Dredge Yard tests a new Cutter System

With the aim to reduce spillage and turbidity in cutter suction dredging, Dredge Yard developed and tested a new Dredge Cutter System called DrillCutter. The prototype of a full-scale model is launched in Mid-January 2021 and ongoing testing to demonstrate the full potential of the new cutter. The new design of a closed type cutter head, driven by an electric ring motor offers a complete solution to environmentally friendly cutting.

Over years of intensive Engineering, FEM, and computer simulation Dredge Yard developed a cutter blade that will hold the cut material preventing them from falling down causing spillage and the blades are connected to the hub and suction pipe located in the center of the cutter ring motor. To be able to do this, Dredge Yard developed and tested electric ring motors in collaboration with partners in Netherlands and Germany. The prototype was assembled in Dredge Yard facility in Rotterdam and tested in dry conditions.

In most dredging operations, spillage results in losing a significant part of the cut material. This spillage can be up to 80% of the cut material. In many cases, the dredger should clean the same area again to remove the entire material. By having a closed cutter head, Dredge Yard is able to get most of the spillage into the cutter suction pipe. Lowering spillage is better for the environment as in some cases the sediment layers could be harmful to the environment and marine life. Removing this layer in one cut will limit the damage to the surrounding areas.

Turbidity can be harmful to the environment and it can travel with the water current to far surroundings. Depending on the cut material turbidity can reach high levels and can spread silt and contaminations. The new Cutter System ensures that the turbidity is sucked within the water flow into the suction pipe, due to its close type cutter and the suction canals between the blades.

In addition to the positive effect on the environment, lowering the spillage will also raise the production of the cutter, pump per hour, and improve the productivity of the dredger, as fewer swings of dredger have to be made to cut the same material.

Many other benefits will also be obtained because of using the electric drive. The electric ring motors have a higher torque due to the higher number of poles and bigger diameter. This allows the cutter to have more torque for a higher impact on the soil. The electric motor will have a higher efficiency eliminating the use of hydraulic power or gearboxes.

Dredge Yard strives to improve the dredging process to benefit both the environment and the dredge operators. The dredging test is still going on and positive results are expected. This will be the start of numerous innovations and tests of the cutter system.