To guide ships through this enormous lock, Eurotech Benelux has designed, manufactured and delivered 36 sets of wheel fender systems for each knuckle entrance. As befits the largest lock ever constructed, the wheel fenders are the largest on the market, with 3.1m diameter pneumatic premium brand Quayquip OTR tyres, back reaction rollers, and an axle slide system. Combined with its heavy duty steel casing each wheel fender weighs in excess of 20 tonnes as a complete assembly.
Before delivery commenced, the wheel fenders had to undertake full-scale testing to prove their performance. The testing was conducted in a purpose-built compression test rig in Belgium, and the fender proved to perform exactly as required to meet its load-deflection- energy requirements.
When it opened in June 2016, the Kieldrecht lock at 68m wide x 500m long x 17.6m depth became the world’s largest, overtaking the Berendrecht lock in size, also in the Port of Antwerp.