AWARDS 2022 | Best Mining Dredger – Lucky Star 168 – HID Dredger

Best Mining Dredger – Lucky Star 168 (Photo: HID Dredger)
Best Mining Dredger – Lucky Star 168 (Photo: HID Dredger)

China's Shandong Haohai Dredging Equipment, operating under the HID brand, constructed this ultra-modern tin dredger for an Indonesian owner. Perhaps unusually, the dredger will operate in the open sea rather than in more normal placid inland waterways.

The vessel is designed for efficiency, safety, reliability and, given the climate in which she will operate, considerable air-conditioned comfort.

"The vessel integrates advanced technologies in the field of dredging engineering and mineral processing," HID Dredger told Baird Maritime. "Key features include a compact size, a high degree of automation, strong data acquisition capability, a stable hull, and suitability for offshore waters."

The dredger can also be used in a wide range of applications as its equipment can also mine other ore powders that are similar to tin ore in terms of density. The vessel combines the various functions of extraction, screening, washing, and packaging, providing the operator with a centralised processing platform.

"The vessel is also fully equipped as regards crew accommodation, seawater desalination, sewage treatment, and equipment for navigation and communications."

The builder said the bridge structure form was first implemented to ensure deep excavation and large excavation operations. The hull structure, the bridge strength, the connection between the bridge and the hull, and shock absorption were all new designs, presenting some challenges. It was through effective coordination with design institutes and other parties that the issues were successfully resolved and three patents were even obtained.

"Shipbuilding today is being impacted by the stricter regulations being enforced by the IMO," HID Dredger added. "We therefore see a growing focus on alternative fuels, energy-efficient vessel designs, and even technologies such as exhaust gas cleaning systems. We are also witnessing the increasing adoption of digital technologies including digital twin simulations, augmented reality, robotics, and autonomous systems to enhance productivity, efficiency, and safety."

The builder added that other key trends prevalent in the industry are green technologies, advanced manufacturing techniques, and cybersecurity. These have led to the development and introduction of hybrid propulsion, waste heat recovery systems, energy management systems, 3D printing, and more robust cyber protection measures. These trends reflect the industry's focus on environmental sustainability, efficiency, and technological advancements in shipbuilding processes and vessel performance.

"We continued to build upon our product portfolio in 2022," HID Dredger told Baird Maritime. "We developed advanced marine dredging equipment that meets the changing needs of our customers. This necessitated investment of substantial resources in R&D, collaborating with industry experts, and utilising advanced technologies to enhance our dredgers' performance, efficiency, and sustainability."

Some of the concrete steps taken towards achieving these goals included the construction of a new 8,000-square-metre manufacturing facility, incorporation of advanced machinery, and adherence to stricter quality control measures. These resulted in an increase in production capacity while ensuring prompt deliveries and maintaining high production standards.

"We also spent the previous year expanding our presence in the global market by strengthening existing partnerships and establishing new ones with clients across a diverse range of industries. Our dredgers have been successfully deployed worldwide in various projects including port and harbour maintenance, land reclamation, mining, and environmental remediation."

Specifically, the dredgers the company built were completed in compliance to international standards and have been exported to numerous countries including the UAE, Egypt, and the Philippines. The company also obtained relevant certifications and accreditations to validate the reliability, safety, and environmental sustainability of its products. After-sales servicing is also available with a dedicated team ready to support clients that require technical assistance, spare parts, and maintenance.

"We are very optimistic about the future. With our extensive experience and global reach, we believe there are abundant opportunities for growth in the dredging industry."

HID Dredger described the future of the dredging industry as being characterised by significant advancements and trends. These will include minimising environmental impact through sediment management and ecosystem preservation, integration of digital tools for efficient project planning, execution and monitoring, adoption of automated and autonomous dredging systems for improved efficiency and safety, and an increase in the number of coastal protection projects to ensure resilience against rising sea levels and storms. There will also be growing collaboration between dredging companies, governments, and environmental organisations for knowledge sharing and innovation.

"These trends demonstrate the industry's commitment to sustainability, efficiency, and adaptation to environmental challenges, in recognition of its crucial role in maintaining waterways and coastal areas in the future," the company added.

In HID Dredger's view, the Chinese workboat industry has been experiencing significant growth and development in recent years.

"As the world's largest workboat market," the company told Baird Maritime, "China has switched its focus from scale growth to structural optimisation, value enhancement, and 'green' and low-carbon technological development. HID will therefore continue to focus on maintaining high quality by adopting scientific and technological innovation and enhancing research efforts to enhance core competitiveness."

The company believes that at the same time, it is necessary to strengthen cooperation with international shipyards and to actively participate in the formulation and promotion of international standards as a means of contributing to development of China's workboat industry.

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