Recently, Victorian pilot boat specialist, Hart Marine, commissioned Fusion Hire & Sales (FHS) to complete their concept of using 160mm polyethylene (PE100) pipe as an additional bumper for pilot boats. The project marks a new use for PE piping, with the switch to polyethylene coming from a new design out of Europe.
Hart Marine have commissioned the design for trial to determine how the material works in Australian conditions, and entrusted the fabrication work of the bumper to FHS.
“The buffer plays a huge role in pilot vessels - explained Mr Switzer - The buffer allows the pilots to board in a safe manner while running alongside the ship’s lee. It has an extremely hard life under constant pressure and severe conditions, and is an integral part of the boarding system for pilots to the ships. This product should see a longer life in lieu of the old buffer system. Time will tell, but we see it will have the capability to slide over the ship’s topside, therefore resulting in less damage.”
The switch to polyethylene came in an effort to make the bumper safer, more durable and last longer than the standard bumper system, with the bumper being an extremely important part on any pilot boat.
The project was a new one for FHS, having never seen polyethylene piping used for such a purpose before. FHS National Sales Manager, David Clarke, explained that given polyethylene pipe’s benefits over all others on the market, new uses for polyethylene pipe have increased over the last few years.
“Due to its strength, durability and ease to work with, people are always finding new and interesting ways of using PE pipe other than for its intended purpose. The use of PE pipe is expected to increase over the next few years with the material already well-established in the water (reticulation, treatment, pressure & non pressure sewer), gas and, mining sectors. Coal Seam Gas (CSG) are amongst the newest high end applications. While the buffer is still under trial, Hart Marine have promising expectations for its performance and durability".
FHS is the largest polyethylene pipe fabrication workshop in South East Australia with a large range of plastic welding equipment and services available across many industries. Operating since 1994, FHS’ main headquarters are based in Seaford, Victoria, with a large variety of equipment to suit all plastic welding needs.