Laser technology is central to the accuracy sought by classification society Lloyd's Register (LR) in its joint research programme with the Southampton-based specialist firm Profile Measurement Systems. Against a background of the industry's attainment of high-density cargo loading rates of up to 16,000 tonnes per hour, the initiative addresses concerns over the long-term impact of hold overloading. It is no less intended as a cost-effective planning tool for time-saving and safer loading and discharge sequencing.
The system is set to be tested in a cape-size unit of Associated Bulk Carriers' fleet during the final quarter of this year. It is anticipated that prototype, portable apparatus will be used in one hold of the ship on two or three loading occasions during the course of the vessel's regular trading pattern. A subsequent test period will provide for a more extensive evaluation of a system designed for ultimate permanent shipboard installation, encompassing every hold.
Operating feedback from the trials under normal cargo handling conditions will determine the nature of the equipment which Profile Measurement Systems will ultimately bring to the market.
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