Tidal Anchors Ltd
Tidal Anchors Holdings Ltd. are an SME based in Swansea, South Wales. The company develop and design anchors that are used in tidal waters that offer an anchoring solution of vessels of all sizes.
Tidal Anchors Holdings Ltd. approached Cardiff University to review the maximum structural performance of their design through the ASTUTE 2020 project.
Collaborative research with Cardiff University optimised the new anchor to deliver maximum structural performance and suitability for full scale manufacture. The project evaluated the design, performance and model key parameters, particularly how it embeds in the sea floor, to determine opportunities for further optimisation, including manufacturing.
Tidal Anchors Holdings Ltd. recognised the need for a new type of anchor, that can be accurately deployed with minimal dragging to embed it and have developed a new novel anchor from an original idea designed for the safe, secure anchoring of marine craft in tidal waters, when a change of direction in tide or wind is experienced.
The twin rail design and fluke arrangement ensures immediate and accurate setting, with stability and high holding power in all directions, whichever way the anchor lands on the seabed. Not only does the Tidal Anchor offer a superior performance anchoring solution for all sizes, but also an alternative permanent mooring option to those currently available.
Anchor design is historically empirical in nature and has seen little recent evolution. Current designs often drag on for some distance before engaging sufficiently with the sea floor. This often results in anchors having to be laid several times before they are confidently fixed. This innovative anchor improves the fixing process and can be accurately positioned, eliminating practices such as the deployment of environmentally unfriendly concrete blocks.
Challenges: Wind, tide and ease of manufacture
For the Tidal Anchor to deliver superior performance compared to conventional commercially available models it required optimisation in order to remain stable during the wind and tidal forces experienced by vessels to operate in a variety of seabed conditions, such as sand, clay and rock. To be commercially viable it also required to be optimised for ease of manufacture particularly eliminating the need for welding which is a potential source of weakness and corrosion.
Solution: Computational analysis techniques and field trials
Finite element analysis (FEA) revealed that the optimised Tidal Anchor is capable of remaining stable during forces of wind and tide experienced under working conditions. Beach and sea trials conducted with Tidal Anchors Ltd. were used to confirm the FEA results. The resistance of the anchor has been modelled, against a viscous fluid- liquid mercury, and the strength and stiffness of the anchor evaluated leading to specification revisions.
The tank testing facility has enabled early feedback from several design iterations. A revised design was finalised by the company which was remodelled (against a viscous fluid) by ASTUTE 2020 and strength re-evaluated to confirm material properties and dimensions to withstand predicted loads and required safety factors.
Testing of the anchor indicates it sets more reliably than conventional anchors, in a shorter length therefore causing less environmental harm to important sea grass vegetation. The major redesign development is still within the criteria of the original patent, which was a very important consideration.
Tidal Anchors Holdings Ltd. exhibited and launched their new Tidal Anchor at Seawork International 2017 held in Southampton. This event is one of Europe's largest commercial marine and workboat exhibitions regarded as the industry's one-stop-shop for buyers, legislators and influencers in the marine market. The European Commercial Marine Awards are held at the event and the Tidal Anchor won runner up in the marine engineering and construction category.
Tidal Anchors Holdings Ltd. and ASTUTE 2020 have produced a test model to evaluate performance in the field and exhibit to potential customers.
The new anchor is environmentally friendly, as due to its ability to set its own length, it has been recognised by marine biologists as having potential to significantly reduce damage to organisms on the seabed.
Following the successful research progress and testing results obtained and the excellent reception of the Tidal Anchors Holdings Ltd. in the marketplace, it provided the company with the confidence to invest in applying for a patent in additional countries. Seven patents have been granted to date in Europe, Hong Kong, Canada, China, Japan, USA and Australia.