Multi-function dredges (MFDs) have been around for nearly two decades – small versatile machines performing multiple dredging operations. The basic concept has evolved to include dredges that can cut or grab and pump or carry silt vegetation or floating debris.
Yet the industry has not adopted a widespread nomenclature for the various kinds of MFDs said Ryan Horton global sales manager for IMS – leavings them all lumped under one general category. This leaves distinguishing between the Normrock Amphibex 800; the Mud Cat MSD-1000; the Aquamec Watermaster Classic IV; and the IMS Model 7012 HP Versi- Dredge 3D the matter of a long discussion.
This shows hydraulically chopped and pumped vegetation in shreds.
“There’s a lot of confusion and people don’t understand the differences unless you explain them all” Horton said. Each class of multi-function dredge has advantages and limitations. For example MFDs with backhoe arms can typically launch themselves; other MFDs can launch themselves using self-launching and retrieving trailers. See the chart on the next page for other advantages and limitations.
The chart also outlines the different classes of MFDs with their function and an abbreviated classification. “Let’s try to classify them so it’s easier to compare them” Horton said.
The IMS Weedmaster™ cuts and pumps reeds.
MFDs fall in three tiers Horton said – Tier I (silt and sand) example: 7012 HP Versi-Dredge 3D (top photo); Tier II (vegetation) example: WeedMaster Cutterhead (bottom photo); and Tier III (garbage/floating debris) example; GarbageMaster.
The small dredge industry has trended toward multi-function he said. “When you’re going into waterways like canals and lake you’ll run into vegetation” Horton said. “Also in shallow water small inland dredges will run into more reeds and cattails or even invasive species like hyacinth that multiple rapidly.”
Editor’s Note: Thank you to Ryan Horton and his detailed input for the chart