Rubber Fenders: Types & Things to Note
Rubber fenders are primarily used as “bumpers” to absorb collision energy during contact between the vessel and docks (or even other vessels) in the maritime industry. For many, they might not be aware that massive sea vessels are embedded with rubber fenders on the outer surface of the vessel. These fenders are also known by some as rubber buffers. Rubber fenders are also installed on docks.
The primary objective of the rubber fenders on the dock is to absorb collision energy during the berthing process. This in return protects both the ship and the dock after collision. Solid rubber fenders have been used for ages since they are readily available and are considered long lasting. Rubber fenders come in different forms including, pneumatic type, CO-type, SC-type, GD-type and many others. All these types of rubber fender are unique in their own way and come with different specifications and uses as discussed below.
Popular Types of Fenders
Pneumatic rubber fenders: they are considered as the leading anti-collision devices for marine applications. They play active role as protective medium against collision in ship-to ship contacts (STS), and ship-to-berthing. Their biggest advantage is that they absorb massive energy with low unit surface acted on upon the ship. They are additionally used in rapid response and emergency fendering, on tankers, gas carriers and bulk cargo ships. As a standard measure, they are manufactured with an ISO certification and are available in various sizes.
Super cell rubber fenders: These are also known as SC rubber fenders. Its major features include low reaction force with a high capacity of energy absorption. They have also been rated as long lasting and more preferably used on the sea docks.
Cone rubber fenders: Also referred to as Type CO fenders, they endure severe shear external force by making effective use of its conical body shape. With its high elasticity levels they are more often used in big port construction.
“Wing” DO Rubber fenders: An improved design derived from the original D-Fender, this shape offers greater stability and maintains high durability. It can be found on boats, marine assets, floating structures etc. It is not a very popular option compared to other fender types, but it does what it does well. They are also used in the general framework in wharf.
Foamed filled fenders: these fenders are also very often used in ship-to-ship and ship-to-quay berthing operations. They are used as alternatives to the normal pneumatic fenders. Their unique characteristics include, high energy and low reaction states, they are unsinkable even when ruptured and have a high degree of wear resistance.
Arch type: Even with a simple design, arch fender provides incredible shear performance, making it suitable for vessels with high allowable hull pressures.
Unit Element Fender: One of the most durable type with a versatile modular system. It can be installed horizontally or vertically on quay walls to suit a particular use.
Cylindrical type CY: Cylindrical shaped fender offers great versatility to accommodate all sizes of ships makes it a one of the most commonly used marine fender system. One unique advantage over other types is its ability to be installed diagonally, in addition to vertical or horizontal fitting.
“D” type fender: There are 3 main types of “D” rubber fenders with differences in the inner hollow shape. DD comes with a D-shaped inner hollow; DC comes with a O-shaped inner hollow; while Solid-D is entirely solid. These fenders are popularly installed on smaller port walls and on boats/small ships.
Square-shaped: In short, they are best used for tough and demanding environment. Designed to operate under harsh conditions, they display great shear resistance and incredible durability. Two popular types of such square fenders are those with an O-shaped hollow or D-shaped hollow. Though relatively uncommon, some do request for a solid piece without the hollow in it.
“Keyhole” version: The outlook of the keyhole fender looks quite similar to the square type fender. The hollow part in the middle is of a key-hole shape. Depending on requirements, it can come with UHMWPE pads, or have a grooved/flat surface. It has high resistance towards abrasion and UV.
“Roller” type: Specifically designed for entrances of docks and narrow canals, the roller design facilitates ships into space-restricted waters, by avoiding the vessel from crashing into the walls. Its main function is not about energy absorption, instead its main function is to “guide” the vessel. We have seen even wheels be utilised as rollers.
Cylindrical tug fender: Different from Cylindrical CY-type, the cylindrical tug is often found on the bow and stern of tug boats. Its semi-flexible body enables a well-fitted installation, making it one of the most popular option for boat fenders.
“W” version: Another popular choice for tug boats due to its ability to fit the form of the boat stern/bow.
“M” version: M-Fender has a wider contact surface area than W, making it a great choice to protect the tug surface when performing “push” operations.
Things to Note when Choosing Marine Fenders
When considering acquiring fenders, several factors should be considered. The fenders’ quality in terms of high energy absorption and low reaction force, as well as a reasonable structure that provides a long life span. The quality of raw materials used, in this case, rubber should also be considered. High quality products will have a longer shelf life, thus, more cost-effective.
Besides the quality of the product itself, the fenders should have an easy set of installation options or the supply company would provide professional installation service. For example in MAX Groups Marine, we either send our installation team to take care of the installation or educate our customers on the procedures and things to note. It is our promise to not only ensure proficiency in the marine fender application, but also add value to vessel owners and dock holders.
MAX Groups Marine has been supplying solid rubber fenders and pneumatic fenders for more than 12 years. Our pneumatic fenders’ manufacturing process is especially innovative as we use molding technology unlike most other factories who uses traditional manufacturing. Our products therefore has a much smoother surface and longer shelf life. Learn more at about our pneumatic fenders HERE.
More info on MAX Solid Fender products HERE.
Read more about Marine Fenders at Popular types of Marine Fenders and Their Functionalities
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