Variable width option for mobile boat hoists

After months of design, manufacture and rigorous factory testing, Marine Travelift has announced the availability of a ‘variable width’ option for its BFMII and C-Series mobile boat hoists.

The first Marine Travelift model with the variable width option – a 75BFMII (75 tonne lift capacity) – was delivered to The Marine Group Boat Works’ San Jose del Cabo location in March. It offers 9ft (2.7m) of width variability and can seamlessly expand and retract under full load in 60 seconds.
The most important benefit the option offers is the opportunity to block vessels closer together in order to maximise space previously unavailable because of the overall width dimensions of a standard fixed width boat hoist.
“The variable width machine allows us to utilise otherwise lost space with a traditional boat hoist,” says Pete Horner, general manager at the Los Cabos yard. “It’s a two-fold solution for us as we can continue to grow our business in the same physical footprint and work on more boats at the same time, ultimately limiting customer downtime and maximising profitability.”
The variable width option also enables the operator to move vessels through a doorway, a feature that was previously not an option as the width of a standard machine is sized to fit piers. This eliminates the need to double handle vessels when moving them in and out of the building and broadens the handling scope of the machine.
The new option is powered by a hydraulic ram, housed within the telescoping top beam, and is assisted by Marine Travelift’s patented all-wheel electronic steering option. These two components are also teamed with a control loop system that includes angle sensors, a distance sensor and wheel encoder to keep the machine square and ensure safe expansion and retraction throughout the full range of variability.
The extension and retraction functions can occur on either side of the machine for flexibility and maximum manoeuvrability. It is also designed to handle full load across the entire width spectrum and can stop anywhere within the full range of variability, with or without a vessel in the slings.
“This machine combines many familiar systems that we have successfully developed and refined over the years: the patented all-wheel electronic steering system we’ve been using on Marine Travelift mobile boat hoists and Shuttlelift mobile gantry cranes, sensors/safety systems like the linear transducer and angle sensor have been utilised on our Hydro M_Drive marina forklifts, and the knowledge we’ve gained from building hydraulic transporters with a variable width option. We combined these to create a well-designed system that is not only efficient, but also safe – for the operator, the vessel and the machine itself,” confirmed Bob Johnston, director of customer care, Marine Travelift.
Design goals for the new option included safety, performance (speed/efficiency) and functionality. To be certain that this option reached all three goals, Marine Travelift teams performed months of rigorous factory testing that included countless hours of use, both with and without maximum load, on different grades, and using a mock-up of the end user’s existing pier infrastructure. Making the machine easy to maintain for the customer is also a key feature so serviceability was considered at every stage of the design and engineering process.
The variable width option is available on all capacity boat hoists offered by Marine Travelift, and there are already orders in place for 35, 50 and 150 tonne models, which are all scheduled to deliver in 2023.


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