Watertight bulkheads are one of the main and most important safety components on every seaworthy vessel. Their main function is to separate each part of the ship in case of a leak in the vessel’s hull. This system helps to prevent flooding of the whole ship. Usually, the bulkheads are suited with watertight doors, through which the crew can easily transfer in and out of the separated sections.
Reconstruction of the bulkhead doors automation system
The ship-owner had decided to increase safety on the vessel by equipping the watertight doors’ automation systems with elements meeting the highest standards of watertightness.
MAREL Service had taken up the job of developing and realizing the reconstruction. The task had proved harder than one could have imagined. The challenge was in finding counterparts of each and every sensor, button and signaling device manufactured in the desired technological process. Our job was much more complex than the “mere” designing and installation of the new system. MAREL company had to instill itself in the already existing circuitry and render changes. The elements used had to be of the highest watertightness level, dimensions and parameters had to be identical to the original not to mention the fact that the production of these parts ceased years ago. At times a need arose to perform minor corrections in the schematics and on one particular ship we had to replace every electronic element since the old ones did not fit into the new casing.
To add to the difficulty of the task not every device had its counterpart manufactured in the desired technological process. MAREL company was forced to devise its own solution to the problem. The “vintage” pressure controls were replaced by the technologically superior digital pressure converters, modified in a way that they could replace the binary pressure controls previously installed on the vessel. Also the solenoid valves had no watertight replacements. However, after modifications were implemented they were sent to the Electrotechnical Institute in Gdansk in order to approve their watertightness level and they had passed with flying colors. Signaling elements such as light bulbs had been replaced with modern, watertight LED diodes placed in watertight casings. The case was similar with the control switches inside the caskets on the wall.
It is worth mentioning, that all reconstruction work had been done in short intervals between cruises, without the possibility of switching off the system for a longer period of time. Therefore, there was no room for any mistakes.
Ultimately, the reconstruction proved to be a great success. The bulkhead doors were modernized, making voyages aboard the vessel a whole lot safer, keeping the costs relatively low in comparison to the solutions presented by the competition.