Educating production engineers and dredge operators on the limitations of hydraulic dredging using cutter suction dredge simulators

R.E. Randall, P.S. de Jong, Sape Miedema, Y Zhi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review


The most commonly used equipment for dredging navigable waterways, rivers, and lakes is the cutter suction dredge. Production engineers estimate the production of dredges, and the dredge operator operates the dredge by controlling cutter depth and swing speed, winch speed, pump speed, cutter speed, and advancement of the dredge on spuds. In order to improve the performance and education of the production engineer and the operator, cutter suction dredge simulators are available for training of dredging personnel and others involved with operation of a dredge. Two and half day dredge simulator short courses have been conducted since 1999 at the Center for Dredging Studies, and the experiences gained from these courses indicate the courses are providing valuable training. The simulators consist of dredging controls and instrumentation interfaced to a personal computer, and software is used that accurately simulates the dredge movement, the cutting of the sediments, and the hydraulic transport of dredged sediment. Results of the dredging simulation exercises are recorded and used to critique the operator in order to demonstrate dredging fundamentals such as effects of cavitation, critical velocity, winch power, pump power, effect of different sediments, pipeline length, pump characteristics, and maneuvering of the dredge. The use of the computer projection equipment to display the simulator actions is very informative for the participants who are not actively working on a simulator, and it encourages discussion among all the participants. The simulator exercises that have been developed that demonstrate hydraulic transport principles. The effect of winch and main pump power limits, length of pipeline, ladder pump, different substrate, and different dredge advance methods are demonstrated. The review of the data and participant actions after each exercise is very useful in showing each participant the results of their exercise. Most of the operators do not have a formal engineering education and the opportunity to have slurry transport fundamentals explained in lay terms has been well received. The objective of the paper is to demonstrate the improvement of selected operators and the effect of hydraulic limitations on the production by the participants.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 21st World Dredging Congress & Exhibition 2016 (WODCON XXI)
Subtitle of host publicationInnovations in Dredging
Place of PublicationVancouver, WA, USA
PublisherWestern Dredging Association
ISBN (Print)978-1-5108-2989-3
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventWODCON XXI: World Dredging Congress and Exposition 2016 "Innovations in Dredging" - Miami, United States
Duration: 13 Jul 201617 Jul 2016


ConferenceWODCON XXI: World Dredging Congress and Exposition 2016 "Innovations in Dredging"
CountryUnited States

Bibliographical note

Bladzijdenummering document komt niet overeen met die uit de inhoudsopgave van Proceedings


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