Cableless Dredge Propulsion Design
Laura Christianson, Shane Ice, J.D. Karber
Allied Engineering has been assigned the task of redesigning the propulsion system for a mid-sized dredge manufactured by VMI Dredges, Cushing, OK. Currently a majority of their dredges are propelled using a cable stretched across the body of water in which the dredge is working. The cable is attached at opposite ends of the water body to anchors staked in the ground. Heavy trucks or tractors are typically used as anchors. The dredge pulls itself back and forth using a hydraulic motor attached to the cable. The hydraulic drive provides an infinite variation of forward and reverse speeds, easily adjustable by valve positioning. While quite operable in forward and reverse, the dredge is limited in lateral movement due to the semi-permanent securing of the cable anchors.
A considerable amount of time is spent moving the cable anchors, often over one hour per move. In addition to the inefficient use of time, the practice of using vehicles as anchors ties up expensive equipment. A desirable design solution would decrease the overall time spent per job by focusing on improving the current propulsion system. This project involves designing a cableless dredge propulsion system for VMI’s horizontal dredges.
Scope of Work
It was too large of an undertaking for one senior design team to build a full scale working dredge in one year. The finances, time and space were not available to build a full size dredge. Because of this limitation, the scope of the project was constrained to building scale models of probable final designs. This presented some difficulties such as finding the properly scaled components. However, scaled models allowed development and testing of the most feasible designs under simulated conditions. Upon VMI’s approval, scaled models were the plan of action.