Drives and Control Solutions

Motors, Control Solutions, Power Transmission and Advanced Motion Technology                                                                 

April 18, 2022


DCS Invertek Drives Marine Vessel Operators Turn to VFD Controllerd Electric Bow Thrusters 1 400

Marine vessel operators are increasingly commissioning electrically powered and controlled bow thrusters as an energy-efficient and environmentally safer alternative to hydraulic-based systems on boats.

With 100 per cent more efficiency and little or no environmental hazards such as oil or other contaminants leaking from hydraulic lines, it has become cost-effective to build new or retrofit electric thrusters controlled by variable frequency drives (VFD).

Specialist propulsion company Schottel has chosen Invertek Drives Optidrive VFD technology for a contract with a boatyard building a fleet of new crew boats for Singapore’s offshore marine industry.

Schottel appointed Invertek Drives Far East Pte Ltd in Singapore, who are specialists in the design and installation of VFD thruster control systems.

The powerful Optidrive P2 VFD with an IP55 enclosure has been selected for the project, including 75kW, 90kW and 160kW versions.

Greater energy efficiency and less environmental impact

Henry Beh of Invertek said: “The marine industry, like most others, is looking at ways to become more energy-efficient and to reduce its impact on the environment.

“We are pleased to have been chosen by Schottel to supply our motor and drives for their electric thrusters. Many owners and shipyards are choosing electric thrusters over hydraulic versions on crew boats used for the offshore industry. They are building a fleet of boats that will use the Schottel thruster with our Optidrive VFD control systems.

“The electric system is far more efficient than their hydraulic counterpart, which reduces running costs in addition to the fact that it’s much easier to maintain and an environmentally safer option in terms of no hydraulic oils or contaminants.

He added: “We designed and built a bespoke control panel in-house based on the client’s specific requirements. This ensures the system is dedicated to the boat where the system is being installed and means there is less room for error, making installation and commissioning straight forward.

“For this project, we used high-performance Optidrive P2’s VFDs, including a 75kW, 90kW, and 160kW. The advantage of this drive is that it’s robust and DNV certified for marine use. Additionally, its ease of use means it integrates easily into the application.”

Henry said the advantages of electric bow thrusters meant many vessel owners and operators were increasingly moving towards electric thrusters on new and conversion projects.

DCS Invertek Drives Marine Vessel Operators Turn to VFD Controllerd Electric Bow Thrusters 2 725

Smoother and more accurate control 

“The VFDs allow a much smoother and more accurate speed control on the electric thruster compared to hydraulic systems. This is important for the accurate manoeuvering of a boat,” added Henry.

“The system is also significantly more efficient, which reduces running costs in addition to the fact that it’s much easier to maintain and an environmentally safer option in terms of no hydraulic oils or contaminants.

“The reason for the greater efficiency is that a hydraulic system draws from the main diesel motor. This means the diesel motor has to increase its output to power both the propulsion of the ship as well as the bow thrusters when they’re being used.

“Having a separate electric powered unit with VFD control is more efficient and allows for more precise control, only used when needed. Additionally, electric motors are more compact, taking up less space, which is another important consideration within the confines of a boat.”

So far, 20 Optidrive P2s have been used on the fleet programme, with more to follow.

The Optidrive P2 is one of the most powerful VFDs in its class. It combines high performance with ease of use. It’s aimed at high performance and demanding and can handle 150% overload for 60 seconds.

More details can be found here

DCS Invertek Drives Marine Vessel Operators Turn to VFD Controllerd Electric Bow Thrusters 3 200





Editor's Pick: Featured Article

DCS HELUKABEL Critical Keys to Selecting Right Cable Manufacturer 1 400

As we began 2022, global material shortages and rapidly increasing costs have now become the new reality. The types of materials that have suddenly become difficult to procure are wide-ranging and include computer chips for automotive manufacturing, wood for new construction, and electrical components – just to name a few.

These shortages have created great uncertainty, which is reflected in a recent poll of contractors in the U.S. by the Chamber of Commerce. They reported:

  • •83% are experiencing product delays.
  • •71% are struggling to meet schedule requirements.
  • •68% are experiencing delays expected into 2023.
  • •58% are putting in higher bids on projects.
  • •53% are saying major project shutdowns/delays are a top concern.
  • •41% are saying material shortages continue.
  • •39% are turning down work opportunities.

One of the major material components that affect the cost and availability of wire and cable is copper. This widely used metal, which traditionally has been a volatile commodity, has been steadily increasing in price, which is due to several supply and demand issues.

Read more



Motors for RoboticsTradeoff 1: Torque Density vs. Size 

When calculating the torque requirements for robotic joints, you may run into the first tradeoff: How can you increase the torque in a robotic motor without increasing its size? 

In the frameless motors used in robotic joints, torque increases in direct proportion to an increase in motor length, or as the square of an increase in diameter. In other words, doubling the diameter produces a fourfold increase in torque, known as the D2L rule. In order to achieve the torque required to move and hold substantial loads, the most common approach is to use a larger-diameter robotics motor rather than a longer one, which would make the joint too large and difficult to integrate into your overall design. 

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Hydrogen EnginesHydrogen is an increasingly popular energy carrier. It can be readily produced from water using renewable electricity, and it burns without any greenhouse gas emissions. It is colorless, odorless, and does not spill. It’s no wonder there is a great interest in hydrogen engines as a part of destination zero. 

In this article, Cummins explains how hydrogen fuel can power a vehicle by comparing the similarities and differences between hydrogen and diesel and gas engines and provides some examples of hydrogen engines in mobility and transport. 



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