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Dreding equipment: mechanical versus hydraulic dredging

Dreding equipment: mechanical versus hydraulic dredging

Dredging is certainly indispensable in a water-rich countries. It includes all activities required to remove sand, silt, and other layers from the water bottom. It also includes activities for land reclamation and cleaning up surface water. The dredging equipment makes the difference here.

Two common methods in dredging projects are hydraulic dredging and mechanical dredging. But do you know the difference? Although both methods lead to the same goal, there are significant differences in the performance, efficiency, and application areas of these two techniques. Keep reading and find out which type of dredging equipment suits your dredging project.

Hydraulic dredging equipment

Hydraulic dredging is a method of removing sediments and materials using water flow and suction. This technique uses dredging equipment such as a powerful pump and pipes.

The ship brings water to the dredging location and sprays it onto the seabed at high pressure. This causes sediments to be loosened and suspended in the water. The mixture of water and sediments is then sucked up. The next step is to transport it to the ship via pipes and separated from each other.

Hydraulic dredging equipment is good for: 

  • Efficiency with heavy materials. Hydraulic dredging equipment is particularly effective in moving heavy and compact sediments that are difficult to remove by mechanical means.

  • Larger working distance. The dredging material is transported via pipelines. This allows you to carry out hydraulic dredging over long distances.


Mechanical dredging equipment

Mechanical dredging uses dredging equipment tools such as excavators, grabs and buckets to remove sediments. These machines dig directly into the soil, collect the material, and then load it into trucks or conveyors for further processing.

Mechanical dredging is good for:

  • Precise control: Mechanical dredging equipment offers a high degree of precision when removing specific materials. This is useful for projects where selective dredging is required.

  • Suitable for hard materials: This method is particularly suitable for dealing with hard substrates and large pieces of rubble that are difficult to treat with hydraulic dredging.

Choosing the right dredging equipment

The difference between hydraulic and mechanical dredging comes down to choosing the right dredging equipment for the specific job. Hydraulic dredging excels in situations where you suspend fine sediments and move them over great distances. On the other hand, mechanical dredging excels on projects that require precision and control. Especially when dealing with hard and larger materials.

In the world of dredging, both hydraulic and mechanical techniques are invaluable. The choice between these methods and the dredging equipment depends on the nature of the project, the material to be removed and the objectives of the waterway or port improvements. By understanding the strengths of each of these techniques, engineers and maritime experts can make informed decisions that lead to successful and sustainable dredging projects.