Title:
DEVICE FOR OFFSHORE LOADING AND UNLOADING OF SHIPS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device for the offshore loading and unloading of ships is provided. The device includes a steel bridge (1), which rests on the head pieces (3) of individual pile foundations (2). One or more ship loading or unloading devices (5) can be displaced along said bridge.



Inventors:
Igel, Hanns-joerg (Blieskastel, DE)
Application Number:
11/577023
Publication Date:
09/20/2007
Filing Date:
08/30/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63B27/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
ADAMS, GREGORY W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MCGLEW & TUTTLE, PC (SCARBOROUGH, NY, US)
Claims:
1. A device for offshore loading and unloading of ships, said device comprising: (a) a steel gantry configured as a multispan girder with a large span, said gantry being supported on the head pieces of single pile foundations; (b) one or more ship loaders and/or ship unloaders arranged on said steel gantry and being traversible in longitudinal direction; and (c) at least one jib mounted in a traversible arrangement at said one or more ship loaders and/or ship unloaders.

2. A device as defined in claim 1, wherein said steel gantry is configured as a multispan girder with a large span, having a truss design.

3. A device as defined in claim 1, wherein said jib can be moved transversely to the longitudinal axis of the ship to be loaded and to it's a device roadway.

4. A device as defined in claim 3, wherein said jib comprises a longitudinally traversible counterweight.

5. A device as defined in claim 4, wherein said counterweight is supported on rollers and traversible together with the jib in opposite directions by means of drive pinions having different diameters, being arranged on a common shaft and each engaging into a toothed rack or the like.

6. A device as defined claim 3, wherein said jib of said ship loader at one free end is comprised of a charging chute retractable in a vertical direction, said charging chute comprising a head chute, a telescoping outlet pipe and a guidance scaffold accommodated within a pylon.

7. A device as defined in claim 6, wherein said head chute comprises a hopper-shaped inflow area, a cover, inner guiding and deflector facilities, and an opening for lateral feed of the material to be conveyed, transported via a belt conveyor.

8. A device as defined in claim 7, wherein at the head end of said belt conveyor a tripper pulley is arranged that can be slewed out from the area of the head chute and pulled-off.

9. A device as defined in claim 6, wherein the telescoping outlet pipe is comprised of elements that are of a cylindrical or hopper-shaped configuration and that are arranged in a straight line or in form of a cascade and telescoping to each other.

10. A device as defined in claim 1, wherein said ship loader is comprised of a superstructure including said jib horizontally slewable around a vertical axis.

11. A device as defined in claim 10, wherein said jib is configured as a swan neck jib, with the front-end (ship-side) part of the jib being slewable around a horizontal axis lying in the area of the ship skin of the ship to be loaded and facing the ship loader.

12. A device as defined in claim 10, wherein said jib carries a belt conveyor which is supported and guided in the area of the horizontal slewing axis by a belt track arc bridging this area and comprised of several single slewable and slidable elements that can be traversed against each other.

13. A device as defined in claim 10, wherein said jib carries a charging chute, and that said charging chute is provided with a trim facility for lateral deflection of the loading goods.

14. A device as defined in claim 13, wherein said charging chute is vertically guided via a parallelogram handlebar.

15. A device as defined in claim 1, wherein a land-bound belt conveyor, a pier conveyor belt and a travelling tripper serve for feeding the material to be conveyed onto the ship loader.

16. A device as defined in claim 1, wherein the head pieces are heads made of concrete or made of steel.

17. A device for offshore loading and unloading of ships, said device comprising: single pile foundations with head pieces; a steel gantry comprising a multispan girder with a large span, said gantry being supported on said head pieces; one of a ship loader and a ship unloader movably mounted on said steel gantry and being traversible in longitudinal direction of said steel gantry; and a jib mounted in a traversible arrangement at said one of a ship loader and a ship unloader.

18. A device as defined in claim 17, wherein said jib includes a longitudinally traversible counterweight supported on rollers and traversible together with the jib in opposite directions by means of drive pinions having different diameters, arranged on a common shaft and each engaging into a toothed rack.

19. A device as defined in claim 18, wherein said jib comprises a charging chute retractable in a vertical direction, said charging chute comprising a head chute, a telescoping outlet pipe and a guidance scaffold.

20. A device as defined in claim 19, wherein said head chute comprises a hopper-shaped inflow area, a cover, inner guiding and deflector facilities, and an opening for lateral feed of the material to be conveyed transported via a belt conveyor having a head end with a tripper pulley arranged that can be slewed out from the area of the head chute and pulled-off.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a United States National Phase application of International Application PCT/EP2005/009308 and claims the benefit of priority under 35 U.S.C. § 119 of German Patent Application DE 102004054415.8 filed Nov. 11, 2004, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a device for offshore loading and/or unloading of ships.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

At times when high productivity combined with fast transshipment of goods is called for, unloading and loading of ships attain special importance. To minimize cost, the shortest possible demurrage is desired that can only be reached if goods are transshipped at high speed.

To achieve or improve desired profitability, cargo ships having a high loading capacity have been developed that have a corresponding size. Sometimes, the depth of water at harbor berths fails to be sufficient for the deep draft of such ships or there is no harbor available near the bulk goods storage yard, so that an offshore dispatch lends itself as a suitable alternative. Offshore loading of a ship, however, calls for a ship pier and an appropriate carrying facility for conveyor devices which must be located at a distinct distance to the existing coast. In the past, near-coast ship piers were created that consisted of massive concrete platforms on which rail-bound or wheel-carried chassis can be moved. These massive concrete platforms are usually supported on pile foundations.

The offshore facilities outlined hereinabove have a drawback in that they are relatively expensive both in terms of their set-up and fabrication, all the more so because concrete grouting work in most cases must be performed locally, that means offshore. And the large number of required pile foundations is also expensive.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Now, therefore, it is the object of the present invention to create a device for offshore ship loading and/or unloading that overcomes and eliminates these drawbacks outlined hereinabove.

This object is solved by the device as defined in claim 1 which is comprised of a steel gantry supported on head pieces (preferably concrete heads) of a few single pile foundations and on which one or several ship loaders and/or ship unloaders are arranged that can be moved in longitudinal direction. Each pile foundation is comprised of a group of several suitably arranged single piles that can be driven into the sea bed and the upper ends of which are connected to one another above the water line by means of a head piece consisting, for example, of concrete. The steel gantry is preferably configured as a multispan girder having a large span, and more particularly in a truss design. The steel gantry, even if configured as a full wall or box-type girder, offers special cost benefits. The steel gantry can easily be carried to site either as a whole unit or disassembled into few elements and connected there, if required, to a large span gantry. This gantry equally serves as ship pier and as carrying facility both for the ship loader and/or ship unloader traversible on it in longitudinal direction and for the pier belt conveyor extending over the entire gantry length. While having equal load-bearing capacity, multispan girder steel gantries, e.g. as bend beams with a large spacing between top chord and bottom chord, i.e. as beams with a large height, are constructible with substantially less weight and much larger column spacing than concrete or reinforced concrete gantries. Therefore, the number of pile foundations can be substantially reduced, thus achieving further cost savings. The steel gantry can be of such a configuration that its top chord versus the water level can be arranged higher than with massive concrete building structures without any major expenditure, so that the portal of the ship loader and/or ship unloader with the corresponding jib can be constructed with low height. This in turn offers the benefit of small wheel loads from wind forces.

In principle, it is possible to arrange on such a gantry both a ship loader and a ship unloader, but in the following, only a ship loader is described in detail. The ship loader can particularly be a coordinate device with a jib formed by an inherently stiff straight horizontal beam that can be displaced transversely to the longitudinal axis of the ship to be loaded and transversely to its own device driveway; it is guided at least at its top side and bottom side between carrier idlers. The designation “coordinate device” originates from the circumstance that the jib tip (the tripper head) can be moved in one direction by longitudinal traversing of the ship loader on the steel gantry and altered in the other coordinate which is vertical to the first one by extending or retracting the jib. In this manner, any point over any open ship loading hatches can be reached with the jib tip.

The jib preferably comprises a counterweight which can be moved longitudinally, i.e. which is slidable or slewable, and which is particularly supported on rolls or wheels, and which can be moved in a direction opposite to the jib's direction of travel by drive pinions having different diameters and arranged on a common shaft and which engage in toothed racks or drive gears. The ratio of the drive pinion diameters determines the reciprocal displacement way of the counterweight relative to the travel way of the jib, so that the counterweight is extended by a corresponding ratio in opposite direction when extending the jib. Apart from the described solution of a mechanical compulsory drive by a drive pinion and a toothed rack or the like, which is robust and failsafe in rough sea operation, the counterweight can also be moved by additional electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic or other mechanical auxiliary means, but which due to their required separate monitoring, control and drive elements call for additional expenditure as compared with a mechanical compulsory coupling of movements.

Furthermore, at its front-side free end, the jib of the ship loader is comprised of a charging chute which can be retracted in the vertical direction and which is preferably comprised of a head chute, a telescoping outlet pipe, and a guiding scaffold which furthermore is preferably accommodated within a pylon. If required, trim facilities for the bottom end of the outlet pipe can be additionally provided for. The pylon is equipped with hoisting devices by means of which the charging chute and the guidance scaffold can be retracted toward the top so as to be able to guide the charging chute into a position in which it is horizontally slidable above the ship hatch edge, for example in order to move the charging chute out from a ship loading hold and into the next ship loading hold. To this effect, the guidance scaffold within the pylon can be raised and lowered, with the charging chute elements being slidable into one another when raising the guidance scaffold in parts and like a telescope. Instead of a telescoping outlet pipe comprised of cylindrical elements, elements shaped like hoppers can also be arranged which are mounted in a straight line or like a telescope one above another in the form of a cascade.

Furthermore, the head chute is preferably comprised of a hopper-shaped inflow area, a cover, inner guiding and deflector devices as well as an opening for lateral charging of the conveyed goods transported on the jib preferably via a belt conveyor. This belt conveyor can have a tripper car at the head end, with it being possible to slew-out and pull-off this tripper car from the area of the head chute. The afore mentioned guiding and deflector devices are exchangeable wear parts having a straight or bent contour.

Alternatively, a ship loader comprised of a superstructure with a jib horizontally slewable around a vertical axis can also be utilized to serve as ship loader. The jib tip describes a pitch circle arc, wherein each point above each ship loading hatch can be reached in connection with the traversability of the ship loader in the longitudinal direction, assuming a corresponding jib length.

The jib is preferably configured as a swan neck jib that can be slewed around a horizontal axis which lies in the area of the ship skin facing the ship loader. This configuration permits a steep inclination of the front-side jib section, so that the chute arranged there can dive deep into the ship hold, thus allowing for minimizing the height of fall of the goods to be loaded. Unwanted damage to grains in case of bulk goods that might occur otherwise due to the large height of fall, or serious development of dust when loading pulverous bulk goods can thus be largely avoided. To prevent too serious a flexion of the belt conveyor in the transitional area between two hinge-connected jib sections, it is envisaged to support the belt conveyor in the area of the horizontal slewing axis by means of a belt conveyor arc comprised of several single elements which can be traversed against each other, and which are slewable and slidable. For example, in contrast with the spring arcs known from DE 100 02 018 C2, which are difficult to manufacture, and which are bulky as well as expensive, a belt support track which is advantageous in terms of design and cost can be created by means of traversible elements, wherein inadmissibly sharp bend radii are avoided.

At its outflow end, the charging chute arranged at the end side of the swan neck jib can be provided with a trim device for lateral deflection of the charging goods, whereby it is possible to generate a by and large even charging goods surface in the ship load and, thereby, an optimal filling degree of the bulk goods. In particular, it is possible to ensure optimal trimming of the ship and/or minimizing the risk of displacement in loaded goods in rough sea.

The chute can preferably be vertically guided and/or maintained via a parallelogram handlebar.

Utilized for supply of conveying material to the ship loader are a land-bound belt conveyor, a pier belt conveyor and a travelling tripper from where the bulk material is transferred to the ship loader and/or to the belt conveyor located there. The travelling tripper can be integrated into the ship loader.

The head pieces of the pile foundations are comprised of concrete or steel, depending on the set-up of the pile foundations and the occurring forces that are necessarily to be considered, including but not limited to load-bearing forces.

On the whole, a particularly low-cost solution to a ship loading or ship unloading facility can be realized by implementing the inventive device. In contrast with state-of-the-art technology of such devices, this is achieved by:

a light-weight construction and inexpensive erection of the gantry locally on site

a simple set-up of the ship loader and a small overhang of the jib as compared with radial loaders with advance carriages usually employed in offshore operations

omission of foundations and causeways for separate ship berths and radial roadways, separate gantry swing bearings, conveying material distribution station between twin loaders, roadways and walkways between pier, radial roadway, distribution station, etc. that are required for usual radial loaders.

Other advantages and embodiments of the present invention are outlined in the following by way of various drawings. The various features of novelty which characterize the invention are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming a part of this disclosure. For a better understanding of the invention, its operating advantages and specific objects attained by its uses, reference is made to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter in which preferred embodiments of the invention are illustrated.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a side schematic view of principle parts of a device according to the invention;

FIG. 2 is a top schematic view of principle parts of a device according to the invention;

FIG. 3 is an end schematic view of principle parts of a device according to the invention;

FIG. 4 is a schematic side partially sectional view of a belt track girder in the kinking area of a jib;

FIG. 5 is a schematic side partially sectional view of a parallelogram handlebar guidance for a charging chute;

FIG. 6 is a schematic side view of a horizontally guidable jib with a vertically retractable charging chute;

FIG. 6a is a schematic detail view of the head area of the charging chute;

FIG. 6b is a schematic detail view of the head area of the charging chute;

FIG. 6c is a schematic detail view of the head area of the charging chute;

FIG. 7 is a schematic view according to FIG. 6 with retracted charging chute;

FIG. 8 is a schematic view of a drive pinion/toothed rack drive for a horizontally movable jib;

FIG. 9 is another schematic view of a drive pinion/toothed rack drive for a horizontally movable jib;

FIG. 10a is a schematic view of different chute component parts;

FIG. 10b is another schematic view of different chute component parts;

FIG. 11 is a schematic view of a pylon at the jib head to accommodate the charging chute including guidance scaffold;

FIG. 12a is a schematic view of the telescoping charging chute with a guidance scaffold; and

FIG. 12b is a schematic side view of the lower part of FIG. 12a.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to the drawings in particular, it is basically known that the cost of a large-size offshore ship loading and ship unloading facility are not just caused by the ship loading or ship unloading device itself, but frequently and to a much greater extent by the building structures to be erected locally. In particular, this includes but is not limited to the extended ship berth including tossing facilities and fenders, foundation, causeway, and roadway for the transshipment device, and—with radial loaders known from state of the art in technology—the foundation as well as causeway of the swing bearing of this transshipment device as well as—for swivel loaders possibly constructed in twin design—the design and causeway of the bulk material distribution stations standing separately between them for distribution from the incoming main feeder to the two loaders, and the foundation and causeway of the parking and service platform as well as of the connecting roadways and walkways (maintenance and transport routes) between the distribution station, parking and service platform and ship berths. The objective of the present invention is providing an offshore ship loading facility that can be built at low technical expenditure and less costly.

As shown on FIG. 1 to 3, the offshore ship loading unit is comprised of a steel gantry 1 arranged on concrete heads 3 of single pile foundations 2. Arranged on this steel gantry 1 is a ship loader 5 along side the rail track 4 in longitudinally traversible arrangement. Ship loader 5 is built with a low-head portal 6 and/or 23 (see FIG. 3 and/or FIG. 9), which is feasible because the top chord of steel gantry 1 can be arranged at a relatively high level as compared with water level 31. Owing to this “low-level design”, low additional wheel loads result from wind forces. For completeness' sake, this drawing also shows the land-bound belt conveyor 32, pier belt conveyor 33 and a travelling tripper 34 by means of which the bulk material is transferred to ship loader 5.

The jib designated with reference number 35 in FIG. 2 can be of a different design and configuration, however with it always being ensured that jib 35 at a distinct security distance to the hatch edge can reach any point above and/or within loading hatch 36 of ship 37. Furthermore, it can be seen in FIG. 3 that a traversible service and transport platform 8 is arranged between gantry main girders 7 above or below gantry top chord.

The ship loader shown in FIG. 3 is comprised of a superstructure 5a including a jib horizontally slewable around a vertical axis 5b, the jib being configured as a swan neck jib 9 which can seesaw around horizontal axis 9a. To keep the radii of curvature experienced by belt 9b in the area above axis 9a as large as possible, a belt track arch 10 according to FIG. 4 has been created which is comprised of a rear-side firmly arranged segment 11 and a front-side hinge-mounted segment 12 as well as a middle segment 13. All segments 11, 12 and 13 are stiff in themselves, with the left-side end of segment 12 shown in FIG. 4 being fastened to jib 9 in an arrangement slewable around a horizontal axis 12a, while the other end in the area of segment 11 facing the jib is arranged both slewable around a horizontal axis 12b and slidable roughly tangentially to the local supporting contour of segment 11. Segment 13 with its one end is fastened to segment 12 in an arrangement slewable around a horizontal axis 13a, and with its other end in the area of segment 11 facing jib 9 it is also arranged slewable around a horizontal axis 13b and slidable in an arrangement that roughly follows the contour of segment 11. As compared with one-partite springy elements like those disclosed for example in DE 100 02 018 A1, the supporting arrangement chosen according to FIG. 4 has the advantage that it is easier to manufacture and much cheaper, considering the length required for a sufficiently large bending radius.

In an enhanced view, FIG. 5 shows the guidance by means of a parallelogram handlebar 15 which keeps charging chute 14 vertical, independently of the vertical slewing angle (seesawing angle) of jib 9. The horizontal axis 9a around which the jib can seesaw lies between the vertical plane formed by ship skin 37a and the vertical plane of that part of steel gantry 1 which faces the ship. For a non-loaded or low-loaded ship, in particular, this arrangement of the seesaw axis allows for a steep inclination of jib 9, thus making it possible for chute 14 to dive deep into the ship hold.

The variant outlined in FIG. 6 to 8 shows a ship loader 5 which is comprised of a jib 16 with a belt conveyor 16a, said jib being horizontally and transversely traversible to the device roadway and the ship's longitudinal axis. The set-off of the point of gravity of jib 16 that can be displaced horizontally along its longitudinal axis is created by means of counterweight 17 which is mounted at jib 16 in slidable arrangement (of even slewable, if required).

The embodiment outlined in FIGS. 8 and 9 shows two drive pinions 19, 20 which are arranged on a common shaft 21 and which engage into toothed racks 24 and 25. Toothed rack 24 is fastened to jib 16, and toothed rack 25 is fastened to counterweight 17. Counterweight 17 is supported on rollers 18. The common shaft 21 is preferably arranged on a bogie 22 linked to portal 23 (to avoid contraction). The displacement path counterweight 17 relative to the travelling way of jib 16 is determined by the ratio of the diameters of the two drive pinions 19, 20. Counterweight 17 is displaced in a direction opposite to jib 16.

At its end facing the ship, jib 16 is comprised of a charging chute that is “retractable” toward the top, said chute being comprised of a head chute 26, a telescoping outlet pipe 27 (provided with a trim facility 27a) as well as a guidance scaffold 28 for retraction of the charging chute. Guidance scaffold 28 is guided within a pylon 29. To get from the charging chute position shown in FIG. 6 into the position shown in FIG. 7, it is required to clear the hoisting path at the head side of jib 16 where the tripper pulley 30 of belt conveyor 16a is located which in accordance with FIGS. 6a/6b or 6c is displaced toward the rear by means of a sliding frame 40 (FIG: 6a) or which is laterally or upwardly slewed by means of sliding frame 41, or which is alternatively located in fixed arrangement, wherein the rear-side chute bottom section 42 is separated from the front-side section 43 and configured in fixed or foldable arrangement as shown, considering the interference edges of the chute to be retracted.

Instead of a telescoping outlet pipe 27, hoppers 38 (hopper-in-hopper principle) which are slidable into each other and which are suspended to chains or bands, or chute hoppers 39 arranged in form of a cascade can also be utilized.

FIG. 11 shows that both jib 16 and pylon 29 which jointly with a hoisting device 29a serves for retracting the charging chute can be built, for example, in a full wall design with cross bracings made of a truss work. (Even a mere truss design is feasible and sometimes purposive as the case may be).

FIG. 12a is a front-side view (from the left) onto pylon 29 and the charging chute according to FIG. 6. It schematically shows the trim facility 27a, its fastening to the bottom part (section) of the telescopic outlet pipe 27, which in turn is fastened to the guidance scaffold 28, and it also shows the head chute 26 as well as a guidance bearing 28a of the guidance scaffold 28 in pylon 29. Also shown here are the hoisting device 29a with hoisting ropes 29b which are connected to guidance scaffold 28.

FIG. 12b is a lateral view on the lower part of FIG. 12a.

While specific embodiments of the invention have been shown and described in detail to illustrate the application of the principles of the invention, it will be understood that the invention may be embodied otherwise without departing from such principles.