Our product is a removable, retractable centerboard.
We believe that this will ease the transport of empty barges by preventing lateral
drift due to wind and to provide an intermediate pivot point to shorten the turning
radius of a barge fleet. It can be easily moved between fleets and installed as
needed between individual barges. Since an unloaded barge only draws about 18" of
water, and the average depth of a channel is 10-12’, the centerboard can safely
reach a depth of 8’ below the bottom of the barges it is attached to.
It consists of an outer casing suspended by a support structure from the two adjacent
barges. The outer casing (A), is made of ½” to 3/8” steel plate of type A36 and
measures 6’ x 12’ x 8” and acts as a sheath for our centerboard, two eyelets (I)
on top of the casing allow it to be moved between fleets by a dock crane. The outer
casing contains an axle (D), around which the centerboard with its internal spar (B) rotates, attached
to the centerboard is a cable (G). The cable travels over a pulley (C) and connects
to an electric winch (F) which raises and
lowers the centerboard; a pin (I) through the winch allows it to be locked for transport.
A sonar device (E) is installed within the
centerboard to control the actions of the winch.
The movement of the centerboard to avoid obstacles and debris is self-governing.
That is, it is autonomously controlled by the sonar transponder fitted within the
leading edge of the centerboard. The sonar detects oncoming objects, and responds
by sending a signal to the winch causing it to raise the centerboard up into the
casing. Once the object has passed the sonar sends a second signal telling the winch
the lower the centerboard back into position. When in the lowered position ballast
in the bottom of the centerboard allows it to resist any lifting force produced
by passing water.
Images used with the permission of Chris E.
Jeamar Winch Company