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Title:
FLEXIBLE JOINTS BETWEEN FLOATING PIER SEGMENTS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/156572
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Arrangement of flexible joints between bridge sections (4) and pontoons (1) that enable flexible floating piers to be in operation in areas with large waves without the sections or construction being subject to structural damage.

Inventors:
KORDT, Arthur (Steinkjellerbakken 1b, 5003 Bergen, 5003, NO)
HEGGHEIM, Ole A. (Homans vei 5A, 1365 Blommenholm, 1365, NO)
Application Number:
NO2019/050035
Publication Date:
August 15, 2019
Filing Date:
February 11, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SEAWALK AS (Skoltegrunnskaien, 5003 Bergen, 5003, NO)
International Classes:
B63B35/38; E01D15/20; E01D15/24
Domestic Patent References:
WO2013137741A12013-09-19
WO2011005112A22011-01-13
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ACAPO AS (P.O. Box 1880 Nordnes, 5817 Bergen, 5817, NO)
Download PDF:
Claims:
PATENT CLAIMS

1. Flexible joint between floating piers, characterized by that it comprises:

a first and second turn disc axel (3,22),

a first and second bridge section (4,20) that each has a hole in both ends of the bottom surface,

a first and second flexible fender (5, 1 1 ) each with a trough hole, and

a pontoon (1 , 19),

arranged either as choice A:

where the first and second turn disc pin (3) is fixed on the pontoon (1 ), and the first and second flexible fenders (6) are fixed on the bottom surfaces of the first and second bridge sections (4), respectively, where the trough holes therein correspond with the holes in the bridge sections (4),

or arranged as choice B:

where the first and second flexible fenders (1 1 ) are fixed on the pontoon (19), a first and second lower turn dis (23), with an outer diameter which is at least as large as the hole in the first and second flexible fenders (1 1 ), is fixed around the first and second turn disc axels (22), and

a plurality of flexible connections (13) attach the first and second turn discs (23) to the pontoon (19),

wherein:

the holes in the bridge sections (4,20) are at least as large as the outer diameter of the turn disc axel (3,22),

the holes in the fenders (5,1 1 ) are at least as large as the outer diameter of the turn disc axel (3,22),

the first and second turn disc axel (3,22) are arranged at least partially inside respectively the first and second flexible fenders (5, 1 1 ).

2. Flexible joint in accordance with claim 1 , characterized by that the turn disc axel (3,22) has an outer diameter that is substantially smaller than the diameter of the hole of the bridge sections (4,20) arranged there above.

3. Flexible joint in accordance with claim 1 choice B, characterized by that the flexible fender (1 1 ), preferably of rubber, is fastened to the turn disc pontoon (19), and the lower turn disc (23) with turn disc axel (22) is arranged on top of the fender and fastened with several flexible ties (13), preferably chains, to the turn disc pontoon (19).

4. Flexible joint in accordance with claim 1 choice B, characterized by that the lower turn disc (23) with turn disc axel (22) is fastened to the top side of the flexible fender (1 1 ).

5. Flexible joint in accordance with any of the previous claim, characterized by that above the turn disc pontoon (1 ,19), more preferably between the bridge sections (4,20) and the flexible fenders (5,1 1 ), and around the axial axes to the flexible fender is arranged a synchronizing organ (26), preferably one or more chains, which connects the two bride sections, where the synchronizing organ crosses itself so that when seen from above the synchronizing organ forms a figure 8 with the axial axes to the flexible fender in the holes of the 8.

6. Flexible joint in accordance with any of the previous claim, characterized by that the hole in the bottom surface of the bridge section (4,20) are through holes.

7. Flexible joint in accordance with claim 6, characterized by that it further comprises: a crossing bridge (7,15) with a first and second bot (8,21 ) sticking out of the bottom surface thereof, where the turn disc axes are pipe shaped and arranged to receive the first and second bolts (8,21 ), respectively,

wherein

the crossing bridge (7, 15) is in contact with the upper surfaces of the first and second bridge sections (4,20),

the holes in the pipe shaped turn disc axes (3,22) are at least as large as the diameter of the bolts (8,21 ), and

the first and second bolts (8,21 ) are arranged at least partly inside of the first and second pipe shaped turn disc axis (3,22), respectively.

8. Flexible joint in accordance with claim 7, characterized by that the crossing bridge (15) comprises a middle section (18) and a first and second end section (17), where the end sections can glide into the middle section, and the first and second bolts (8,21 ) of the crossing bridge are arranged on the first and second end sections, respectably.

9. Flexible joint in accordance with claim 8, characterized by that the middle section (18) comprises a flexible joint (16), where the middle section is preferably jointed at its middle.

10. Flexible joint in accordance with claim 7, characterized by the pipe shaped turn disc axis (3,22) has an inner diameter that is substantially larger than the diameter of the underlying bolts (8,21 ) in the crossing bridge (7,15). 1 1. Floating pier, characterized by that it comprises a plurality of serially connected flexible joints in accordance with claims 1 -10.

Description:
FLEXIBLE JOINTS BETWEEN FLOATING PIER SEGMENTS

The field of the inention

The present intention comprises a flexible joint between floating pier segments, and a floating pier.

Background and known art

From old times of it has been a large challenge many places to move people and cargo safely aboard a ship or to shore. This problem has traditionally been solved by building stationary docks or docking arrangement. Where nature allowed there were usually established small coastal towns that later grew into larger cities. Another thing that also was a large challenge, was in locations around the world where the height differences between high and low tide was large, often several meters, At such locations it is problematic to use conventional docks.

Different floating docks have been used. For instance, the allies used mobile floating docks during the landing in Normandy during the second world war. Different versions of floating cement docks have also been used other places.

Some years ago an entirely new type of flexible floating pier was introduced, called SeaWalk. This was a concept that was mainly constructed in order to serve the fast growing cruise industry and its need for cheap docking solutions that could be established fast, at an affordable cost, without much damage to the nature.

The SeaWalk concept comprises sections where several bridges are connected together and where the bridges rest on floating pontoons. Each section is connected by large pontoons 19 mounted and where the ends of each section also has turn discs that are connected to the turn discs on the pontoons. When the concept is built up in this manner, it becomes flexible both lengthwise and side shifting. In other words, the SeaWalk concept can be connected to and follow the movements of an anchored ship at the same time as the passages can board or disembark the ship safely. The SeaWalk concept can also be folded up when not in use. Objects of the present invention

The SeaWalk concept is now established in many ports and it functions very well. But we now also see that the concept has a far wider potential than just transporting cruise passengers safely to shore in relatively sheltered environments.

The concept can be used for a number of other tasks, such as bringing to shore gas and oil products, and other goods, in addition to military operations Then it will also be necessary to design the concept in a different way, so that the turn disc joint can handle the load large waves will put on the system.

The challenge, as the concept is designed today, is that each section will move independently of the other sections and also independently of the large turn disc pontoons that connects two sections. When this happened, the turn disc axes and the structure of the bridges are subject to loads that may deform and eventually destroy them.

The preset invention discloses a new type of flexible joints that connect two or more bridge sections into floating constructions. These sections may also be called barges, where the connecting joints are made in such a way that they do not subject the structures of the barges large loads when they are subjugated to large waves The floating barges of the SeaWalk system can also be referred to as floating constructions, platforms, dock segments or pier segments.

By using he flexible joints between floating piers in accordance with the present invention one achieves a substantial flexibility in the joints, so that no tension build up that can damage the floating pier. This is done by using flexible fenders in the joints between the bridge sections and the underlying turn disc pontoons, and additionally adding a little extra play in the holes by the axes therefor, allowing for movement in all planes. Thus, the flexible fenders takes up the tension in the system, not the turn disc axes that connects the bridge sections with the turn disc pontoons, and these are not subjugated to unnecessary forces Summary of the invention and preferred embodiments

Thus the flexible joint in accordance with the present invention is characterized by that it comprises:

a first and second turn disc axel,

a first and second bridge section that each has a hole in both ends of the bottom surface,

a first and second flexible fender each with a trough hole, and

a pontoon,

arranged either as choice A:

where the first and second turn disc pin is fixed on the pontoon, and the first and second flexible fenders are fixed on the bottom surfaces of the first and second bridge sections, respectively, where the trough holes therein correspond with the holes in the bridge sections,

or arranged as choice B:

where the first and second flexible fenders are fixed on the pontoon, a first and second lower turn dis, with an outer diameter which is at least as large as the hole in the first and second flexible fenders, is fixed around the first and second turn disc axels, and

a plurality of flexible connections attach the first and second turn discs to the pontoon,

wherein:

the holes in the bridge sections are at least as large as the outer diameter of the turn disc axel,

the holes in the fenders are at least as large as the outer diameter of the turn disc axel,

the first and second turn disc axel are arranged at least partially inside respectively the first and second flexible fenders.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention the turn disc axel has an outer diameter that is substantially smaller than the diameter of the hole of the bridge sections arranged there above. Thus play is achieved, which adds flexibility that release tensions in the system.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention with choice B, the flexible fender, preferably of rubber, is fastened to the turn disc pontoon, and the lower turn disc with turn disc axel is arranged on top of the fender and then fastened with several flexible ties, preferably chains, to the turn disc pontoon. Examples of other flexible ties that can be used are cables, ropes, vires etc. An example of other flexible fenders than rubber fenders are fenders with for instance ball joints, or produce by soft plastic

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention with choice B, the lower turn disc with turn disc axel is fastened to the top side of the flexible fender.

The system then becomes more rigid.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention there is arranged above the turn disc pontoon, more preferably between the bridge sections and the flexible fenders, and around the axial axes to the flexible fender, a synchronizing organ, preferably one or more chains, which connects the two bride sections, where the synchronizing organ crosses itself so that when seen from above the

synchronizing organ forms a figure 8 with the axial axes to the flexible fender in the holes of the 8, where the synchronizing organ is preferably fastened on each of the bridge sections.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention the holes in the bottom surface of the bridge section are through holes. The holes can stick up only in the bottom of the bridge section, so that it can receive the turn disc axis there. If it is a trough hoe the turn disc axis can also go through. Thus, also the bolts form the bottom surface of the crossing bridge can sit directly therein if the turn disc axis is also pipe shaped.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention it further comprises: a crossing bridge with a first and second bot sticking out of the bottom surface thereof, where the turn disc axes are pipe shaped and arranged to receive the first and second bolts, respectively,

wherein

the crossing bridge is in contact with the upper surfaces of the first and second bridge sections,

the holes in the pipe shaped turn disc axes are at least as large as the diameter of the bolts, and

the first and second bolts are arranged at least partly inside of the first and second pipe shaped turn disc axis, respectively. The bolts sticking out from the bottom surface of the crossing bridge may be shaped as pins or similarly, they are mainly meant to sit loosely inside the pipe shaped turn disc axes and will therefore have a shape and size adapted thereto.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention the crossing bridge comprises a middle section and a first and second end section, where the end sections can glide into the middle section, and the first and second bolts of the crossing bridge are arranged on the first and second end sections, respectably. The middle section preferably comprises a flexible joint. The overlaying crossing bridge is in accordance with a preferred embodyment devided into severa sections, for example 3 sections, where the sections that are fastened to the turn disc bolt can glide inn and out of the middle sections. The middle section is preferably jointed at its middle.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention the pipe shaped turn disc axis has an inner diameter that is substantially larger than the diameter of the underlying bolts in the crossing bridge.

Thus the floating pier according to the present invention comprises a plurality of serially connected flexible joints as described above.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention the flexible joint is characterized by that between the bridge section and upper turn disc, there is mounted a flexible fender, preferably made out of rubber. This fender makes it possible for the bridge section with a flexible fender fastened thereto, and a underlying turn disc, to move independently of the turn disc pontoon with the mounted underlying turn disc, without subjugating the construction to structural damages. The pipe shaped turn disc axis preferably has a diameter that is substantially smaller than the diameter of the hoe in the above laying bridge section.

Description of the figures

Preferred embodiments fo the present invention shall now be described in more detail with reference to the accompanying figures, wherein:

Figure 1 shows a drawing of a floating pier comprising a pouralety of serially connected flexible joints in accordance with the presrent invention, seen from above.

Figure 2A and 2B shows a cross section of a preferred embodiment of the present invention, seen form the side.

Figure 3 shows a cross section of a preferred embodiment of the present invention, seen from the side.

Figure 4 shows a cross section of an embodiment of the present invention, ween from the side, where only a bridge section, a fender and a turn disc axis are shown, and the possible play of the bridge section is shown.

Figure 5 shows a cross section of a preferred embodiment of the present invention, seen from the side. The pontoon and crossing bridge is not shown.

Figure 6A-D shows a synchronizing organ, seen on the underside of the bridge sections in figures 6A and 6B, without the bridge section in 6D, and from the side in figure 6C.

Figure 7 shows a flexible fender seen form the side.

Figures 2A and 3 shows a through running cross section, where the cross section is taken from the middle of the construction. Thus, for example the side walls of the pipe shaped turn disc axis 3 is shown, and in the same manner the inner and outer limits of the walls of the flexible fender 5 that is shaped as a wheel and surround the turn disc axis 3, and again is arranged in the middle of the bridge section 4 which therefore is not cut in two, as it may appear on figure 2A, but is a continual bridge section.

Figure explanation:

1. Turn disc pontoon

2. Lower turn disc

3. Turn disc axis

4. Bridge section

5. Flexible fender

6. Upper turn disc

7. Crossing bridge

8. Underlying bolts crossing bridge

9. Clearing between pipe shaped turn disc axis and hole in the bridge section

10. Gliding disc

11. Flexible fender - underlying

12. Underlying turn disc with turn disc axis

13. Chain

14. Above laying turn disc

15. Crossing bridge - divided into tree parts

16. Joint middle section crossing bridge

17. End sections crossing bridge

18. Middle section crossing bridge

19. Pontoon

20. Bridge section

21. Underlying bolts crossing bridge

22. Pipe shaped turn disc axis

23. Lower turn disc

24. Synchronizing support

25. Synchronizing track

26. Synchronizing organ

27. Fender flange

28. Fender profile

29. Extra pontoon Detailed description of the present intention

The present invention comprises a flexible connection between bridge sections and turn disc pontoons. When such flexible connections are mounted on for example a SeaWalk concept this concept will be able to handle large waves and high seas without taking damage therefrom, wither on the turn discs or the bridge sections.

Figure 1 shows flexible connections according to the present invention, coupled in serial to make a floating pier. The flexible connections of the turn disc pontoons 1 ,19 are here shown with the bridge sections 4,20 arranged folded up in relation to each other, giving the floating bridge two breaks. The bridge sections are here shown as divided into 3 parts each, they may of course comprise only one part or more parts. They are also shown with extra pontoons 29 since the distance between the turn disc pontoons here is large enough that extra support is needed. How many extra pontoons 29 that will be needed is something the technically skilled person will know in relation to the length of the bridge sections, and is not discussed herein. Even if the extra pontoons 29 does not need to be swung they may of course be given the same shape as the turn disc pontoons in order to be flexible in relation to the bridge sections. Thus, the creation of tension during use, especially in high seas, are avoided.

Figure 1 thus shows a partially folded up floating pier, that may for example be arranged towards land. When it is then to be used, one my change the direction and length thereof by turning the bridge sections around the flexible connections, as well as the connection to land as shown at the bottom of the figure. As can be seen on the figure one achieve almost 360 degree rotation around each flexible connection, and thus a floating pier made up of flexible connections in accordance with the present invention is very adjustable.

Figure 2A shows a preferred embodiment of the present invention. On figure 2A the new flexible connection is shown. We can here see 1 which is a turn disc pontoon where the deck can be 10 meter or broader in diameter or with. The size of the deck/top surface of the pontoon 1 will be adjusted to what load and thus the size/with one is to transport across the bridges. The lower turn disc 2 is a turn disc of steel that is mounted fixedly (preferably welded) to the pontoon. 3 is a pipe shaped turn disc axis (pin). The pipe shaped turn dis axis 3 is mounted fixedly to the turn disc 2. Further we see a bridge section 4 connected to the turn disc pontoon. The core of the flexible connection is a large circular flexible fender (for example out of rubber) 5 shaped as a circular wheel. The outer diameter of this fender may for example be 150 cm and the height of the fender can be for example 60-100 cm. These are preferred embodiments but one can of course make the fender larger or smaller.

The top side of the fender is fastened to the bridge section 4, and on the underside of the fender there is fastened a turn disc made out of steel 6 that fits together with the lower turn disc 2 mounted fixedly on the pontoon 1. Thus the pontoon 1 with the lower turn disc 2 will move as one unit in relation to the bridge section 4 with the fender 5 with the upper turn disc 6, where the turn discs 2,6 can move against each other because the upper turn disc 6 with mounted fender 5 and bridge section 4 can be turned about the turn disc axis 3, which is then functioning as an axis. Two or more bridge sections fastened on the same pontoon may be swung in relation to each other. Therefore, it is desirable to have a gap between the bridge sections, dimensioned so that the bridge sections are not pinched against each other if they are not arranged in the same direction but instead are arranged with an angle in relation to each other.

On figure 2A we can also see a crossing bridge 7. The crossing bridge 7 crosses the gap between the two bridge sections. This bridge 7 connects the two bridge sections 4 fastened to the turn disc pontoon 1 and insure safe passage for all persons and goods. The crossing bridge has two underlying bolts 8 which fits down into the pipe shaped turn disc axis 3. The underlying bolts 8 are fastened in the crossing bridge 7. Since the bolts 8 are arranged in the turn disc axes 3 the crossing bridge 7 will move together with the pontoon 1 it is arranged above.

Between the lower turn disc 2 and the upper turn disc 6 there is arranged a gliding disc 10 of for example Teflon in order to secure that the two discs glide against each other almost without friction and in a soundless manner.

Further we see that the hole in the bridge section 9 where the turn disc axis 3 goes through has a substantially larger diameter than the turn disc axis. We also see that the inner diameter of the pipe shaped turn disc axis 3 has a substantially larger diameter than the bolts 8. When the joint is designed in this way, the flexible fenders 5 of for example rubber will allow the bridges 4 to more independently of each other and independently of the turn disc pontoon 1 without the steel construction being subjected structural damage as long as the movements does not exceed the clearing in the holes between the turn dis axis 3 and the hole in the bridge section 9 and the clearing between the axis 8 in the crossing bridge and the inside diameter of the pipe shaped turn disc axis 3.

The flexible fenders can as described herein be constructed from different materials, an have different dimensions adjusted to the dimensions of the floating pier, the load it should be able to take, and how much movement there is in the waters it is to be placed in Usually they will be wheel shaped, but may have slightly different shapes as show non the different figures. Figure 7 shows for example a fender 5,7 that has a convex profile 28, and a flange 27 around the sides of the“wheel”. These can be used in order to fasten the fender with screws, bolts etc.

The joint in accordance with the present invention may generally be designed with different degree of gap between these parts that are fitted loosely into each other. - The more gap, the more instability but also more adaptability to movement, and thus more flexibility in relation to the movements of the water. In some instances it may be desirable to not have much gap/clearing at all, if one is not to subject the construction to notable movements from the water, and desire a as solid and stabile of a structure as possible. But usually it is desirable with a gap between the inside of the turn di pontoon and the outside of the turn disc axis therein, and also between the inside of the hoe in the bridge construction and the turn dis axis therein. For example the flexible fender can have an inner diameter of 0-100cm more than the outer diameter of the turn disc axis. Preferably the flexible fender will have an inner diameter of 15-60 cm more than the outer diameter of the turn disc axis for large flexibility but at the same time good stability. The most preferred is 20-40 cm for most waters the floating pier will be installed in.

Independent thereof it may also be desirable with spaces between the bolts that stick down from the crossing bridge and the receiving how in the bridge section. In figure 2A there is shown a though hole 9 with the same dimension as the inside of the fenders 5 and the hole in the bridge construction 4. In this hole the turn disc axis 3 sits as shown as pipe shaped . The bolts 8 from the underside of the crossing bridge 7, here shown as pins, rest inside the pipe shaped turn disc axis. But the turn disc axis does not need to be going entirely through the bridge section, as a pipe with the same dimension the whole way through.

Figure 2B shows a similar embodiment of the invention a figure 2A. Here the bridge sections 4 has a hole for the turn disc axis 3, but the hole only enter the underside of the bridge sections, and does not go through with the same diameter The bridge section instead have smaller hole that the bolts 8 may pas though and down into the turn disc axes 3. Even if the turn disc axes are shown here as hollow pipe, they are in this case capped, and the tops thereof only has a smaller hole corresponding to the bolts 8.

Figure 5 shows another embodiment. Here no crossing bridge is shown. The turn disc axis 3,22 enter the bridge section 4,20 in a non-through hole that extends lightly more than half way up into the bridge section. The turn disc axis is then capped, but with a smaller hole in the middle thereof. From the bridge section there is then arranged a receiving hole down into the cylindrical turn disc axis. This receiving hole may then receive a bolt form the crossing bridge.

If one is to place a SeeWalk construction in an open harbor with relatively high waves it may be an idea to modify the flexible links further. One modification that may be made is to in addition the two gaps shown in figure 2A add an additional gap and thus more play. The first gap in figure 2A is then the gap between the outside of the turn disc axis 3 and the though hole 9 in the bridge section 4 and the fenders 5. The second gap in figure 2A is the gap between the inside of the hollow turn disc axis 3 and the pins 8 to the crossing bridge 7. In addition one can add an additional gap, and among other things this is shown in figure 3.

The turn disc axis 3 in figure 2A is mounted fixedly in relation to the pontoon 1 , and can therefore not be moved in relation thereto. This is achieved either by the turning disc axis 3 being fastened directly to the pontoon 1 or by the turn disc axis 3 being fastened to a turn disc 2 that then is fastened to the pontoon 1. In figure 3 an alternative embodiment is shown where one achieves an additional gap and thus more play by releasing the turn disc axis 22 from the pontoon 19

This is done by fastening the flexible fenders (of for example rubber) 11 to the pontoon 19 (In the embodiment as shown in figure 2A the flexible fenders 5 were fastened to the pontoon 19 instead). The lower turn disc 23 and the turn disc axis 22 is shaped as a module 12 and it is laid on top of the fender 11 and is fastened to the pontoon 19 by a number of flexible connections 13, for example chains, or it can be fastened to the top of the flexible fender 11.

If the module 12 is fastened to the top of the flexible fender 11 one achieve a similar solution as in figure A, one just exchange which parts are put on top of each other. But if the module 12 is not fastened, but instead is laying loosely on top of the fender 11 , it can be moved by being able to be moved over by as much as the clearing between the outside of the turn disc axis 22 in the module 12 and the inside of the fender 11 allows. This then adds a third gap, and more movement is allowed into the system. The flexible connections may be chains mounted with a distance from the fender 11 on the pontoon 19 that allow a certain play, or they can be flexible bands, or other flexible connections. The main purpose is that they allow for sufficient movement for the turn dis axis 22 in the module 12 to be moved freely inside the through going hole in the fender 11 , but at the same time not allow so much movement that the hole turn disc axis 22 in the module 12 can“jump” out thereof.

The upper turn disc 14 is preferably welded to the bridge section 20 above. The crossing bridge may comprise of one part 7 as shown in figure A, but it is preferable if it also is more flexible in order to cope with more movement. An alternative crossing bridge that can withstand more movement but is more complex is shown in figure B. In this embodiment the crossing bridge 15 can also have a special embodiment It can be made as tree parts 17,18,17 where two of the parts 17 with underlying bolts 21 are fastened to the pipe shaped turn disc bolts (in the underlying turn dis 23 with turn dis axis 22 12) But the crossing bridge 15 should in addition have a middle section 18 the two parts 17 can glide into because the distance between the bolts 21 in the bridge sections 20 will vary when the system is moving in big waves. This construction will in principle be able to tolerate all kinds of waves and keep the construction form being destroyed even if it is subjected to extreme weather.

The midsection 18 to the crossing bridge 15 is thus adjusted to the adjacent outer parts 17 of the crossing bridge 15 in such a manner that the parts 17 glide into the end pieces of the midsection 18. If two adjacent pontoons 19 are moving up and down in the water in relation to each other, the crossing bridge 15 between them may then change length in order to adjust to these changes in a dynamic manner. The gliding of the end pieces into the midsection can happen mainly in one plane, so that the crossing bridge remains fairly straight, or the gliding may also occur sideways so that the crossing bridge ends up with one or two bends. If the gliding is only in one plane; so that all the sections 17,18,17 in the crossing bridge 15 are mainly parallel, the crossing bridge will also be mainly parallel to the pontoon 19 it is straddling, and this is the preferred embodiment. If the gliding is also sideways, one will have a bit more flexibility but also less stability.

The midsection 18 may also in addition be jointed at the middle 16. This embodiment is shown on figure B. This will in that case allow turning around the joint 16. The turning may be sideways and/or vertically. A joint 16 with a vertical turn is especially useful in order to take into account that neighboring pontoon s may be located on wave crests or in wave troughs, so that the height in the water varies. A joint 16 with a vertical turn is therefore especially preferred. If a pontoon for example is located in a wave trough while the neighbor pontoon is on a wave crest, such a joint will then lead to that on figure 3 the two end pieces 17,17 of the crossing bridge 15 will point downwards towards the middle of the pontoon, and the middle section 16 will form a V-form with the joint 16 at its center. In other words, the crossing bridge 17 will have a bend with the joint 16 allowing large differences in height between neighboring pontoons.

The bridge sections themselves will also be able to tolerate a certain height difference from waves because the flexible joint in accordance with the present invention allows the horizontal plane of the bridge section to have an incline in relation to the horizontal plane of the fender. This s shown in figure 4. The stippled lines thereon shows how the horizontal plane of the bridge section moves. Here an incline of +/- 5 degrees is shown, something that will be typical for construction in accordance with the present invention. This enables the bridge sections to handle not only waves, but also large loads from cargo transported on the floating pier. If two bridge sections on the same pontoon has the opposite incline, one can achieve a total incline or decline in relation to the neighbor pontoon of 10 degrees.

Figures 6A-D shows, arranged on the underside of the bridge sections, around the same axes as the flexible fenders and turn disc axes, a synchronizing organ. On figures 6A and 6B the two bridge sections 4,20 are shown. The turn disc pontoon both the two bridge sections are fastened to and the crossing bridge are not shown on any of the figures 6A-D. Figure 6A shows the two bridge sections 4,20 with the ends against each other so that the floating pier is in an extended position, while in figure 6B the bridge sections 4,20 are arranged next to each other so the floating pier is folded up around the joint. Figures 6A, 6B and 6D is from such a point of view that we look up towards the bottom of the bridge sections, while figure 6C shows this from the side. AA in figure 6C refers to plane AA in figure 6B. BB in figure 6D refers to plane BB in figure 6C.

The synchronizing organ may be arranged anywhere height wise (seen in relation to the surface of the water) above the turn disc pontoon. If a crossing bridge is used this means that the synchronizing organ is arranged between the crossing bridge and the turn disc pontoon. It may be arranged under or over the flexible fenders, or even on the flexible fencers. In accordance with the preferred embodiment as shown in figure 6 the synchronizing organ is arranged between the bridge sections 4,20 and the flexible fenders 5,11. Figure 6C shows a synchronizing support 24 in this position. The synchronizing support 24 has, in this instance, a synchronizing track 25 the synchronizing organ 26 fits into. The synchronizing track may of course also have other shapes, such as an edge, a flange, etc., and its task is to hold the synchronizing organ in place, so it will be shaped for this purpose. Even if chains are shown in figures 6A-D as synchronizing organs, other synchronizing organs may of course be used, such as cables, wires etc. Here we show that the synchronizing organ extend around the axial axes of the flexible fenders, and forms a number 8 figure where the holes of the 8 is the axial axis of the flexible fenders, where the synchronizing support 24 is arranged. This is especially apparent on figures 6B and 6D. On figure 6A the synchronizing organ/chain is running in the track 25 so that not the whole chain can be seen on the figure, while in figures 6B and 6D it is shown how the chain goes around the synchronizing support 24.

The purpose of the synchronizing organ 26 is to synchronize the movement of the two bridge sections fastened to the same pontoon. When the joint is to be opened, so that the bridge sections can be moved from the position shown on figure 6B, the synchronizing organ will result in both bridge sections being opened/turned equally much in relation to the pontoon thereunder. Thus is avoided a situation like the left bridge section being arranged as in figure 6A and the right one as in figure 6B; both will point to the same degree but in the opposite direction from the pontoon they are located on. Thus the turning of the bridge sections around the axial axes of the fenders is synchronized, and the joints are opened in a synchronized manner. Even if the flexible joint in accordance with the present invention is described herein as comprising two bridge sections fastened to one pontoon, it is of course possible to have more than two bridge sections fastened to one pontoon if desirable. Thus, one may end up with a floating pier with side branches. For example, one may at the end of a pier in accordance with the present invention have not one bridge section of the same size as the section connected to the rest of the floating pier, but two smaller bridge sections that by means of the flexible joints may point in different desired directions. Other combinations with pontoons with more than two bridge sections fastened thereto is also possible and comprised by the present invention.