8 April 2013

James Fisher Strainstall delivers a load measurement solution

James Fisher Strainstall successfully designs and delivers a load measurement solution for the world’s largest floating wharf at the Port of Dampier.

  • James Fisher Strainstall (JF Strainstall) commissioned to develop bespoke load measurement solution for the Dampier Floating Deck
  • Provides critical data analysis of wharf performance in challenging marine environment
  • System is world’s first load monitoring solution configured for a floating structure

JF Strainstall, part of James Fisher and Sons plc, was commissioned to design and deliver a load monitoring system for the Dampier Floating Deck - the world’s largest floating wharf at the port of Dampier, Western Australia.

The wharf, located in some of the most challenging marine operational conditions, is a new concept in jetty extension and JF Strainstall’s bespoke solution has been designed to monitor the load between the floating deck and the main cargo jetty piles during mooring operations. The system offers reassurance during critical operations by providing engineers with detailed data and analysis on the performance of the structure, as well as indicating when load thresholds have been exceeded to significantly increase operational safety.

Damian Burton, regional manager at Patrick Bulk Port Services – owner of the floating wharf, commented on the news by saying:

"For our customers, this means that a vessel can now come to the Port of Dampier without fear of berth shortages, and will not only be able to complete a cargo exchange but also take on all of the consumables and fluids it needs in one stop, rather than have to move or endure a lengthy wait. It's a welcome and decisive market advantage that our Pilbara-based team is embracing."

The fully bespoke system comprises 64, 200 tonne diaphragm load cells which feed into JF Strainstall’s analogue to digital load cell amplifiers (recently developed for use with TLP tendon tension monitoring systems), a full software package and a traffic light overload warning system. Operating in real-time, a radio data link will also enable port staff to permanently monitor the status of the deck from a remote location in the port allowing any remedial action to be taken when necessary.

JF Strainstall’s monitoring system manager for the region, Dr Phil Cutter, said:

“We are pleased to have worked on this project, in what was a world first. This is a great example of our ability to provide a bespoke monitoring system for projects in demanding environments and one of this scale really is something special.”

The wharf will extend the length of the existing jetty by an additional 100m and allow two platform supply vessels to berth at the same time to support offshore operations in the region. Dampier is a cyclone risk area, which was a key consideration in the design of the monitoring system that was engineered to withstand such weather conditions. In the event of a cyclone, the wharf’s brackets can be retracted and the structure can be towed away to a safe mooring area.

Dr Cutter went on to explain that:

“The Dampier project has seen the adaption of some of our cutting-edge technologies, reconfigured and applied to this floating structure.”

A number of James Fisher group companies have had significant involvement in the Dampier Floating Deck project, including Maritime Engineers which was instrumental in the design and motions analysis of the floating wharf. Fendercare Australia also supplied 22 Yokohama fenders to the project.