Dredge Automation

Providing turnkey design & implementation as well as upgrades & automation to existing dredges

Kruse Integration has been providing automation solutions for the dredging industry for over a decade. We can provide full turn-key design and implementation as well as upgrades and automation to existing dredges. We incorporates today’s latest technology in all of our Dredging Automation Solutions. From simple data collection & reporting systems to fully automated cutter/suction dredge control, we stand behind our commitment to provide each customer with an efficient, cost effective, proven control’s design which will perform to your expectations.

Kruse Integration has developed algorithms to mimic Operator actions based on conditions. Our typical cutter/suction automated system senses cutter depth, tide offset, dredge position and heading (using GPS), equipment loading, service water pressure, product flow, product density, discharge pressure, vacuum pressure, cave-ins, equipment status, fault conditions and cable feed. Using these parameters, Kruse Integration can develop a program, which will actually take over the dredge based on years of experience with Dredging conditions. Whether the dredge is hydraulic or electric, we shall interface with the motor drives or hydraulic proportional valves to control the dredge in the same manner. Safety interlocks are programmed into the PLC (programmable logic controller) to protect equipment and personnel from harm. Our systems include graphical Operator Interfaces to allow setpoint entries, monitor system status, display alarms, display real-time and historical trends, and manually control the dredge if necessary.

GPS Positioning: Global Positioning Systems are becoming more common-place in the dredging industry. Kruse Integration has installed and setup GPS on clamshell dredges, cutter suction dredges and dragline cranes. Once a system is installed, the Operator “can’t do without it.” There is such a wealth of information displayed and logged by use of GPS, that these systems are an easy sell once the owner experience one. GPS logs are used to graphically and numerically show production, depth, locations and trouble spots. The coordinates of the sand mine limits, lake, channel or river are superimposed under the actual color depicted real-time digging depth and location relative to the actual site. This information is useful for contractors’ proof of production as well as permitting requirements. Kruse Integration has developed custom software drivers to allow our automation PLC system to communicate with the GPS software. This allows us to control the dredge and location as well as headings in a manner that doesn’t require operator intervention.

Automation Features: Our automation system features are tailored to our customer’s needs. Some of the features we can provide are:

  • Auto Swing Speed - When enabled, the swing speed shall be determined by the Operator Entered Suction Pressure. As the vacuum drops below the setting, the swing speed shall gradually increase. As the vacuum approaches the setting, the swing speed shall slow, even stop, while the dredge enjoys high production.
  • Auto Cave-in Detection - When enabled, the dredge will automatically backup a predetermined amount of time upon high vacuum. The high vacuum situation must be present beyond the allowable response time for the Relief valve.
  • Auto Wall Detection and Corrective Action - When enabled, the ladder shall automatically ascend upon high swing pressure, low cutter pressure and low density. These conditions are Operator Entered settings to determine that the ladder is against a wall. Upon detection, the audible alarm shall beep occasionally as the ladder ascends in 1 foot increments. Upon clearing the wall and reversing direction, the ladder shall automatically descend to the original depth. During automatic descent, the PLC program monitors the depth. If it is determined that the ladder is not descending, the action will assume that the cutter is on a ledge and cease descent.
  • Auto Line Plug Detection and Corrective Action - When enabled, the ladder shall automatically ascend upon low velocity. This condition is an Operator Entered setting to determine that the discharge line is plugging. Upon detection, the audible alarm shall beep occasionally as the swing holds and the ladder ascends 6 feet to allow line clearing. Upon 20 seconds of normal velocity, the ladder shall descend back to its original depth and swing (if selected) shall resume. During automatic descent, the PLC program monitors the depth. If it is determined that the ladder is not descending, the action will assume that the cutter is on a ledge and cease descent.
  • Ladder Descent Auto Mooring Control - When enabled, the swing winches will automatically be put in mooring control when the ladder is descending. This feature allows for automatic payout control as the ladder goes down.
  • Step Up Control - This feature allows the Operator to step the dredge forward using a single button.
  • Back-up Control - This feature allows the Operator to back the dredge up using a single button.
  • Auto Swing Tension Control - When swinging in the direction of the cutter dig rotation, the dredge tends to walk across the cut faster than the swing pull speed. This is detected and the opposing winch drive will automatically be increased to hold the cutter from walking over the swing cable.
  • Auto Velocity Control - When enabled, the PLC shall automatically control all pumps to maintain maximum efficiency for optimum slurry concentration.
  • Profile Control - This feature takes advantage of our ability to communicate closely with Dredgepack GPS software. It allows the dredge to automatically cut predetermined lake, channel or pond theoretical profiles entered into the well known standard Hypack software.
  • Hydraulic Governor - This feature is built into our standard control package to allow hydraulic winch maximum pressure settings which avoid cable breaking. This is an electric controlled feature over the hydraulic proportional valves.
  • Slurry Control - This feature takes advantage of the density meter and variable suction relief valve to control precise slurry concentration.
  • Auto Spudding and reverse swing direction - This feature takes advantage of our ability to communicate closely with Dredgepack GPS software. It will allow the dredge to automatically reverse swing direction based on distance from center line as well as automatically spud ahead based on entered heading location.
  • Auto Leveling - This feature allows the Operator to enter a pre-determined angle for an Articulating Knuckle. The automation will control the knuckle position to maintain the exact required angle for efficient and surgical dredging as the ladder angle and elevation changes.

Booster Pump Control: Kruse Integration has developed Booster Pump controls, which allow the Dredge or Plant Operator to remotely monitor and control the pump speeds, pressure parameters, faults, starts and shutdowns as well as motor diagnostics. We have developed a software driver to communicate with Caterpillar E series electronic equipped engines for remote control and diagnostics. If it’s a non-electronic diesel engine that requires automation, we’ll install the necessary transmitters, electronics and actuators to control the engine.

Kruse Integration offers turn-key booster pump automation by selecting and installing the necessary pressure transmitters, vibration sensor, pressure switches, PLC (programmable logic controller), motor drives (electric pumps), remote radio telemetry setup and remote control display station. We shall program the PLC to sequentially start up the booster pump with associated supporting pumps as well as a controlled shut down upon selection. All motor, pressure and performance parameters are monitored by the PLC to alarm upon trouble.

We can customize a system to automate an existing or new booster pump installation.

Technology Philosophy: Kruse Integration incorporates today’s latest technology in all of our Dredging Automation Solutions. From simple data collection & reporting systems to fully automated cutter/suction dredge control, we stand behind our commitment to provide each customer with an efficient, cost effective, proven control’s design which will perform to your expectations.

Kruse Integration, has a seasoned staff of control designers, with many years experience spanning clam shell dredge through cutter/suction dredge technology. We are versed in hydraulic and electric operated dredges. We are constantly expanding our list of customers as well as dredge manufacturers. Kruse Integration has teamed up with Ellicott, International Dredging, Damon Shipyards, Dredge Masters International , Dredge Supply and many independent manufactures and consultants to complete successful dredging automation projects.

Kruse Integration has developed algorithms to mimic Operator actions based on conditions. Our typical cutter/suction automated system senses cutter depth, tide offset, dredge position and heading (using GPS), equipment loading, service water pressure, product flow, product density, discharge pressure, vacuum pressure, cave-ins, equipment status, fault conditions and cable feed. Using these parameters, Kruse Integration can develop a program, which will actually take over the dredge based on years of experience with Dredging conditions. Whether the dredge is hydraulic or electric, we shall interface with the motor drives or hydraulic proportional valves to control the dredge in the same manner. Safety interlocks are programmed into the PLC (programmable logic controller) to protect equipment and personnel from harm. Our systems include graphical Operator Interfaces to allow setpoint entries, monitor system status, display alarms, display real-time and historical trends, and manually control the dredge if necessary.

Kruse Integration dredge control systems will allow the Operator to select swing heading, production rate and cut depth. The custom PLC program will automatically control the dredge to efficiently maintain these settings.

Through wireless Ethernet communications, we can control remote booster pumps and even the plant from the dredge or visa-versa. We develop automatic production reports as well as maintenance schedules and color print-outs of logged cutter depth and location, to graphically indicate the production profile of the pond or lake.

Using GPS, we can provide location and dredged information in a colorful representation on screen and paper. This logged information is useful for showing historical and current pond or lake floor model. Additionally, it can be used for production, permitting and location marks.

Kruse Integration works carefully with the customer to understand their needs, concerns and requirements. We are prepared to develop a custom system using our years of experience to help improve your productivity and uptime of your new or upgraded dredge.

Whether you need to provide process control assistance to a manned dredge or are looking for complete production automation, talk to Kruse Integration for all of your dredging automation solutions.