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Title:
MOORING CONNECTOR FOR CONNECTING SYNTHETIC FIBRE ROPES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/145723
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The mooring connector 10 has a hollow body or shell (12) and a central core (14). The hollow body or shell (12) is formed from an engineering polymer, e.g. polyamide, and is generally cylindrical and has two shell parts (16, 18). The hollow body (12) has an outer surface (20) and an inner surface (22). The outer surface (20) has a central groove portion or rope running surface (24) and two outer groove portions or rope running surfaces (26, 28). The two outer groove portions or rope running surfaces (26, 28) are tapered, such that the outer groove portions (26, 28) are not equally spaced from the central groove portion (24) around the entire circumference of the hollow body or shell (12). The central core (14) is a solid body that is formed from a metallic material, for example steel. The central core (14) is generally cylindrical and has a shape that is configured to correspond to the shape of the recess (30) of the hollow body or shell (12). The central core (14) has a central portion (44) and arms (46, 48) that extend from the central portion (44) to outer flanges (50, 52). The diameter of the central core (14) at the outer flanges (50, 52) and the central portion (44) is greater than the diameter of the central core (14) at the arms (46, 48). This is to ensure that the central core (14) has the required strength in the areas of the mooring connector (10) that supports a rope, in use.

Inventors:
BRIGGS, Nigel (69 Parkway, Eastbourne Sussex BN20 9DZ, BN20 9DZ, GB)
BANFIELD, Stephen (69 Parkway, Eastbourne Sussex BN20 9DZ, BN20 9DZ, GB)
MCCORMACK, Damien (48 Thurmaston Boulevard, Leicester Leicestershire LE4 9LN, LE4 9LN, GB)
Application Number:
GB2019/050205
Publication Date:
August 01, 2019
Filing Date:
January 24, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
NYLACAST LTD (480 Thurmaston Boulevard, Leicester LE4 9LN, LE4 9LN, GB)
TENSION TECHNOLOGY INTERNATIONAL LTD (69 Parkway, Eastbourne Sussex BN20 9DZ, BN20 9DZ, GB)
International Classes:
B63B21/04; B63B21/20; F16G11/14
Foreign References:
EP2489584A12012-08-22
US20170066507A12017-03-09
US20170297658A12017-10-19
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CROSTON, David (4 More London Riverside, London Warwickshire SE1 2AU, SE1 2AU, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A mooring connector including a central core and a shell, wherein the shell includes a rope running surface.

2. A mooring connector according to claim 1, wherein the central core includes a first material and the shell includes a second material, wherein the first material is different to the second material .

3. A mooring connector according to claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the central core includes a metallic material and the shell includes a non- metallic material. 4. A mooring connector according to claim 1, claim 2 or claim 3, wherein the shell substantially surrounds the central core.

5. A mooring connector according to claim 1, claim 2, claim 3 or claim

4. wherein the shell has an inner surface that is arranged to receive the central core.

6. A mooring connector according to claim 5, wherein the inner surface includes a recess to receive the central core. 7. A mooring connector according to any of claims 1 to 6, wherein the shell has an outer surface on which the rope running surface is formed.

8. A mooring connector according to any of claims 1 to 7, wherein the shell includes a plurality of rope running surfaces.

9. A mooring connector according to claim 8, wherein at least one rope running surface of the plurality of rope running surfaces is tapered.

10. A mooring connector according to claim 8 or claim 9, wherein the shell includes a central groove in which a first rope running surface of the plurality of rope running surfaces is located.

11. A mooring connector according to claim 8, claim 9 or claim 10, wherein the shell includes an outer groove in which a second rope running surface of the plurality of rope running surfaces is located.

12. A mooring connector according to any of claims 1 to 11, wherein the shell includes a first shell part and a second shell part.

13. A mooring connector according to any of claims 1 to 12, the mooring connector further including an outer casing that is configured to substantially surround the shell.

14. A mooring connector according to claim 12 or claim 13, wherein the outer casing includes a recess that is configured to allow a rope to pass therethrough.

15. A mooring connector according to claim 14, wherein the outer casing includes a plurality of recesses that are configured to allow a rope to pass therethrough.

16. A mooring connector according to any of claims 12 to 15, wherein the outer casing includes a first casing part and a second casing part.

17. A mooring connector according to claim 16, when dependent on claim 15, in which the first casing part includes at least one recess of the plurality of recesses that are configured to allow a rope to pass therethrough and the second casing part includes a further at least one recess of the plurality of recesses that are configured to allow a rope to pass therethrough.

Description:
MOORING CONNECTOR FOR CONNECTING SYNTHETIC FIBRE ROPES

The present invention relates to a mooring connector, for example a marine mooring connector.

Mooring connectors are devices that are employed to connect components of offshore installations, for example, anchor chains or floating renewable energy devices, via mooring ropes.

Such mooring connectors are critical for the operation of offshore installations and so must be able to withstand the extreme, high energy, offshore environment.

Mooring ropes are held under tension against the surface of the connector and the connector and rope running through it move relative to each other due to the movement resulting from swell, the tides, wind and other phenomena.

Mooring ropes for large vessels such as tankers, gas carriers and container ships have typically been made from steel wire. However, these ropes are heavy which makes them difficult and time consuming to handle, placing an additional burden on crew and increasing time at berth. Also, as the wire ropes become worn, individual wires break away and they can cut the hands of rope handling personnel. Also, in the salt water environment steel ropes can be subject to corrosion.

Accordingly, synthetic fibre ropes have been offered as an alternative to steel. Generally these synthetic fibre ropes are made from a high modulus polyethylene fibre, aramid fibre or liquid crystal polyester fibre, all of which combine high strength with good resistance to stretch and make their performance largely equivalent to steel wire rope. The ropes are lighter and easier to handle. They tend not to present sharp fibres as they wear. Also, steel ropes are prone to sparking as they drag along the deck and that risk, which is significant when it occurs on a tanker or gas carrier, is eliminated with the synthetic fibre rope.

One issue with the synthetic fibre ropes in relation to steel ropes is that they have a relatively poor wear resistance. Mooring connectors are generally made of steel. Whilst the steel surface does not present a wear problem for steel wire rope, the surface is rough enough to accelerate wear in synthetic fibre ropes. Steel mooring connectors are also heavy and prone to rust, which increases the abrasive qualities of the connector when the synthetic fibre rope is passing over it.

Some mooring connectors include exposed spools that are made from non-metallic materials, for example polymers. The steel components of these mooring connectors still causes wear to synthetic fibre ropes. One solution has been to coat the outer surface of synthetic fibre ropes with a polyurethane sheath; however, chaffing and wear of the polyurethane sheath and underlying synthetic fibre rope is still a challenge.

According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a mooring connector including a central core and a shell, wherein the shell includes a rope running surface.

The combination of a central core and a shell enables the provision of a high strength, yet lightweight, mooring connector.

The central core may include a first material and the shell may include a second material, wherein the first material is different to the second material . In this way, the material properties of the central core and the shell can be tailored to optimise the strength and weight of the mooring connector as well as the friction properties of the rope running surface. The central core may include a metallic material, for example steel, to ensure that the mooring connector has the required strength characteristics. The shell may include a non-metallic material, for example an engineering polymer such as polyamide, to ensure that the weight of the mooring connector is controlled, that the rope running surface has desirable friction properties and the mooring connector has good corrosion resistance.

The shell may substantially surround the central core. In this way, the corrosion resistance of the mooring connector is further improved.

The shell may have an inner surface that is arranged to receive the central core. The mooring connector may, therefore, have an improved service life. The shell may have an outer surface on which the rope running surface is formed. The shell may include a plurality of rope running surfaces.

At least one rope running surface of the plurality of rope running surfaces may be tapered. The reliability of the mooring connector may therefore be improved.

The shell may include a central groove in which a first rope running surface of the plurality of rope running surfaces is located. The shell may include an outer groove in which a second rope running surface of the plurality of rope running surfaces is located.

The shell may include a first shell part and a second shell part. The first shell part and the second shell part may be fastened together to secure the central core within the shell. The mooring connector may further include an outer casing that is configured to substantially surround the shell. In this way, the reliability and service life of the mooring connector may be increased.

The outer casing may include a recess that is configured to allow a rope to pass therethrough.

The outer casing may include a plurality of recesses that are configured to allow one or more ropes to pass therethrough.

The outer casing may include a first casing part and a second casing part. The first casing part may include at least one recess of the plurality of recesses that are configured to allow a rope to pass therethrough and the second casing part may include a further at least one recess of the plurality of recesses that are configured to allow a rope to pass therethrough.

Embodiments of the present invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying figures in which :

Figure 1 is a perspective view of a mooring connector according to a first embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 2 is an exploded view of the central core and shell of the mooring connector of Figure 1;

Figure 3a is a perspective view of the inner surface of the shell of the mooring connector of Figure 1;

Figure 3b is a perspective view of the outer surface of the shell of the mooring connector of Figure 1; and

Figure 4 is an exploded view of the mooring connector of Figure 1 with an outer casing. Referring to the Figures, there is a mooring connector 10. The mooring connector 10 has a hollow body or shell 12 and a central core 14.

The hollow body or shell 12 is formed from an engineering polymer, e.g. polyamide, is generally cylindrical and has two shell parts 16, 18. The hollow body 12 has an outer surface 20 and an inner surface 22.

The outer surface 20 has a central groove portion or rope running surface 24 and two outer groove portions or rope running surfaces 26, 28. The two outer groove portions or rope running surfaces 26, 28 are tapered, as shown in Figure 3a, such that the outer groove portions 26, 28 are not equally spaced from the central groove portion 24 around the entire circumference of the hollow body or shell 12.

With particular reference to Figure 3a, the inner surface 22 has a recess 30 that is defined by an outer wall 32. The recess 30 is shaped such that the thickness of the outer wall 32 is increased in the portions of the hollow body 12 that are inward of the central and outer groove portions 24, 26, 28, as shown in Figure 3a. This is to ensure that the shell 12 has the required strength in the areas of the mooring connector 10 that supports a rope, in use.

With particular reference to Figure 3a, the recess 30 has a central recess region 34, an outer recess region 36 at a first end of the recess 30, an outer recess region 38 at a second end of the recess 30, a first intermediate recess region 40 between the outer recess region 36 and the central recess region 34 and a second intermediate recess region 42 between the outer recess region 38 and the central recess region 34. The diameter of the recess 30 at the outer recess regions 36, 38 and the central recess region 34 is greater than the diameter of the recess 30 at the intermediate recess regions 40, 42.

Referring now to Figure 2, the central core 14 is a solid body that is formed from a metallic material, for example steel. The central core 14 is generally cylindrical and has a shape that is configured to correspond to the shape of the recess 30 of the hollow body or shell 12. The central core 14 has a central portion 44 and arms 46, 48 that extend from the central portion 44 to outer flanges 50, 52. The diameter of the central core 14 at the outer flanges 50, 52 and the central portion 44 is greater than the diameter of the central core 14 at the arms 46, 48. This is to ensure that the central core 14 has the required strength in the areas of the mooring connector 10 that supports a rope, in use.

As shown in Figure 4, the mooring connector 10 also has an outer casing or cover 54. The outer casing or cover 54 is formed from a metallic material or a non-metallic material and has a first casing part or end cap 56 and a second casing part or end cap 58.

The first casing part or end cap 56 has a circular outer face 60, an outer wall 62, an upper flange 64 and a lower flange 66.

The outer wall 62 includes a pair of openings or recesses or cut outs 68, 70 on one side and an opening or recess or cut out 72 on the opposite side. The upper flange 64 includes an aperture or hole 74. Similarly, the lower flange 66 includes an aperture or a hole 76.

In the same way, the second casing part or end cap 58 has a circular outer face 80, an outer wall 82, an upper flange 84 and a lower flange (not shown).

The outer wall 82 includes a pair of openings or recesses or cut outs 88, 90 on one side and a further opening or recess or cut out (not shown) on the opposite side. The upper flange 84 includes an aperture or hole 94. Similarly, the lower flange (not shown) includes an aperture or hole (not shown).

The outer casing 54 also includes connectors 100, 102. The mooring connector is assembled as follows.

The metallic central core 14 is cast from a metallic material. The two shell parts 16, 18 are formed from an engineering polymer, e.g. polyamide.

The central core 14 is fitted into the recess 30 of the shell part 18 such that the outer flange 50 fits within the outer recess region 38, the arm 46 fits within the intermediate recess portion 42, the central portion 44 fits within the central recess region 34, the arm 48 fits within the intermediate recess region 40 and the outer flange 52 fits within the outer recess region 36 of the shell part 18.

The shell part 16 is placed on top of the shell part 18 such that the outer wall 32 of the inner surface 22 of the shell part 16 abuts the outer wall 32 of the inner surface 22 of the shell part 18.

As described above in relation to the shell part 18, the central core 14 fits into the recess 30 of the shell part 16 such that the outer flange 50 of the central core 14 fits into the outer recess region 38 of the shell part 16, the arm 46 fits into the intermediate recess region 42, the central portion 44 fits into the central recess region 34, the arm 48 fits into the intermediate recess region 40 and the outer flange 52 fits into the outer recess region 36 of the shell part 16.

The shell parts 16, 18 may then be bolted or fastened together by any known fastening means.

Once the mooring connector shell and core have been assembled, ropes 104, 106, 108 can be mounted on the outer surface 20 as shown in Figures 1 and 4. The rope 104 is positioned within the central groove 24 of the shell 12, the rope 106 is positioned within the outer groove 26 of the shell 12 and the rope 108 is positioned within the outer groove 28 of the shell 12. The outer casing parts or end caps 56, 58 are then positioned around either end of the mooring connector such that the ropes 106, 108 extend through the openings 68, 70 of the first casing part 56 and through the openings 88, 90 of the second casing part 58 and the rope 104 extends through the opening 70 of the first casing part 56 and the opening (not shown) of the second casing part 58.

To secure the two casing parts 56, 58, the connector 100 is threaded through the apertures 74, 94 of the flanges 64, 84 of the first casing part 56 and the second casing part 58. In the same way, the connector 102 is threaded through the aperture 76 of the flange 66 of the first casing part 56 and the corresponding aperture (not shown) of the flange (not shown) of the second casing part 58. The ropes are arranged around the connector such that the unit is held in compression whilst in operation.

The outer casing of the connector is formed in two-parts to encase and enclose the rope "eyes", thereby keeping the assembly together with the ropes opposed to each other.