This system is a Japanese invention designed to solve the shortcomings of ARTUBAR. It came about when a Japanese Artubar unit (the first built) suffered prototype pains, and a Japanese architect, (Mr. Takeo Yamaguchi) set out to improve the connection design. The result was ARTICOUPLE. The system is similar to ARTUBAR on the tug in that hydraulic rams actuate a pin outward from each side of the tug. However, this pin is in actuality a large ram which has a ball on the end of it. Affixed to this ball is a “helmet” with teeth. These teeth come hard against a vertical row of similar teeth on the barge notch walls. Thus, the tug is prevented from side to side motion allowed by ARTUBAR, and the multiple teeth up and down the notch wall allow connection at virtually any draft of tug or barge. Similar toothless arrangements in another type of ARTICOUPLE, replace the toothed helmet on the tug with a rubber-lined pressing shoe. This system is excellent for dump scows, or inshore AT/B’s.

The newer FRC series marries the pressing shoe and toothed engagement design to create a perfect system for AT/B’s where the tug remains connected but the barge changes draft while at sea. This is perfect for DP applications, shuttle AT/B’s lightering, dredges, etc. It is one of the connections chosen to be applied to our new PROVIDER Class AT/B OSV design.

The system can engage at any relative draft, and ballasting is not needed to line the tug up with the barge. The ball on the helmet allows a certain amount of angular misalignment as well, in heel. All side to side movement is halted because the helmet lands hard against the barge ladder. The systems allows only relative pitch.  This is also the most widely applied system in the world, with the greatest experience in application, model testing, and operation. It is also available in the largest range of sizes and configurations of any tug to barge connection system. It is a product of Taisei Engineering, of Tokyo, Japan.

OT&BE has nine new AT/B’s under design with this system and has established a long-term relationship with Taisei Engineering to further the development of high-speed AT/B’s.

Articouple also produces a system known as the "TRIO-FIX" design, wherein three connection units are applied to the tug, to lock the vessel against pitch and obtain higher vessel speeds. A second set of connection ladders, aft of the main set, allows the tug to be moved back in the notch and thus be allowed to pitch - a large benefit in heavy weather to keep the wheels immersed.