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Asia's Largest Dredging Vessel Honored

Source: Science and Technology Daily | 2022-05-18 17:51:20 | Author: TANG Zhexiao


The suction dredger Tian Kun Hao operats in Lianyungang,east China’s Jiangsu province. (PHOTO: VCG)

By TANG Zhexiao

Having been awarded two national honorary titles in May, Tian Kun Hao is a Chinese-built suction dredger described as a "magic island maker" due to its advanced capability of digging sand and silt.

It boasts a maximum conveyance of 15 kilometers, and leads similar vessels in the world in terms of its excavating power, which is up to 6,000 cubic meters an hour.

The vessel, launched in November 2017 in Qidong, east China's Jiangsu province, has marked China's evolution from a large dredging country to a strong dredging country.

Overcoming dredger imports

With many rivers, lakes and seas, China has long had a huge demand for dredging.

The country bought its first dredger in the Netherlands in 1966, making the excavation transition from manual to mechanical.

After the reform and opening up, the rapid economic development brought new opportunities for China to independently research and develop dredgers.

The country relied on importing nearly 80 to 90 percent of its heavy dredgers before launching its first large-scale non-self-propelled cutter suction dredger, Tian Shi Hao, in 2006, according to China Communications Construction Co. Ltd.

With completely independent intellectual property rights, Tian Shi Hao overcame the technological limitations of foreign dredger manufacturers.

In January 2010, the country's first self-propelled dredging vessel, Tian Jing Hao, went into operation. Its dredging capacity, 4,500 cubic meters of sand and silt per hour, ranked first in Asia and third in world then.

Impressive dredging capacity

Being named after "a legendary enormous fish which can turn into a mythical bird," Tian Kun Hao, the self-designed new generation dredging vessel, is larger and has greater capability than Tian Jing Hao.

It is 140 meters long and is able to operate in depths between six and thirty five meters.

Depending on its powerful excavation and conveying system, the sand and silt sucked by Tian Kun can fill a one-meter-deep pit in a standard football field 15 kilometers away, said Zhang Yi, captain of Tian Kun Hao.

Besides adopting the brand-new electric drive system to improve operation efficiency, the vessel also uses an advanced intelligent control system.   

With this system, it can display the 3D soil quality of dredging in real time, estimate the tide level, and realize the automatic control of dredging and mud pumping for unmanned operation.

Young people playing a major role

 Tian Kun Hao is developed by a young team with an average age of 32. Having no experience in design and construction of such a dredger, the team started developing the vessel in 2016.

With the effort and dedication of more than 100 technicians from various industries, Tian Kun Hao finally made its debut.

Since it was put into operation, Tian Kun Hao’s team has achieved more than 100 technological innovations such as the automatic control system of the submersible pump, filling technological gaps in many fields at home and abroad.

Wang Dong, born in the 1980s, is the chief engineer of Tian Kun Hao. He said the vessel marks a breakthrough in the country’s 20-plus years of independent equipment construction.

“This reflects China’s rapid economic development,” said Wang Dong, “I am proud to be part of this industry, we’ve really built a good vessel.”

On the day when being awarded the 26th May Fourth Medals, given to mark great contributions to the country in crucial fields, Tian Kun Hao and its crew members were still working on key projects of the Belt and Road Initiative, building new channels for energy transmission in the extreme cold regions.

Editor: 汤哲枭

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