VisuDREDGE greatly improving dredging efficiency

Visualization of dredging is essential to gain insight into the dredging process. But this is only the beginning of the whole dredging story.

Photo courtesy of MSA-Service

To complete that story, MSA-Service meet with Diederik van Halsema of DC Dredging. He is the fleet manager of the entire DC Dredging fleet, including the vessels DC Ostend, Margaret Ann and Rio.

These vessels have a lot of things in common, including MSA-Service’s VisuDREDGE dredge visualization system, which is installed on each of these three vessels.

In this article Diederik explains what detailed insights into the dredging activities are provided and which developments will make the reporting of the dredging process even better.

First, a brief introduction to the dredging vessels. What exactly are we talking about? Diederik explains: “The big difference between the DC Ostend, Margaret Ann and Rio is the type of ship. Margaret Ann is an inland vessel and with its 9 meters the narrowest of the three. DC Ostend is unique because this ship can also suck up gravel. A wear-sensitive and intensive process. The abrasion of the dredging plant on a gravel hopper dredger is three times higher than on a normal trailing suction hopper dredger. Cycle times for gravel hopper dredgers are also different from those of the sand dredger’s dredging process because they are longer. Consequently, a lot can be gained from good reporting. Based on this, we carry out analyses and we can optimize the dredging process.”

Photo courtesy of MSA-Service

Pay off: Visualization of the dredging process is essential

“Although dredging is more of a hobby for me than work, it is important that the work pays off,” Diederik continues. “First, we use VisuDREDGE to visualize and log the data. We then process this data in Excel in order to extract analyses from it to optimize the processes. In the dredging sector you mainly work under water. It is therefore all the more important for our sector to have accurate information about the dredging process, which after all is our business. That visualization can also easily be made with VisuDREDGE’.

Diederik adds: “In addition, we also work a lot for governments. We are currently working with the ship Rio on beach nourishment for the Belgian government. We are expected to be able to accurately display how much we dredge, and this implies a complex measuring method. A technique that MSA-Service masters well and displays in an appealing way on the screen on the bridge. As we can accurately display this information, the authorities can, if required, closely monitor our activities.”

VisuDREDGE: ‘Appealing visualization of important parameters’

Diederik started at DC Dredging five years ago. The systems that ran on the dredgers were outdated. “I know MSA-Service from the time I worked for Van Oord and Boskalis. I am pleased about the quality of the systems they provide. When I saw VisuDREDGE, I was immediately interested. I especially liked the customization options. Depending on the equipment on board of the ship, the visualization is fully customizable. The screen displays all parameters that are important to us in an appealing way.”

Photo courtesy of MSA-Service

Unique data insights: better for the people on board and for the management

Diederik sees lots of opportunities to improve the dredging industry even further: “Currently, the dredging sector is still working a lot with logs and exports to Excel which is already an improvement compared to the past, when everything was still entered manually. Yet, entering and merging information manually is still rule rather than exception – a job prone to error, while a system like VisuDREDGE can already be easily combined with programs that run automatic analyses, such as Multiped.”

Diederik adds: “These exact analyses are of enormous added value in making the dredging process effective. This method relieves the work of the people on board and gives a better insight to the management. First, about the people on board: they simply find all the administration and reports related to the dredging activities tedious. And there are already tools available that can take over this work. As far as I’m concerned, we should embrace those opportunities as soon as possible so that the people on board have time to do what they really do best. Combine this data with real-time information and we are talking about true innovation.”

The use of VisuDREDGE provides a good insight into the performance of the ship. The way in which data analyses can be done with this system is unique and certainly also provides a better insight into the performance of the people on board and ultimately of the entire company, concludes Diederik.