Spring 2013

German waterways choose Prolec

Prolec’s ‘Digmaster Pro’ depth monitoring and guidance system was recently purchased by the German Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration as part of a fleet upgrade.

The German inland waterway network stretches to around 7300 km and is crucial for the country’s economy: not only is it well used by tourists and holidaymakers, but much of it is of considerable importance to international freight transport. The network is managed by the German Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration, which is responsible for maintaining the rivers, canals, locks and seaward approaches, and managing shipping traffic.

In August 2012, as part of a workboat fleet upgrade, the Federal Waterways office brought into service the clamshell dredger Elsflether Sand, to be used in the management of the River Weser in the Bremen district. This craft replaces older, decommissioned vessels, and is intended to increase the efficiency of the waterways’ working cycles. Elsflether Sand was built in Denmark, where it was equipped with a permanently fixed Hitachi Zaxis 470 LCH excavator supplied by Kiesel Baumaschinen Nord, which has a reach of 17 metres and is being predominantly used for dredging.

In order to meet its working requirements, the boat was fitted with a ‘Digmaster Pro’ depth monitoring and guidance system by German distributor Illig Lasersysteme. The system uses fully submersible angle sensor technology to allow the operator to dig out only the necessary material to bring the waterway back to the required depth for all tidal situations. The system has been configured to enable the construction of works such as breakwaters or laying sealing material in shipping channels within pre-set parameters.

The Elsflether Sand is one of four new Federal Waterways vessels to use the Prolec Digmaster system – the others are based in Emden, Dresden and Berlin. Prolec sales manager for Scandinavia, Central and Eastern Europe, Jurgen Reineke, said:

“We are pleased to be helping the German Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration find ways to work more efficiently and accurately in their dredging and marine construction work. Our Digmaster Pro system has been designed to meet the requirements of this specialized application, and is proving effective in this environment. We’re looking forward to helping to keep the German waterways running smoothly.”

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