R&D develops durable vehicle loading ramp for the new ferry to Samsø
R&D has developed a 12 metres long and 8 metres wide vehicle loading ramp with a capacity of 180 tons and a durability of 30 years. These were the demands for the ramp for the new ferry to Samsø.
The ferry route between Hou and Samsø transports 380,000 passengers, 120,000 cars and 10,000 lorries annually. A new ferry which can transport almost twice as many cars as the current ferry will be ready for use in November. The capacity will be increased from 90 cars to 160 cars.
Therefore, the demands for a ramp which connects the quay and the ferry are high. The ramp has to handle the enormous pressure from the many cars and lorries which drive on and off the ferry every day. The high demands for the construction of the ramp make the project very challenging from an engineering perspective, which fits the key competences of R&D.
Along with the demand of an overall price which corresponds to the construction, this is a very interesting and demanding project from an engineering perspective.
Advanced technology ensures higher safety
Jes G. Andersen is a civil engineer at R&D and he has developed the new ramp. "The new ramp is different from the current ramp in multiple ways," Jes G. Andersen says. "Above all, it is bigger to ensure that it can carry twice the load. It will have a length of 12 metres, a width of 8 metres and a capacity of 180 tons."
Jes G. Andersen has been working at R&D for almost a year but he has previoulsy worked with hydraulics, mechanics and structural design. Both his previous experiences as well as the internal network at R&D have formed the basis for the solution of the project and optimised the process in terms of time.
The new ramp will be equipped with advanced technology in order to support remote operation. The advanced software is specified with a basis in the Machinery Directive which requires that potentially dangerous situations must not occur due to operational error. "When working with a ferry, safety is a very important aspect," Jes G. Andersen says. "The ramp is constructed to be positioned in its longitudinal direction and also to be raised and lowered at the part of the ramp which faces the ferry through the use of hydraulic cylinders. The control system of the ramp prevents accidents. If the ferry heels over, due to an uneven unloading of the car deck or changes in the draught of the ferry, while the ramp is connected to the ferry, the hydraulic system follows the movement of the ferry and allows the end of the ramp to rest on the ferry."
This ensures that the hydraulic systems are always engaged with the ramp and are capable of lifting whenever it is required.
Extensive calculations ensure a durability of 30 years
Another interesting aspect of the construction was the calculation of how to ensure a durability of 30 years. The ramp weighs approximately 40 tons. All the fundamental parts are manufatured using hot-galvanized steel and all vital parts are constructed in stainless steel. The ramp is designed to weigh as little as possible. Even though safety is vital now - as well as in 30 years - the amount of steel used in the construction is the exact amount necessary, as the weight of the ramp is significant for its cost of production as well as the price of the hydraulic system which has to lift and position the ramp.
"We know the exact number of cars and lorries which are to drive on and off the ramp several times a day for many years. We have taken this into consideration in the development of the ramp in addition to the high demands for the corrosion resistance of the design and the fact that the repetitive nature of the loads makes enormous demands on the exhaustion capacity of the design," Jes G. Andersen explains.
"Along with the demand of an overall price which corresponds to the construction, this is a very interesting and demanding project from an engineering perspective. It is exciting to have the opportunity of using one's knowledge to something as tangible as this. This makes the project even more interesting and relevant."