-By William Goodall
I have been a member of the team at Vestdavit for less than a year. During that time, I have come to realize that the word that most accurately sums up our approach is innovation. Nowhere is this more apparent than in our PLD series of davits which, in under 12 months, developed from fully developed concept to become an integral part of our catalogue.
Vestdavit has long been a pioneer in docking head technology, having developed several variants of our PAP system over the years. The PAP system remains one of our most advanced designs but it commands a premium price tag as the docking head system is integrated directly into the system, putting it out of reach financially for several ambitious and growing navies, particularly in the Asia-Pacific Region.
During the 2010s, in researching the region, Vestdavit astutely identified the need for a cheaper, modular and robust system that included a docking head. And so, the PLD series was born.
In 2016, Vestdavit’s engineering team set to work designing the next generation of cost-effective units. Three designs were tried out before we finally settled on today’s masterpiece. Unlike the PAP series, the PLD has an independent docking head, which allows the customer to remove it should they so wish.
The PLD was conceived as a modular davit so that features could be added or removed with ease at the design stage in line with the duties envisaged by the customer, maximizing flexibility both in terms of the operational requirement and cost. One example is the unit’s keel supports, which are easy to remove and upgrade, while having hydraulic parts close to the deck level makes maintenance easier and cheaper.
The benefits of the modular approach are already being felt across the market. Vestdavit has now tested and supplied three variants (SWL from 4 to 6 tons) of the PLD davit to Asia-Pacific customers – the PLD-4000, PLD-5000 and PLD-6000 – with several more variants under development. The next challenge will be to construct the docking head from aluminium, reducing overall system weight by up to 700kg.
Vestdavit’s engineering team took particular pride on receiving pictures of the PLD davit in operation from Mauritius, with the efforts made at the design, manufacturing and installation stages coming together in a unit in service that is more than fit for purpose.