The Switch package for Twin Fin bulk carrier series

A series of bulk carrier newbuildings propelled by Caterpillar Marine’s Twin Fin propulsion packages will feature a Yaskawa Environmental Energy / The Switch electric drive train solution.

The Switch will deliver two permanent magnet (PM) propulsion machines, four PM generators, two DC-Hubs, two Electronic Bus Links (EBL) and 20 Electronic DC Breakers (EDCB) for each vessel.

The newbuild bulk carriers feature large internal power plants – with energy supply through The Switch technology – to satisfy the demand for cargo conveyor belts, propulsion and associated vessel operations.

Ville Parpala, Director, Product Marketing, Marine, Yaskawa Environmental Energy / The Switch, describes the contract as a “major breakthrough” for the business.

“Cat is a globally respected brand and a dream customer to add to our growing client reference list,” Parpala comments.

Twin Fin concept

“The Twin Fin concept is a game-changer within the industry, delivering enhanced power and maneuverability, but with decreased energy consumption and emissions. Our innovative drive train technology has been selected to facilitate peak performance and reliability. We see this as a milestone win and huge endorsement of our flexible, economical and environmentally friendly solutions.”

The Motorship notes the Twin Fin System comprises a compact electric motor and gearbox configuration connected via a short drive shaft, turning a pair of controllable pitch propellers. The propeller performance is enhanced by two tailor-made fins attached to the hull. Major transmission parts in the system are accessible from inside the vessel, enhancing ease of maintenance and averting the need to drydock.

The larger propellers running at slower shaft speed offers increased thrust at lower input power. The two fins are hydrodynamically designed, tailored to individual ship designs, which ensures homogenous water flow to the propellers for lower fuel consumption plus lower emissions and noise radiation. For dynamically positioned ships, the system can be specified with tunnel thrusters, either attached to the fins or to a central skeg running between the fins.

The compact, light, highly efficient and simple-to-maintain PM machines – which capture mechanical energy and convert it to green, electrical vessel power – are perfectly suited for the limited space available in the slim profile of the Twin Fins.

The Switch DC-Hubs, meanwhile, offer a flexible choice of power generation, energy storage, charging, propulsion and clean power, while the EBL links and protects them. Its unique ability to detect, cut and isolate any potential system error within just 10 microseconds greatly increases vessel redundancy. EDCBs are installed to protect the individual frequency converters within the DC-Hubs.

“By working as partners with customers such as Cat, we can help deliver a combination of performance, efficient power and environmental advantages for forward-thinking owners,” Parpala says. “This gives the owner a competitive advantage while saving the environment from unwanted emissions.”

“We see such contracts as key building blocks in the drive to enable a more responsible, sustainable and profitable industry. We’re delighted that Cat, and the shipowner, share our vision.”

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