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Inflatable buoyancy units for water lowering

On behalf of BSB Staalbouw Buitink Technology engineered, produced and installed air Inflatable Buoyancy Units (IBUs) to descend temporary water barriers. Afterwards the same system can lift the barriers again.

Jointly BSB Staalbouw and Buitink Technology developed the water float system for renovation of three dam constructions in Amerongen, Hagestijn and Driel in the Nederrijn.

Renovation, carried out by BSB Staalbouw and Siemens, involves placement under water of temporary barriers in order to remove and replace or renovate the excisting sluice gates.

The temporary barriers consist of two separate steel constructions, each weighing 130 tons. Assisted by a crane the IBUs - inflatable water cushions - carry the construction in the water.


Connecting Inflatable Buoyancy Units

Each part of the temporary barrier is connected to eight IBUs. Together with BSB Staalbouw size, position and connecting points were determined. Real challenge in development was to find the proper floating power, but more over proper stability and centre of gravity.

Controlling Inflatable Buoyancy Units

All IBUs (16 units) are connected to an air compressor system with divider. Each IBU is controlled individually such that each IBU< recieves its own pressure and air flow. This advanced float control enables accurate fine tuning of horizontal position during decend and lifting of barriers.

Project data:

Client: Rijkswaterstaat (
Contractor: BSB Staalbouw en Siemens
Air inflatable floats: Buitink Technology

More information

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