Trailing suction equipment

For an efficient excavation and loading system on board a trailing suction hopper dredger, the main equipment consists of the draghead, suction pipe, swell compensators and gantries. The productivity of the vessel is influenced greatly by the efficiencyof this equipment. The suction tube and draghead must be positioned correctly to perform the intended dredging operation and transport the materials to the hopper. 


The main function of the draghead is to excavate the soil and transform it along withthe seawater into a mixture. The higher the density of the mixture the draghead can create, the better it is performing. Furthermore, the draghead represents the first mechanical contact with the soil, so its design, quality and durability are critical in dredging tasks. Ongoing development has resulted in active soil excavation by the draghead, either with water or teeth. IHC America is proactively researching draghead properties to continuously improve on their productivity and effectiveness. 

Suction pipes

Suction pipes fulfill a number of key functions in the dredging process. They ensure full control of the draghead on the bottom, transport the soil/water mixture to the hopper and transmit the trailing force from the draghead to the ship and support jet water and other pipeline systems and cabling. IHC America’s suction pipes are the result of years of expertise and practical experience. Suction pipes are developed integrally with all other components to ensure the optimal cost effectiveness of each operation. Their hinged construction – together with swell compensation – contributes to an ideal contact between the draghead and the bottom. 

Swell compensators

One of the most important ways of maximizing production from a trailing suction hopper dredger draghead is to constantly optimize its position on the bottom. The type of soil determines the ideal height of the head from the bottom. If it is too high, the mixture tends to contain too much water, but if it is too deep or at full weight, the draghead will generate too much trailing force. IHC America swell compensators address this challenge for optimal performance. 


IHC Parts & Services designs and builds gantries to suit all suction pipe handling requirements. The standard series consists of draghead, intermediate, and trunnion gantries. All have been designed to offer maximum versatility and operational security at minimum cost. IHC America’s gantries are built to last;they work effectively, require minimum maintenance and ensure a dependable working environment.