Around the globe for hundreds of years, billions of cubic yards of material have needed to be removed from areas so that large cargo ships could be kept moving. This necessary maintenance of navigation channels has contributed to world economies by encouraging the efficiency of trade. When the General Act of 1824 was passed in the US, it established the US Army Corp of Engineers as a federal agency whose job was creating and maintaining a reliable, safe, and efficient navigation system for ships.
When ships transfer from deep ocean waters to harbor channels, dredging was the method to keep these channels more than 200 feet deep so that cargo ships could move safely into the harbors so that exports and imports could be loaded and unloaded. To dredge waterways, a machine called a dredge literally sucks up or scoops sediment from the bottom of waterways. Basic excavation methods of dredges have essentially stayed the same from as far back as the late 1800s. Of course, today modern dredges use computer-assisted instruments.
Dredges consist of three main types, which are mechanical dredges, hydraulic dredges, and airlift dredges. The first type, mechanical dredges, is designed to remove sediment or any material by scooping it from the water’s floor and then placing that material onto a barge or some other area. These mechanical dredges can also be known as backhoe, dipper, or clamshell dredges that are suitably named in accordance with their scooping buckets.
A hydraulic dredge functions by sucking dredge material and water from the channel bottom. A hopper dredge is designed for dredging materials such as silt, dense sand, clay, or soft mud in rough seas. It is typically utilized near ocean entrance channels and is very useful in deep water. An airlift or suction dredge is engineered to suck dredge material through an intake pipe at one end and then it pushes it out the discharge pipe right onto the area where it needs to end up.
Like all machinery, dredging equipment needs to be maintained due to the fact that this type of hardworking equipment has to deal with extreme environments, the obvious one being exposed to water, rust, and a variety of contaminants. Like any project, downtime at the job site can really kill deadlines and cause unwanted delays/wasted money.
To keep dredging equipment running efficiently and on time, it is important to consider the type of lubrication utilized in this type of unique environment. It is important that the lubricants utilized can withstand exposure to a tremendous amount of moisture and water. Also, it is important that it can protect critical components from contaminants such as dust, mud, dirt, and other harmful contaminants.
First, let’s consider what type of lubricants should be used in dredging equipment. When considering synthetic oil vs regular oil for dredging equipment, one has to maintain an open mind and not just consider what is the lowest price, but rather the one that offers the best benefits. The easiest way to compare synthetic oil vs regular oil involves the features and properties of both oils. Regular oil, or conventional mineral oil, is derived from crude oil. This crude oil needs to go through a complex series of refining processes to end up with oils that are suitable to create lubricants.
When the processes are finished and you have a base stock oil suitable for creating lubricants, the fact is that unfortunately, this mineral base oil is not pure. In fact, it still has contaminating elements such as nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur, and metal byproducts such as vanadium or nickel that eventually will cause issues within the machinery.
This oil refining process leaves behind molecules that create a dissimilar structure for the base oil. These different-sized molecules do not contribute in a positive way to the performance of the oil. For example, when molecules are of differing sizes, they are unable to flow easily and smoothly over each other, which leads to an undue amount of fluid friction. Friction creates heat, and heat is detrimental to both the oil and the machinery. Also, this fluid friction creates undue wear during cold, dry startups.
Additionally, mineral base stock oils used in the manufacturing of lubricants, contain wax. These waxes cause the oil to thicken during cold temperatures. Again, this makes it difficult for the oil to flow rapidly to critical mechanical components during cold weather. Synthetic lubricants, on the other hand, are totally different animals. Synthetic base stock oils are manmade in the laboratory. In many ways, one could consider synthetic lubricants as magical in that do not have any of the negative aspects of conventional oils.
They are specifically engineered to be free of any unwanted byproducts or contaminants. These pure base stock oils are also designed to have a uniform molecular structure. These same-sized molecules flow over each other without any resistance and they flow without creating any unwanted friction. They’re wax-free, thus making them the perfect choice for cold weather operations. Additionally, because they have a very high viscosity index, they offer superior viscosity grade retention over a very broad temperature range.
They do not thicken when exposed to cold weather and they do not thin out when operating in extremely high temperatures. When switching from conventional regular oil to synthetics, you will immediately experience and notice a more efficient running machine due to a vast reduction in friction, plus you will also notice a drop in temperature. When comparing synthetic oil vs regular oil for dredging equipment, once the facts are presented, the choice is simple and easy. A 100% synthetic oil is the smart choice for your dredging equipment.
Without a doubt, one of the obvious issues that need to be addressed for dredging equipment is how to deal with the amount of water that components are exposed to. AMSOIL Synthetic Water-Resistant Grease was specifically engineered to be the number one choice for any grease application found in dredging equipment. It utilizes unique and proprietary chemistry that uses AMSOIL’s special combination of synthetic base stock oils, along with calcium-sulfonate complex thickeners.
- Superior spray-off and water washout protection
- Outstanding rust and corrosion protection
- State-of-the-art extreme pressure and load carrying performance
- Reduction in grease consumption
- Reduction in friction and wear
- Engineered for heavy equipment such as excavator shovels and other similar equipment used in the dredging process
- Resistant to extreme pressures
- Superior adhesive and cohesive capabilities
- Resists moisture and water washout
- Seals out contaminants
- Reduces wear due to moly
- Extends grease service life
- Reduces grease consumption
- Lower maintenance and repair costs
- Reduces oil leaking
- Eliminates foaming
- Extended oil and equipment life
- Reduces environmental impact
- Readily biodegradable
- Protects against wear
- Minimizes wear and soot
- Delivers longer drain intervals
- Oil and emissions reduction
- Superior cold weather performance
- Excellent TBN retention and acid neutralization
Once the facts are presented during the comparison of synthetic oil vs regular oil for dredging equipment, it is clearly evident which lubricant provides the most benefits and is the most cost-effective lubricant to use long-term. By utilizing AMSOIL Synthetic Lubricants, your dredging equipment will not only be protected, but you will experience less downtime and greater savings in maintenance and repair costs.