Page 29: of Marine News Magazine (July 2014)

ATB Technical Trends

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ATB Along the way, ATBs gain speed, ef Þ ciency, safety ? and popularity. By Susan Buchanan Operators of articulated tugs and barges, or ATBs, say they like the maneuverability, weather reliabil- ity, stability, speed of these units, and the manner in which the tug pushes the barge. As a marine transporta- tion concept, they can also simply be described as versatile. ATBs move petroleum, chemicals, coal, grain, container- ized cargo and rail cars for customers on the U.S. coasts, rivers, the Great Lakes and overseas. As a result, demand for articulated units expanded in the last two decades with new technology. In 1984, Robert Hill, president and chief naval archi- tect at Ocean Tug & Barge Engineering in Milford, Mass., worked with Intercontinental Engineering-Manufacturing in Missouri, to develop the INTERCON system for ATBs. The INTERCON addressed deÞ ciencies in the existing ARTUBAR and Bludworth connections, Hill said last month. Naval architect Corning Townsend and the Neth- erlands Ship Model helped produce the INTERCON. The ATB Connection The INTERCON is a single-degree-of-freedom connec- tion which, like its predecessors, establishes a transverse, Þ xed axis between the tug and barge. Movements, including yaw, roll and heave, are restrained. The tug heaves and rolls with the gentler motion of the barge. The INTERCON incorpo- rated the unlimited draft connection of Taisei EngineeringÕs Articouple system; it eliminated the hydraulic ram as a means of extension, and uses a mechanical screw drive instead. After the INTERCON was introduced, other engineers improved the Bludworth and ARTUBAR designs, and the Articouple system gained a foothold overseas. Companies eventually turned out in greater numbers to ATBs as a transport solution in the 1990s. Ultimately, Penn Mari- time in Connecticut built the Þ rst entirely new INTER- CON ATB in 1995. ÒStarting in 1994, use of ATBs really began to take off,Ó Hill said. He and his partners worked with hydrodynamic Demand for Coastal and Transoceanic ATBs Grows MN 29MN July14 Layout 18-31.indd 29MN July14 Layout 18-31.indd 296/18/2014 3:37:22 PM6/18/2014 3:37:22 PM

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