China selects Markey deck equipment for new research vessel

(SEATTLE) — In September 2014, Scott Kreis, Markey Machinery’s vice president of sales, received a phone call that presented a significant opportunity for his company. On the telephone a key supplier of oceanographic equipment within the People's Republic of China explained that chief scientists from the Ocean University of China (OUC) witnessed the effectiveness and suitability of Markey’s custom deck machinery while on board vessels of the U.S. academic fleet. The Chinese government had recently committed to building a “state of the art” research vessel that would attract marine scientists from around the globe and particularly the United States. For that reason, the OUC scientists wanted to meet with Markey to discuss equipment for the new vessel, Dong Fang Hong 3.

Up to this point Markey had not considered marketing its products in the People’s Republic of China. Still, Kreis welcomed the opportunity to talk with university representatives about advanced research winch products. Visiting Markey’s Seattle factory in November 2014, the OUC team was introduced to the equipment Markey had developed for the University National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) research vessels Neil Armstrong (AGOR-27) and Sally Ride (AGOR28). The OUC team quickly urged Markey to participate in their forthcoming tender.

Through a series of technical meetings, Markey convinced OUC to depart from an expensive, long-standing practice of launching, positioning and retrieving conductivity, temperature and depth (CTD) samplers using traction winches. OUC opted to follow the lead of UNOLS and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in choosing more economical direct pull winches to perform what comprises a significant portion of underway handling operations aboard these vessels. They released their tender including technical specifications far different than when they first approached Markey about this project.

Late in 2015 Markey secured the order to supply a suite of machinery including cable and fairleads in the cable path. The suite of all-electrically-driven equipment includes two CAST-6-125 CTD hydrographic winches with Markey’s proven render/recover, active heave compensation and a new “next generation” controls system integrating Allied Systems marine crane CTD launch and recovery system (LARS). The CAST-6 winches will have removable drums and Lebus shells and an independently adjustable fairlead system to accommodate different wires sizes.

Included in the scope of supply is one DETW-12 geological wire rope constant-tension traction winch with a single storage reel; and a groundbreaking DETW-13-13 synthetic rope and fiber optic cable constant-tension traction winch with dual storage reels. These latest members of Markey’s research traction winch are both capable of providing up to 20 metric tons (44,000 pounds) of line pull at 2 meters/second (394 feet/minute), with higher line speeds under light line conditions. The DETW-12 single storage reel can hold up to 10,000 meters of wire rope. The DETW-13-13 storage reels are differently configured, one capable of handling 12,000 meters of HMPE synthetic rope, while the other can hold 10,000 meters of fiber optic cable. Both traction winch systems include adjustable line tension control systems, quick-change removable rims on the traction wheels, and removable drums with Lebus shells on the storage reels.

Then, rounding out the suite is a DESF-05 biology winch with a 50HP AC-variable frequency drive, an instrumented precision fairleader, and a Lebus shell equipped drum capable of handling up to 3,000 meters of 8 mm wire rope.

Delivery of the equipment is anticipated to occur late in 2016. The actual launch date of the vessel has not yet been released.

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By Professional Mariner Staff