsite).
After that comes everything else: low impact to the ground, ability to arrive to the jobsite with least impact on environment, long life span of machine etc.
There are many important initiatives in the dredging industry that are focusing on sustainability, and the beneficial use of dredged material is being one of them.
As a manufacturer of equipment that is designed to operate on saturated soils, we see it as a great opportunity for us to offer the right tool for the job. Big Float is capable to manoeuvre and operate inside the placement sites of dredged material.
We continue following the industry’s direction and initiatives and develop our product to best meet its requirements.