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Title:
PORTABLE EQUIPMENT FOR VESSEL MAINTENANCE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/042728
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A portable equipment for the maintenance of vessels, to be used on land or in waterways, it being possible to introduce the same into water. The portable equipment comprises a cover which creates a chamber between said cover and the surface to be worked on, which may be flat or curved (as is the case with lateral sections of, or the bottom of, a ship's hull, the fuselage of an aircraft or underwater sections of an offshore structure, curved roofs or similar surfaces). It comprises a structural system on which the cover rests and which is also capable of lateral movement while maintaining the watertightness of the chamber formed, enabling the uninterrupted execution of works, even in the case of their being on a ship while under way.

Inventors:
PLAZAOLA ROMARIO, Carlos Ramón (Dorado Lakes, Lakehill Casa 155, Panamá, PA)
RODRIGUEZ DEL ROSARIO, Humberto (Parque Lefevre, Altos de Romeral C. 626, Panamá, PA)
SOLANO QUINTERO, Eric Alberto (San Miguelito, Brisas del Golf Calle 23 Casa 186E, Panamá, PA)
MELGAR MARIN, Orlando Melquisided (Avenida Universidad Tecnológica, Edif. Torres de Millán III. Apto.3D, Panamá, PA)
NG LUO, Mario (Bethania, Condado del Rey P.H. King Park Torre 100 Apto 23D, Panamá, PA)
ATILANO, Alvaro (Calle Isaac Hanono. PH Mystic Point, 1200. Apto 33C. Punta Pacífica. Panamá, Panamá, PA)
Application Number:
IB2016/055383
Publication Date:
March 16, 2017
Filing Date:
September 09, 2016
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
UNIVERSIDAD TECNOLÓGICA DE PANAMÁ (Avenida Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá, Vía Puente CentenarioCampus Metropolitano Víctor Levi Sasso,Corregimiento de Ancón, Panamá, PA)
International Classes:
B60P3/42; B60P7/08
Foreign References:
US4861215A1989-08-29
US6626121B12003-09-30
US7931326B22011-04-26
GB2491182A2012-11-28
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Claims:
C L A I M S

1. - A portable equipment for the maintenance of vessels, which comprises at least:

-a structural support destined to remain disposed upon a surface of the vessel whereon the maintenance works are to be performed;

-a cover installed on the surface of the vessel and that is sustained on the structural support.

2. - An equipment as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the structural support comprises a plurality of structural elements linked together by means of pins, and with enough strength to sustain the cover.

3. - An equipment as claimed in claim 2, wherein some of the structural elements comprise a number of slots along which the pins move to enable the adaptation of the structural support to the curvature of the surface.

4. - An equipment as claimed in claim 1 , which further comprises seals, placed at the extremities of the structural support, and that remain in contact with the surface. 5.- An equipment as claimed in claim 1 , which further comprises rubber elements, placed at the extremities of the cover, and that remain in contact with the surface.

6. - An equipment as claimed in claim 1 , which further comprises at least one maintenance task device which displaces through a chamber formed between the cover and the surface.

7. - An equipment as claimed in claim 1 , which further comprises a number of cables, placed throughout the length of the vessel, and configured to enable the displacement of the cover and structural support.

Description:
PORTABLE EQUIPMENT FOR VESSEL MAINTENANCE

OBJECT OF THE INVENTION The present invention pertains to the technical field of elements and tools for the performance of vessel repair and maintenance work; specifically, it may be employed as a watertight cover for the performance of underwater work.

The portable equipment comprises a tunnel-like watertight cover which may be attached to the surface of a vessel and with the capability to adapt to the shape thereof, creating a chamber within which cleaning, painting, inspection or any other kind of work necessary for that surface may be performed. On completion of the work on a particular section, the watertight cover may be displaced along the surface while maintaining its status as a watertight space. For the cases where the surface of the vessel to be worked on is submerged in water, the watertight cover is designed with a hydrodynamic profile in order to reduce the drag force.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Equipments are currently known which comprise a number of relatively small chambers which are installed on the surface of vessels to be painted or repaired. The drawback of these small chambers is that they only enable work such as cleaning, painting or repair welding to be performed on small areas. If massive work is required, such as the painting of large surface areas such as the hull of a vessel, the procedure employed entails taking the vessel to a dry dock.

This procedure presents two great disadvantages:

1. The vessel is not available for sailing throughout the duration of the repair operations, plus the duration of the travel to the dry dock.

2. It entails elevated costs for the repair operations as dues must be paid throughout the time of use of the dry dock. DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention resolves the aforementioned technical problem of requiring the vessels to be transferred to a dry dock when large-scale repairs are to be performed thereon.

With the portable equipment for vessel cleaning and repair, the performance of said operations is enabled even underwater. The equipment enables the creation of isolated, watertight zones within which the works are performed. It likewise enables works to be carried out on large surface areas of the vessel.

The portable equipment comprises a watertight cover which enables the creation of a tunnel-like chamber within which the cleaning and maintenance works may be performed. This is a portable equipment with a cover which creates a chamber within which maintenance works may be performed on land or in waterways, as maintenance and repair equipment may be introduced therein.

The watertight cover may be installed adhering to a flat or curved surface (as is the case with lateral sections of, or the bottom of, a ship's hull, the fuselage of an aircraft or underwater sections of an offshore structure, curved roofs or similar surfaces).

The portable equipment further features a system of rails housed within the chamber formed by the flexible cover, and which enable the management of the controlled movement of the maintenance equipment, such as video inspection cameras, equipment for the cleaning of surfaces, for painting or others.

Furthermore, the watertight cover may be displaced laterally while remaining watertight, this enabling the uninterrupted execution of works even in the case of their being on a ship while under way.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS As a supplement to the description made herein, and for the purpose of aiding the better understanding of the characteristics of the invention, in accordance with a preferred example of a practical embodiment of the same, a set of drawings is attached as an integral part of said description wherein, by way of illustration and not limitation, the following is portrayed:

Figure 1.- Portrays a lateral view of some of the elements of the structure of the portable equipment. Figure 2.- Portrays a view of a transversal cross-section of the portable equipment when extended.

Figure 3.- Portrays a view of a transversal cross-section of the portable equipment when retracted.

Figure 4.- Portrays a lateral view of some of the elements of the portable equipment attached to the hull of a vessel.

Figure 5.- Portrays a perspective view of the portable equipment disposed on the hull of a vessel.

PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

With the aid of figures 1 to 5, some examples of embodiments of the invention are described hereunder.

The following figures are not to scale. The following dimensions or shapes of each of the components of the device may vary. The principal object of the present invention is to provide a portable equipment comprising a structural cover forming a chamber around the surface to be worked upon, wherein equipment for the cleaning or maintenance of the vessel may be employed. This cleaning or maintenance equipment may be used within the chamber formed by the cover for the performance of repair or maintenance activities, or any other related task. The portable equipment comprises a structural support (1 1 , 12) whereon a cover (9) rests, and which is able to withstand the pressure loads undergone by the cover (9) when submerged in the water. In an example of an embodiment the cover (9) is reinforced with metal, this ensuring watertightness and strength.

The cover (9) creates a chamber between itself and the surface (1) to be treated. A device (4) for vessel maintenance tasks, which works on the surface (1) of the vessel, travels through the interior of said chamber. The maintenance task device (4) may be, for example, a robot programmed for the inspection of the surface therein, it being guided by a rail (3). Several maintenance task devices (4) may be used if it is required to perform simultaneous tasks.

The equipment further comprises a seal (8) at the sections of the structural support (1 1 , 12) which are in contact with the surface (1) to be treated. Said seal (8) is preferably manufactured from rubber.

The structural support (11 ,12) further comprises a plurality of structural elements (2,6) linked together by means of pins (5) and with the sufficient strength to support the cover (9). The structural support (1 1 , 12) and the cover (9) can adapt to the curvature of the surface (1) to be treated.

One type of structural element (6) comprises at the extremities thereof a number of slots (7) which enable free movement in the longitudinal direction necessary for the adaptation process of the equipment to the curvature of the surface (1), where applicable. Namely, the pins (5) move along the slots (7) to enable the adaptation of the structural support (1 1 , 12) to the curvature of the surface (1).

The maintenance task device (4) employed for the execution of the repair works moves through the chamber created between the cover (9) and the surface (1) along a given path, for example along a rail (3), as may be seen in figure 1.

The cover (9) likewise features a number of rubber elements (10) linked to the extremities covering the area external to the structural support (1 1 , 12), aiding in the formation of the aforementioned air chamber. This contributes to a reduction in the drag force. It also contributes to a reduction in water leaks from the insulation of the chamber. The equipment may further comprise a plurality of pumps for the removal of localised water situated in sections of the chamber or any zone requiring watertight conditions.

Figure 2 portrays the portable equipment when in the extended position, enabling the maintenance task device (4) of the vessel to operate within the chamber formed by the cover (9) and the surface (1) worked on. In order to move laterally the portable equipment, the rubber element (10) located on the side opposite to the direction of movement, on the external parts of the cover (9), is retracted as far as the position where the seal (8) at the same side is to be found; subsequently, the central chamber is moved until the seal (8) on the side of the direction of movement reaches the position of the rubber element (10) on the same side, and finally, said rubber element (10) is displaced in the direction of movement until the cover (9) is completely extended; thus, the chamber is displaced in a lateral direction, maintaining its watertightness and ready to perform works on another zone or strip of the surface.

Figure 3 portrays the portable equipment in a retracted position. It depicts a cross- sectional view of the surface (1), the profile of the seal (8), the structural support (1 1 , 12) and the cover (9). Figure 4 portrays a detail of the joints of the structural support (11 , 12) depicted as they follow the contour of the surface (1). Figure 5 portrays a perspective view of the appearance of the portable equipment when attached to the hull of the vessel.

Electromechanical means (14, 17) are depicted on the cover; these can be motors coupled to winches and arrays of pulleys to handle the tension in a number of cables (15) by means of pulleys (16) to perform the sequence of the movement of the rubber elements (10) and of the structure of the chamber, and thus execute the lateral displacement of the chamber; and also to apply tension to the rubber elements (10) and the seal (8) to guarantee watertightness.

A hydrodynamic profile is provided by means of the shape of the cover, in order to reduce the drag loads in the case of a moving structure.