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Title:
A SYSTEM AND A METHOD FOR TRANSPORTING VESSELS AROUND NAVIGATION BARRIERS IN A BODY OF WATER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2001/023673
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention refers to a system for transporting river vessels around barriers in a body of water, in which a vessel (10), in a body of water (9) which has barriers (5) to navigate, navigates to the inner part of a first lift (1), that is submerged in the body of water and located upstream from the barrier (5). The lift has, supported on its platform (25) and submerged as well, a conveyor (13) at which base (21, 22) the vessel is docked. The assembly of the conveyor (13) and vessel (10) is then lifted, through the lift, to the outer side of the body of water (9) and the lift platform, when lifted, aligns to a path (2) located outside the body of water medium. This path makes the connection between the first lift and a second lift (6), located in the body of water and downstream from said barrier. The assembly of the conveyor and vessel couples to a propulsion means which, through its means for performing a translation movement, moves the assembly from the platform (25) to the path, and, consequently, to the second lift. This lift, as well as the first, aligns its platform to the path in such a way that the assembly may, though this second lift, submerge again into the body of water and afterwards, release the vessel so that it continues navigating from a downstream point away from the barrier to navigation. The conveyor (13) further has coupling devices fixed onto its base (21, 22) for coupling thereto the propulsion means, which may be a locomotive. The propulsion means causes the conveyor to move along the path (2) from the first lift towards the second lift. These lifts, each have a platform (25) for supporting the conveyor upon the withdrawal or placing of the vessel onto the body of water medium (9), the platform including an adapted surface for the conveyor to translate over it, and align with the path, when in a lifted position, so that the conveyor may move from the platform to the path, and vice versa.

Inventors:
Teixeira Mendes, Ricardo (Rua Araguaíma, 96 Itanhang, -610 Rio de Janeiro RJ, CEP-22641, BR)
Snell, Flavio (Rua Marcelo Roberto, 274 Barra da Tijuc, -190 Rio de Janeiro RJ, CEP-22630, BR)
Ribas Ferreira, Paulo Domingos (Av. General San Martin, 211/701 Leblo, -010 Rio de Janeiro RJ, CEP-22441, BR)
De Assis, Brito Buzelin Francisco (Rua Ipanema, 53/804 Barra da Tijuc, -390 Rio de Janeiro RJ, CEP-22631, BR)
Application Number:
PCT/BR1999/000080
Publication Date:
April 05, 2001
Filing Date:
September 28, 1999
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
Teixeira Mendes, Ricardo (Rua Araguaíma, 96 Itanhang, -610 Rio de Janeiro RJ, CEP-22641, BR)
Snell, Flavio (Rua Marcelo Roberto, 274 Barra da Tijuc, -190 Rio de Janeiro RJ, CEP-22630, BR)
Ribas Ferreira, Paulo Domingos (Av. General San Martin, 211/701 Leblo, -010 Rio de Janeiro RJ, CEP-22441, BR)
De Assis, Brito Buzelin Francisco (Rua Ipanema, 53/804 Barra da Tijuc, -390 Rio de Janeiro RJ, CEP-22631, BR)
International Classes:
E02C3/00; (IPC1-7): E02C3/00
Foreign References:
BE845002A1976-12-01
EP0601669A11994-06-15
DE258877C
DE441485C1927-03-10
Other References:
DATABASE WPI Derwent World Patents Index; AN 85-01096602, XP002139274
DATABASE WPI Derwent World Patents Index; AN 95-32688942, XP002139275
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DANNEMANN, SIEMSEN, BIGLER & IPANEMA MOREIRA (Caixa Postal 2142, Rua Marquês de Olinda 70, Botafog, -040 Rio de Janeiro RJ, CEP-22251, BR)
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Claims:
CLAIMS
1. A system for transporting a vessel around a navigation barrier, characterised by comprising : first and second lift systems (1, 6), respectively located on first and second sides of the navigation barrier (5), each lift system being at least partially submerged in the body of water (9) on a respective side of the barrier and having lift platform means (25) mov able between a first lower position and a second raised position; a vessel transport track extended between said second raised positions of the first and second platform means (25); a lift track section on each said lift platform means (25) aligned with said trans port track when the lift platform means is in the second raised position; a vessel conveyor (13) capable of being moved on and along the transfer track and said lift track sections, from one lift system to the other lift system; and traction means for moving said conveyor moved on the transfer track and lift track sections.
2. The system in accordance with claim 1, wherein the transfer track is a rail way, the lift track sections have rails corresponding to said railway, and the conveyor (13) is provided with wheels cooperating with the rails in the transfer track and in the lift track sec tions.
3. The system in accordance with claims 1 or 2, wherein the traction means comprises a separate traction vehicle (32).
4. The system in accordance with claim 3, further comprising a detour track allowing the traction vehicle to manoeuvre off and back onto said vessel transfer track.
5. The system in accordance with any one of the preceding claims, wherein the vessel transport track comprises two nonparallel straight track sections (2a, 2b), con nected by a rotator device (3) capable comprising a rotator track section having a length at least equal to the length of said conveyor and being rotatable between a first position where said rotator track section is aligned with one of said nonparallel track sections (2a) and'a second position where said rotator track section is aligned with the other of said nonparallel track sections (2b).
6. The system in accordance with any one of the preceding claims, wherein said vessel transport track and said track sections include at least two parallel track exten sions and a transfer section (7a, 7b) for transferring the conveyor from one of the parallel extensions to another.
7. System in accordance with claim 6, wherein said transfer section comprises a rail section parallel to said track extensions, said parallel rail section being mounted on a laterally displaceable support that can be moved from a first position in which said parallel rail section is aligned with one of said track extensions to a second position in which said parallel rail section is aligned with another of said track extensions.
8. A method for transporting a vessel around a navigation barrier in a body of water, comprising the following steps: a) submerging a conveyor (13) by means of a first lift system (1) to a depth greater than the draft of a vessel to be transported, said first lift system being located on a first side of a navigation barrier (5); b) positioning the vessel on the upper surface of the conveyor (13); c) raising the conveyor by means of the first lift system to a raised position in which the conveyor is aligned with a vessel transport track; d) moving said conveyor to said vessel transport track and along said track to a raised position associated with a second lift system (6) partially submerged in the body of water on a second side of the navigation barrier (5); e) lowering the conveyor by means of said second lift system to a lowered posi tion submerged to a depth greater than the draft of the vessel being transported; and X floating the vessel off the conveyor and away from the second lift system (6).
Description:
Title:"A SYSTEM AND A METHOD FOR TRANSPORTING VESSELS AROUND NAVIGATION BARRIERS IN A BODY OF WATER." Field of the Invention The present invention refers to a system for transporting vessels (barges, barge trains, boats, etc.) around barriers encountered in a body of water (rivers, channels, lakes, etc.) without the necessity for dams or locks. The barriers can be, for example, hy- droelectric power plants.

State-of-the-Art Several systems exist for transporting vessels over and/or around barriers in a body of water. Such systems may include locks, side canals and river ports associated with trans-ship paths.

The system of locks, for example, has been widely employed in hydroelectric power plants so that vessels can pass across its dams. In this case, water intended for the generation of electric power is used in the operation of the locks, resulting in the transfer of water from one side of the dam to the other. This discharge of"non-turbined water", results in a reduction of the effective output of the hydroelectric power plant. As the boat traffic on the river increases, the use of the locks also increases, and, consequently a corresponding reduction in the effective output of the hydroelectric plant results.

A second drawback of the use of locks is the high cost of implementation. If there is a large difference between upstream and downstream water levels in a dam, it be- comes necessary to have a series of locks along the navigation canals. Such projects result in very high costs (one example is the project for the Brazilian Itaipu hydroelectric power plant).

A third drawback inherent to the system of locks lies in the fact that the"lock cycles"become excessively long as the difference in water level increases. Such long lock cycles limit the capacity of river transportation in the waterway in which they are located.

Another system for circumventing barriers in a body of water is one which employs parallel canals. In many cases, it is not possible to build such canals due to the geographical conditions of the construction site. Furthermore, they can be very costly.

Still another system for circumventing barriers in a body of water is the con- struction of ports in the body of water that are associated with trans-ship paths, so that the transport of the freight (goods) of the barges and/or barge trains is carried out using trucks and/or wagons. This system is also costly, as well as slow, often resulting in the loss of freight, especially in the case of bulk materials.

Summary of the Invention It is one of the objects of the present invention to provide a system for trans- porting vessels around navigation barriers in a body of water that involves lower investments than those necessary for the implementation of state-of-the-art systems.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a system for transporting vessels around navigation barriers in a body of water that may be used in hydroelectric power plants without waste caused by the discharge of non-turbined water.

A third object of the invention is to provide a system for transporting vessels around navigation barriers in a body of water that eliminates the need for freight trans-ship using off-road trucks and/or tractors.

It is a fourth object of the present invention to provide a system for transporting vessels around navigation barriers in a body of water thereby preventing or decreasing the great environmental impact brought about by the construction of a dam or a lock, and the consequent change in the rate of flow of a river.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide a system for trans- porting vessels around navigation barriers between bodies of water in such a way as to pre- vent the passage of certain types of fish from one body to another, in order to preserve the respective ecosystem of the bodies of water.

Such objects were attained by means of a system for transporting vessels around navigation barriers in a body of water, in which a vessel, in a body of water having barriers to navigate, navigates to the inner part of a first lift, submerged in the body of water and located upstream from the barrier. The lift has, supported on its platform and submerged

as well, a conveyor at the base of which the vessel is accommodated. The conveyor/vessel assembly is then raised, by the lift, to a position above the surface of the water. The lift plat- form, in the raised position, is aligned with a track located outside the body of water. This track makes the connection between the first lift and a second lift, located in the body of water on the opposite side of the barrier, that is to say, where the water level is different. The conveyor/vessel assembly is coupled to a propulsion means which moves the con- veyor/vessel assembly from the platform to the track and subsequently to the second lift. As in the case of the first lift, the platform of the second lift is aligned with the track in such a way that the assembly may be lowered by the second lift to a position where it is again sub- merged in the body of water, the vessel then being released so as to allow it to proceed with its navigation on the other side of the navigation barrier.

The conveyor has coupling devices fixed to its base which allows the con- veyor to be coupled or attached to a propulsion means which causes the conveyor to move along the track from the first lift towards the second lift. The propulsion means may be in the form of a locomotive. The lifts have a platform for supporting the conveyor while the vessel is being withdrawn from or returned to the body of water, the platform having a surface adapted to allow the conveyor to move over it and to come into alignment with the track when in the lifted position. The conveyor may thus move from the platform to the track, and vice versa.

In summary, the system is constructed and arranged in such a way that the en- tire vessel is transported around the barrier in the same configuration that it has when navi- gating the body of water. In particular, in the case of a barge train, the complete train can be transported around the barrier without uncoupling the individual barges from each other.

Brief Description of the Drawings Figure 1 is a diagrammatic top view of a first embodiment of the system of the present invention; Figure 2 is a diagrammatic top view of a second similar embodiment but with- out the use of a rotator; Figure 3 is a side view of a typical barge train that can use the system of the present invention;

Figure 4 is a top view of the barge train shown in Figure 3; Figure 5 is a cross-section taken along lines 5-5 of Figure 4; Figure 6 is a top view of a conveyor of the system used in either of the em- bodiments of Figures 1 and 2; Figure 7 shows a longitudinal sectional view taken along lines 7-7 of Figure 6; Figure 8 is a cross-section taken along lines 8-8 of Figure 6; Figure 9 shows a sectional view of a lift used in either of the embodiments shown in Figures 1 and 2; Figure 10 is a sectional view of a railway used in either of the embodiments of the invention illustrated in Figures 1 and 2; and Figure 11 shows a sectional view of another railway that can be railway used in either of the embodiments of the invention illustrated in Figures 1 and 2.

Detailed Description of the Invention Figure 1 diagramatically illustrates a first embodiment of the system of the present invention for transporting vessels. In this embodiment, a barge train is transported around a navigation barrier 5 on a river. This figure shows a first lift 1 on which carries a conveyor 13. The lift is located on a river upstream from barrier 5. In its raised position, lift 1 is associated with a track comprising two straight railway sections 2a and 2b and a rotator 3 which will be described in greater detail below. Furthermore, the lift 1 is provided with a platform 25 on which is mounted a rail track section similar to railway sections 2a and 2b.

Those of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that the platform used herein can be any platform which is capable of lifting large masses, including those platforms which use a multitude of plates or sections in order to properly adjust the force applied to match the weight distribution so that the mass may be lifted while keeping the weight distribution in equilibrium.

Railway sections 2a and 2b are constructed using conventional materials and are designed to support the weight of a loaded barge train together with conveyor 13 and a locomotive 32. Conveyor 13 is capable of moving onto and along the railway sections 2a and

2b and also of both supporting and transporting barge train 10 along the railway sections 2a and 2b.

The rotator 3 consists of a surface 29 containing a rail track section 30 substan- tially identical to that on platform 25, being long enough to receive and accommodate the conveyor 13 arriving from the straight railway section 2a with the complete barge train. By rotating rotator 3, it is possible to align section 3 with straight track section 2b, thus allowing the conveyor 13 to proceed along the section 2b. A detour 28 is provided to enable locomo- tive 32, after releasing the conveyor 13 on rotator 3, to be manoeuvred to the opposite end of the conveyor where it is once again coupled to the conveyor so it can then push it along section 2b to a second lift 6 located downstream of navigation barrier 5. Lift 6 is for all intents and purposes identical to lift 1.

In operation, platform 25 of lift 1, carrying conveyor 13, is submerged to a depth below the draft of the barge train 10. The barge train will navigate to the inner part of lift 1 to a position immediately above conveyor 13 so, when the platform is raised by the lift, it is received on the conveyor and then hoisted until the level of the rails of the rail track sec- tion on platform 25 matches the level of the rails of the railway section 2a. The conveyor is then coupled to locomotive 32 which is located on the railway section. The locomotive 32 pulls the conveyor 13 from the platform 25 of the lift 1 and travels along railway section 2a to the rotator 3. Once the conveyor is located over the rotator 3, it is uncoupled from the locomotive 32 (as explained above), and then rotated until its rail track section 30 becomes aligned with railway section 2b. Locomotive 32 is then manoeuvred along detour 28 and re- coupled to the opposite end of conveyor 13 in order to push the conveyor to downstream lift 6. When conveyor 13 reaches lift 6, the locomotive 32 pushes conveyor 13 onto the rail track section carried by the platform 25 of lift 6, is uncoupled and backed away from the platform. Lift 6 then lowers platform 25 with its load of conveyor and barge train until it is sufficiently submerged in the river for the barge train to be floated off the conveyor. The barge train is then free to continue its navigation downstream of navigation barrier 5.

Figure 2 illustrates a second embodiment of the invention using a system similar to that shown in figure 1. This system is comprised of a single section railway 2 (in- stead of a two section railway (2a and 2b) as shown in figure 1), two lifts 1 and 2 (identical to those of figure 1) and two transfer sections 7a and 7b (which will be described later) to transfer a barge train leaving or entering one of the lifts to or from railway 2.

Transfer sections 7a and 7b consist of transfer platforms 8a and 8b, respectively, that are supported on rails 31 a and 31 b. Lift 1, which carries conveyor 13, raises the barge train 10 to platform 8a where a locomotive 32 to which the conveyor 13 will be coupled is located on a short rail section similar to railway 2. The locomotive pulls the conveyor 13 onto transfer platform 8a.

Transfer platforms 8a and 8b of transfer sections 7a and 7b are mounted on re- spective railroad wheel assemblies (not shown) that run respectively over rails 31 a and 31 b which are arranged perpendicularly to the longitudinal axis of the transfer sections. The wheel assemblies and rails 31 a and 31 b are constructed in a manner to support the weight of the respective platform 8a or 8b together with the conveyor 13 and the barge train 10. The lateral displacement of the transfer platforms will be made by means of motorised wheels of the respective wheel assembly (not shown) or by a system of capstans (not shown).

When transfer section 7a reaches the point where it is aligned with railway 2, its rails will constitute a continuation of railway 2. Furthermore, the transfer sections 7a and 7b are built in such a manner that they will utilise conventional materials (standard rails and railroad trucks).

At the points of where transfer sections 7a and 7b meet railway 2 there will be detour sections 27 built to enable the locomotive to release conveyor 13 and to manoeuvre along the detour to the opposite end of the conveyor 13 where it may once more be coupled thereto so that it may push or pull it along railway 2 from one transfer platform to the other.

Once a barge train has been hoisted by lift 1, transferred to railway 2 by means of transfer section 7a and pulled by the locomotive to the other end of the railway, the con- veyor 3 is pulled onto transfer platform 8b of section 8a so that it can be transferred to the platform of lift 2, using the inverse process that was used when it left lift 1. The lift 6 then lowers the conveyor carrying the barge train until the latter can be floated off the conveyor for further navigation downstream of navigation barrier 5.

The above operation may be carried out sequentially in both directions so that, a barge train having been transported downstream, the same locomotive can be used immediately afterwards to bring a second barge train upstream to complete a cycle of trans- fer operations.

Figures 3 to 5 show side, top and sectional views of a barge train 10, a widely used vessel in freight transportation by river. This barge train 10 is composed of a pusher 11 and a variety of barges 12 which carry cargo.

Conveyor 13 is illustrated in figures 6 to 8 and is comprised of three wagons 14 for the barge sections and a single wagon 15 for the pusher. Furthermore, wagons 14 and 15 are coupled to each other by couplers 16 that accommodate vertical movement dur- ing the various transfers from one rail section to another and provide/ensure distribution of the normal forces to which they are subject.

The end wagons 15 and 14 are provided with automatic coupling devices 18 and respective shock and traction apparatuses 17, the same as used on railroads, for cou- pling to the locomotive. The intermediate wagons are provided with side bumpers 19, adja- cent the couplers 16. Since the couplers, coupling devices, side bumpers, and shock and traction devices are conventional railroad equipment and are not part of the present inven- tion, they will not be described in detail.

Figure 7 shows a side sectional view of the conveyor 13, taken along lines 7-7 of figure 6. This view shows the wheel sets or assemblies 20 mounted on trucks with four axles, attached to a base 21, including a covering layer 22 (shown in Figure 8) that can con- sist of rubber, wood and/or polyurethane, among other materials. The centre wheel assem- blies, as shown in Figure 8, are mounted on trucks having four axles 23 with a suspension similar to the one used on railroad wagon trucks. The outer wheel assemblies, also having four axles 24 to support the wheels, are rigidly fixed on the base 21 of the conveyor 13.

A compressed air braking system acts only on the centre wheel assemblies, while the end assemblies run freely. In some situations, the independent braking capacity of the locomotive (not shown) will be enough for the safe operation of the conveyor 13, thus dispensing with the need to install brakes on the conveyor 13. The installation of brakes on the conveyor will depend on the rate of speed of the locomotive on railway 2, which will be specific for each site where the system is used.

The locomotives employed can be of the conventional type used on railroads, provided they meet the conditions of pulling and braking of the barge train load. Railway 2 may be built according to railroad techniques in a welded continuous line, with TR-68 rail and elastic fastening, over sleepers having dimensions adjusted for each project at a ratio of 1,560 sleeper/km.

Figure 9 shows lifts 1 and 6, in schematic section. The figure further shows the positioning of the barge train 10 on conveyor 13, with the conveyor on platform 25. This assembly is moved by winches operated by synchronous motors 26 to withdraw or place the barge train 10 from or in the river 9. These lifts are well known in the art and are manufac- tured, upon request, by many naval industries.

The platform 25 includes rails (not shown) with the same arrangement as the rails of railway 2, the rail being postponed in such a manner that when the platform 25 is placed in front of railway 2, its plurality of rails will be in continuous alignment with the rails of railway 2. The plurality of rail comprises a centre pair of rails and two side rails, one on each side, positioned according to the width of the conveyor 13.

Figures 10 shows a schematic section of railway 2, demonstrating the posi- tioning of a barge train 10, having a parallel barge section configuration, over the conveyor 13, whereas figure 11 shows a barge train of single barge section configuration (figure 11).

The Barge trains 10 shown in figures 10 and 11 above are widely used on Brazilian rivers, i. e., the Parant and Tiete.

It must be kept in mind that certain preferred embodiments of the invention have been described in detail by way of example but that other constructions are clearly possible without departing from the inventive concept. The scope of the invention should therefore be limited only by the terms used in the claims.

For example, the system of the present invention, may also use a conveyor supported on wheels provided with tires, as an alternative to railways, in order to transport vessels around barriers to the navigation of rivers. In this case, the system would require lifts, a conveyor and a suitable road or the like, which should be projected specially for such use. Furthermore, the rotator system illustrated and described may also be used in this al- ternative, in which case the detour 28 illustrated in figure 1 should be adapted to allow op- eration of a traction vehicle provided with tires.

The longitudinal displacement system of the conveyor may be any type avail- able in the state-of-the-art, such as off-road trucks, underground towing cables or the like.

Moreover, depending on the dimensions and weight of the conveyor, a hover- craft-type air cushion system can be used for the longitudinal translation of the conveyor. In this case, the air contention curtain would be adapted to the shape of the conveyor. In addi- tion, a low pressure and great volume air compression system would be needed in order to provide this support. This air compression station would be placed at an outer module and should have a propeller-like propulsion device similar to those used for hovercrafts in order to keep the conveyor and train assembly moving in the right direction and for making changes in the course. Furthermore, devices like rudders or guard-rails could be necessary.




 
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