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Deck machineries for cargo ships

The various items of machinery and equipment found outside of the machinery space of
modern cargo ship. These include deck machinery such as mooring equipment, anchor
handling equipment, cargo handling equipment and hatch covers. Other items include
lifeboats and liferafts, emergency equipment, watertight doors, stabilisers and bow
thrusters.
The operations of mooring, cargo handling and anchor handling all involve controlled pulls or
lifts using chain cables, wire or hemp ropes. The drive force and control arrangements
adopted will influence the operations. Several methods are currently in use, and these will
be examined before considering the associated equipment. Three forms of power are
currently in use: steam, hydraulic and electric, Each got its advantages and disadvantages
for particular duties or locations.

Steam powered deck machinery


With a steam powering and control system the steam pipelines are run along the deck to
the various machines. Steam is admitted first to a directional valve and then to the steam
admission valve. Double-acting steam engines, usually with two cylinders, are used to drive
the machinery. Additional back pressure valves are used with mooring winches to control
tension when the machine is stalled or brought to a stop by the load. Arrangements must
also be made, often associated with the back pressure valve, to counteract the fluctuations
in main steam line pressure as a result of other users of steam.
The steam-powered system was widely used on tankers since it presented no fire or
explosion risk, but the lengths of deck pipework and the steam engines themselves
presented considerable maintenance tasks which have generally resulted in their
replacement by hydraulically powered equipment.
Hydraulic systems
The open-loop circuit takes oil from the tank and pumps it into the hydraulic motor. A
control valve is positioned in parallel with the motor. When it is open the motor is
stationary; when it is throttled or closed the motor will operate. The exhaust oil returns to
the tank. This method can provide stepless control, i.e. smooth changes in motor speed.
The live-line circuit, on the contrary, maintains a high pressure from which the control valve
draws pressurised oil to the hydraulic motor (in series with it), as and when required.
In the closed-loop circuit the exhaust oil is returned direct to the pump suction. Since the oil
does not enter an open tank, the system is considered closed.
Low-pressure systems use the open-loop circuit and are simple in design as well as reliable.
The equipment is, however, large, inefficient in operation and overheats after prolonged use.
Medium-pressure systems are favoured for marine applications, using either the open or

closed circuit. Smaller installations are of the open-loop type. Where considerable amounts
of hydraulic machinery are fitted the live-circuit, supplied by a centralised hydraulic power
system, would be most economical.
Electrical operation
Early installations used d.c. supply with resistances in series to provide speed control . This
inefficient power-wasting method was one possibility with d.c., but a better method was the
use of Ward Leonard control. The high cost of all the equipment involved in Ward Leonard
control and its maintenance is, however, a considerable disadvantage.
Machines operated on an a.c. supply require a means of speed control with either polechanging or slip-ring motors being used. Slip-ring motors require low starting currents but
waste power at less than full speed and require regular maintenance. Pole-changing motors
are of squirrel cage construction, providing for perhaps three different speeds. They require
large starting currents, although maintenance is negligible.
Apart from the advantages and disadvantages for each of the drive and control methods, all
electric drives have difficulty with heavy continuous overloads. Each system has its
advocates and careful design and choice of associated equipment can provide a satisfactory
installation.