MacGregor inks contract to supply 36 traction winch systems

Source: press release, 10 February 2021

Traction winch (photo: NREC)
Traction winch (photo: NREC)

MacGregor, part of Cargotec, has secured an order from SIA Solutions LLC to deliver 36 traction winch systems, 72 storage reel brakes and electrical control systems to the specialised concrete mat sinking unit, ARMOR 1, currently under construction at Thoma-Sea Marine Constructors LLC, Houma, Louisiana for the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

The order was booked into Cargotec’s 2020 fourth quarter order intake. Equipment delivery is planned for the middle of 2021, with the mat sinking unit scheduled to commence operation in the middle of 2022.

ARMOR 1 will replace the current mat sinking unit operated by the USACE which has been in operation since the 1940s. SIA Solutions LLC is the overall robotic systems integrator for the project. MacGregor will be part of a team comprising SIA Solutions, National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC), and Bristol Harbor Group, Inc. (BHGI).

The traction winch systems are part of a robotic crane gantry system that will handle the launch of concrete mats into the Mississippi River. The traction winch systems will pay out the launch cables through the gantry system; the cables will then tie together the concrete mats, forming one large concrete mattress. The mattresses are then launched into the Mississippi in order to prevent erosion and maintain the current waterway, as the river serves as a vital pathway for merchant vessels to transport goods up and down one of the longest rivers in the United States.

MacGregor delivered the first five winches to NREC, a division of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, during the first half of 2020 for testing purposes. The remaining 31 traction winch systems will be delivered in the middle of 2021.

The MacGregor solution was custom designed for this unique application, using previous experience in designing and building electric traction winch systems for other applications that require precise functionality, such as oceanographic research.

“SIA Solutions is pleased with the performance of the first five winches during testing and is excited to continue our partnership with MacGregor to manufacture the complete set of 36 traction winch systems for installation on the full-scale, barge-mounted robotic ARMOR 1 system,” says Jon Vernau, Vice President of Robotics and Emerging Technologies at SIA Solutions.

“MacGregor is proud to be part of the team that SIA Solutions has put together to deliver this innovative robotic gantry system for an extremely unique application,” says Leif Byström, Head of Offshore Solutions Division. “MacGregor’s experience with advanced maritime winch systems and comprehensive support will enable operation of the ARMOR 1 barge for decades to come.”