History and development of ship launching airbags
Marine airbags are unique Chinese marine products and often called ship launching airbags that indicate the most popular application of these heavy duty airbags is for ship launching. It is estimated that more than 80 percent new built ship whose DWT below 60,000 are launched by marine airbags in China.But marine airbags are found to be powerful and versatile tools for many other marine projects such as disembarking ships,heavy transportation, refloating salvage etc.
The history of marine air bag dates back to 1990s. A Chinese ship repair and building shipyard launched a 60 DWT tank barge with marine airbags on January 20, 1981 and it is known as the first use of marine airbags. The invention of marine airbags was expected to develop a flexible, less limited ship launching method.
Over the past twenty years, marine airbags have made great advancements in the manufacture and application. The first generation marine airbags employ rubber dipped canvases as reinforcement material and two cone-shaped ends are stuck to the chamber trunk. Now the top marine airbags are seamless and their performances are about 15 times of the first generation with the same specifications. Regarding the launching/landing technology, marine airbags have also achieved a significant leap. In the beginning, only small and flat bottom ships located on a fabricated slope could be launched with marine airbags. Now this technology is more flexible and less limited by the ship and landform. The DWT of launched ship reached 55,000 and launching ramp can be flat. Not only for ship launching marine airbags are widely used for heavy conveying also. Marine airbags contributed much to the success of famous Nanhai No.1 ancient ship salvage project. The 4,800 tons cassion which hold the invaluable ancient ship landed from the semi-submersible barge and transported to the museum named Crystal Palace riding on 16 pieces marine airbags.
The advantages of marine airbag ship launching can be concluded as: less landform limited, fewer fixtures needed,environment protective,multi-functional and cost-effective.
Marine airbags launching technology becomes into a flexible and effective solution for marine engineering projects nowadays. It is and will help people to do work easily in a simple way.