The cutter manipulator is a tool intended to exchange the cutter on a large cutter dredger – in this case the Van Oord “Athena and Artemis”. This tool enables Van Oord to exchange the cutter safely whilst in swell. The cutter itself is designed and built by TMS. Hycos has delivered the hydraulic and control system.
A cutter suction dredger is a stationary or self-propelled vessel that uses a rotating cutter head to loosen the material in the bed (‘cutting’).
A suction inlet located beneath the cutter head (known as the suction mouth) is connected by a suction tube directly to one or more centrifugal pumps. The vacuum force at the suction inlet sucks up the loosened material. The suction tube and cutter head are attached to a ladder. The ladder with cutter head is positioned at the fore of the vessel.
On the aft side, the cutter generally has two spud poles. One spud pole (the auxiliary spud) passes straight through the vessel, while the other is mounted on a movable spud carriage, which can be moved lengthwise along the vessel or pontoon. Steel cables are used to move the ladder or cutter head back and forth, with the spud in the spud carriage as the centre of each concentric circle that it describes. Moving the spud carriage causes the cutter suction dredger to move as well (‘stepping’). The cutter suction dredger discharges the dredged material directly to shore via a floating pipeline or into a barge with a special loading system.
See below a demonstration movie of Van Oord.