MacGregor GravityVibe: A game-changer for bulk carriers

MacGregor, a leading provider of maritime cargo and load handling solutions, has introduced a new and innovative gravity self-unloading system that will enable bulk carriers to deliver a wider range of cargo, in larger volumes, and with greater efficiency. The new system, named the ‘MacGregor GravityVibe’, uses a patent-pending vibrating unloader to reduce internal friction and facilitate the discharge of coarse materials such as wood chips from the cargo hold.

The MacGregor GravityVibe is a breakthrough in the field of self-unloading systems, which are widely used in bulk carriers to automate the unloading process and eliminate the need for shore-side equipment or personnel. The system relies on gravity to move the cargo from the hold to the conveyors, which then transport it to the discharge boom. However, conventional self-unloading systems have some limitations, such as the inability to handle certain types of cargo, the loss of cargo capacity due to steep slope angles, and the high maintenance and operational costs.

The MacGregor GravityVibe overcomes these challenges by incorporating vibrating panels into the unloading sequence. These panels are activated when the cargo flow is obstructed by remnants or bridges that form when coarse material sticks together and blocks the outlet. The vibrations break the bridges and shift the remnants, allowing the cargo to resume its flow. The vibrating panels are isolated from the hull structure, using a solution from MacGregor on which a patent is pending, to minimize the transfer of vibrations and noise to other parts of the vessel.

The MacGregor GravityVibe offers several advantages over traditional self-unloading systems. First, it can discharge various cargo types with slope angles of just 15 to 20 degrees, compared to 35 to 60 degrees in standard systems. This means that the cargo hold can be designed with more volume and less wasted space, increasing the cargo capacity and reducing the carbon dioxide emissions per carried ton of cargo. Second, it simplifies the system configuration by requiring only one longitudinal conveyor, instead of two longitudinal and two transfer conveyors in large sized conventional self-unloaders. This reduces the number of components, the maintenance and spare parts costs, the spillage and cleaning requirements, and the workload and safety risks for the crew. Third, it provides a highly cost-effective alternative to traditional solutions, as it enhances the flexibility and efficiency of bulk handling operations.

“As the culmination of decades of experience in self-unloading systems and years of targeted research, the MacGregor GravityVibe is our most advanced self-unloader yet,” said Tomas Wallin, Senior Product Owner, Self-Unloaders, MacGregor. “It will allow bulk carrier owners to expand their market opportunities, optimize their cargo capacity and environmental performance, and lower their operational costs and complexity.”

The MacGregor GravityVibe was launched at the beginning of 2024 and has already received positive feedback from the market. MacGregor expects to see a growing demand for the system in the coming years, as the bulk industry seeks to adopt more sustainable and efficient solutions.

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