Schat-Harding Re-engineers Release Hooks

The lifeboat and davit manufacturer Schat-Harding has completely re-engineered its range of on-load release hooks. The new hooks provide a safer solution and are less maintenance dependent than most of the hooks in use today.

All Schat-Harding cruise tenders and lifeboats are already fitted with this new generation hook, complementing the second-generation hook designs fitted into the KISS and Freefall boat range. Also, from May 2007 all remaining types of boats leave the factory fitted with the new hooks.

The second generation of hooks has also been retrofitted for some owners, such as Celebrity Cruises.

"Current hooks all work to a design which has small safety tolerances, making them sensitive to lack of maintenance and with which it is hard to see if they are locked or not," explainedDavid Bradley, group after sales and service manager for Schat-Harding. "Schat-Harding's second generation hooks solve those problems. The new design concepts have eliminated the need for strict tolerances and have used corrosion-resistant material on critical components, simplifying maintenance routines and improving reliability. The hook lock is either clearly visible or is fitted with a clear external indicator to show that the hook is closed correctly. There is no substitute for good maintenance by skilled personnel, but these hooks are as safe as it is possible to make an on-load release hook."

Schat-Harding Freefall boats and KISS boats both have new hook designs based on the locked pipe system. In this system the tail of the hook is held in the locked position within a 3 - 5 cm deep steel pipe. It is clearly visible and can only be released by a 110 degree turn of the operating lever.

Conventional davit-launched boats are now fitted with variants of Schat-Harding's LHR hook range, based on a wearless cam system. The tail of the hook engages with the cam in the locking shaft when the shaft is in the locked position, and has 3 cm of contact area. When the on-load release is activated by rotating the locking shaft a roller in the tail of the hook contacts with the cam area, ensuring no need for tolerances and no wear on the assembly. This hook does not depend on close tolerances either during manufacture or use, and is also visibly safe because the open/close indicator is external and is integral to the locking shaft.

"Full Failure Mode Effect Analysis was carried out on the hook designs and both have now been in service without incident for some time. Schat-Harding's new hooks have been designed to be as safe as possible," said Bradley. "We want the authorities to step up to the plate and begin strictly applying IMO MSC1206, which obliges owners to have their lifeboats and davits serviced properly by approved technicians. That will save a lot of lives. They can stop hiding behind the idea that some future technology can solve the problem of lifeboat accidents, that technology is here and in service. What we need now is authorities to oblige owners to have systems properly serviced and maintained in accordance with IMO Guidelines."

Schat-Harding is the world's leading supplier of lifeboat and evacuation systems for the cruise, offshore and shipping industries. It aims to be a FIRST in safety for all its customers. With factories and offices in Norway, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Singapore, Spain, Canada, the Czech Republic, the USA and China, and agents in thirty other countries, Schat-Harding provides a global service and supply network. Brands now supported by Schat-Harding include Watercraft, Waterman, Fiskars, Davit-Company, William Mills Marine, Schat, Harding, Mulder & Rijke and the Beiyang Boatbuilding Co.

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