RC Dock Europe, part of RC Dock USA Inc., delivered two fully automated launch and recovery systems (LARS) for Fugro’s new Autonomous Surface Vessels. (ASV) Designed to be used in rough offshore conditions and operated from a moving support vessel, both LAR systems are fully automated and of a “open” design making it suitable to receive ASV’s with different types of keel mounted payloads up to a weight of 6 Tons.
A patented lock and release system consist of a series of special designed magnets which are activated by sensors and controlled by RC Dock’s inhouse developed software program.
A handheld remote-control unit allows the operator to individually start a launch or recovery process, an display providing the operator real time information on the LARS process cycle and locking status. Two pneumatic movable arms are installed to provide a wider point of entry when in an open position and an additional lock when closed.
The complete LAR system uses high pressure air instead of hydraulic fluids to guarantee zero oil spill in the event of system leakage or damages.
The LARS is manufactured from light weight marine grade aluminum according DNV regulations for offshore use. With a length of 10 meters and only 800 KG in weight each LAR construction is load tested at 13 Tons.
Floatation and fender modules are of a closed cell high density foam, with a special spray-on coating which allows the LARS to absorb and withstand high “slamming” impact loads with the mother vessel during launch and recovery operations in rough weather conditions. A modular designed LARS storage cradle removes the need for large sea fastening or expensive modifications to vessel decks and allows all systems, including the ASV, to be transported using a standard 40ft. ISO shipping container.
“Fugro’s design requirements has forced us to think outside the box resulting in a lightweight open LARS construction with a unique magnetic lock and release system, making it one of the most challenging projects to date,” said Ronald Kraft, Sales and Marketing Director at RC Dock Europe.