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5 Ways a Rubber Fender System can Fail You. #4 is the Most Overlooked Mistake.

A good marine rubber fender system is able to absorb collision energy at an effective and efficient manner during berthing. This helps to prevent vessel and structural damage.

Despite high budgets allocated to develop fender systems, some companies neglect some of the details that may compromise the whole structure.

5 ways fenders fail and fender maintenance

Some of these cases even witness the increase in maintenance costs and accident risks due to poor performing rubber fender systems.


Just a well installed cylindrical-type rubber fender that offers protection against the quay wall

The list starts from the most obvious areas a fender system may go wrong, to the slightest details in the structure most often overlooked.

1. Rubber Fender Body Quality & Material.

High quality fenders generally absorb energy effectively and produce low reaction force.

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A high performing rubber fender system generally has high energy absorption and low reaction force. This relies on the manufacturing quality and the quality of raw materials used. This is often the top of the list when it comes to marine fender purchasing decisions.

MAX Product-Solid Fender 12

For example, cell-shaped fender body has great energy absorption capacity

2. Types of Fenders

Inappropriate use of rubber fender types will cause the system to under perform.

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There are many different types of popular fenders. Type of fenders used are basically dictated in a project by project basis to optimise performance over the product lifecycle. Some of the most popular types are arch fenders, cylindrical fenders, supercell fenders, cone fenders and more. Different types of rubber fenders are more suited for different situations and uses. To find out more about the types of fenders, you can read our previous post HERE.

MAX Product-Solid Fender 8MAX Product-Solid Fender 13

3. Fender Panel Design, Surface & Thickness.

Take fender panel thickness, material design and surface type into consideration.

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These fender panels have to be able to withstand shearing, bending and local buckling. If the designed fabrication is unprofessional and done by unqualified engineers, chances are the rubber fender system would under-perform and have a shorter life span.

The thickness of the steel plate sections and whole panel should also be considered. Many people overlook the thickness of the panel and favor the cheapest option. Yet thin panels may not be fit for the job of absorbing collision for your structure, subsequently risking the safety of port staff. Face pads’ thickness varies from 30mm to 40mm usually. Depending on usage, you would probably want to opt for 40mm as theoretically you may get near twice the service life due to higher wear allowance. The quality of paint coating is also another design detail that most people overlook when it comes to quality of the marine fender system.

MAX Product-Solid Fender 14

4. Fender Fixings.

Fender Fixings quality are often overlooked. And it causes the system to under perform.

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The quality and materials used for fender fixings are often overlooked. The best quality fixings uses steel. It is however, also possible to use galvanised mixed materials. Depending on the usage, environmental features and expected lifespan, both are actually possible options. However, it is important not to overlook this area when making purchasing decisions.

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5. The Need for Restraint Chains

The need of chains are the No.1 overlooked aspect of a rubber fender system.

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You may have noticed that not every rubber fender system requires chains. However, it is important to not forget about them when you really need these chains, for cases like when heavy panels that can not be comfortably supported by the fender alone. In some cases when chains were needed but not installed, the fender system fails in delivering and was damaged in action. Chains included should be regularly maintained as well.

These are just some of the most overlooked details when it comes to developing an effective marine rubber fender system. Most importantly, be sure to find a trusted supplier for your rubber fender system that assures you their priority. Certification from third party professional bodies is a very important aspect that assures great quality. MAX manufacturing facility is certified by various bodies like Bureau Veritas (BV), China Classification Society (CCS) and Quality Assurance Centre (QAC) just to name a few.

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Do you experience a short lifespan for your marine equipment/products? Deal with a supplier who is slow in responding and service? Or did you pay extremely high prices for an average quality product that fail quite often? 83% of our global clients claim that these are the problems that made them search for a better alternative and subsequently worked with us since.

MAX is known for our products’ great quality-to-price ratio and responsive customer service. What’s more? From our sales office to manufacturing plants, we are committed to do our part in ‘Going Green‘ for the environment. Drop us an email and we will assist!

Learn about MAX Rubber Fender Products.

super cell fender maxArch fender maxCylindrical Fender 3 MaxArch Fender 4 MaxMAX rubber fender system cases

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