Keeping the marine industry in propulsion

marine

Altra Industrial Motion is the manufacturer and service provider with a portfolio of 26 world-class power transmission brands. Manufacturers’ Monthly asks the OEM what is behind its ascendency in the Australian Marine market.

When Roger Axelsson joined Altra Industrial Motion four years ago as global Marine sales manager, the maritime sector was earmarked as a key growth vertical. Altra has been providing quality products for ships and submarines for many years, but its focus on packaged and bespoke drivetrain solutions has put the customer in the driver’s seat.

“The main goal since I joined the company was to promote Altra Motion as the OEM of 26 world-leading power transmission brands,” Roger said. ‘Altra’s portfolio of brands provides our customers with the convenience of offering all products from the one manufacturer.”

Altra’s customers can source multiple components from one company, which Roger says provides more convenience, compatibility and simpler procurement management.

Key brands under Altra’s marine package include Stromag, Twiflex, Bibby Turboflex, Svendborg, Wichita Clutch and Ameridrives. All 26 brands under Altra Motion concentrate on innovating towards industry trends, focusing on research and development (R&D).

“We have a global footprint, with 17 manufacturing facilities worldwide,” Roger added. “The voice of the customer is imperative, so we find out exactly what they want through research and knowing industry trends and engineer and design accordingly. We talk with our customers to ensure we respond and show them the benefits of working with our complete portfolio of products and service capabilities.

Innovation

The original equipment manufacturer (OEM) provides bespoke packages and innovative solutions for the marine market, including the Turning, Locking and Braking system from Twiflex. The system comprises a Turning gear, Locking device, and shaft Brake (TLB) together with a power unit (e.g. Hydraulic Powerpack) and a control panel for local operation of the system close to the equipment. TLB is available as a continuous turning option as shown or as an indexing system using a simple hydraulic ‘push-pull’ arrangement with the brakes and brake disc to inch the propeller shaft for maintenance and accurate alignment. The TLB solution enables single-source convenience for marine applications.

In addition, the Bibby Turboflex, Ameridrives and Stromag disc, diaphragm and elastomeric couplings are helping manufacturers rise to the challenges of not only naval propulsion and pumping but many other Marine applications where couplings are required. Altra Couplings absorb all types of shock, vibration, misalignments, and end floats. Highly-engineered, Altra coupling products represent the latest in coupling technology, featuring superior design and exceptional quality to ensure extremely reliable, long-lasting performance in all types of harsh environments and applications.

Stromag’s combination 2in1 coupling and clutch assemblies help reduce cost, footprint, and weight and improves efficiencies. With Electromagnetic. Hydraulic or Pneumatic actuations, Stromag 2in1 Coupling / Clutch combinations also offers, optional bell housing mounting, additional bearing support and tailor made or standardised SAE (etc) interfaces. Furthermore, Stromag can also offer drivetrain torsional vibration analysis for OEM and aftermarket applications to make sure the 2in1 Coupling / Clutch combination is engineered fully to the application required.

marine

Service

Since Roger joined Altra Motion, Australian staff numbers have doubled to more than 40, showing the company’s global investment into Australia. The manufacturer has three service facilities in Sydney, Perth and Mackay with qualified service technicians to support onsite and workshop requirements – and a new facility is set to open in the next few months, providing an even faster response to customer needs.

Daemon Flack, NSW sales manager and marine product specialist, says all Altra service facilities are staffed with local teams of highly trained technicians that provide fast-response on-service, including 24–7 breakdown assistance and installation and commissioning support.

“The team of service technicians go onsite to complete commissioning work and service products,” Flack said. “This gives customers peace of mind knowing that if a component is too difficult to disassemble, Altra Motion can come to them. In addition, staff are factory trained, helping improve purpose-designed ships with the equipment required to conduct servicing and maintenance programs quickly and efficiently. We also have several workshop facilities around the country, allowing us to entirely overhaul equipment and bring the product back to a brand-new condition and factory specification.”

The OEM is well aware of the critical nature of its products, so it takes a proactive approach to service programs. Products are inspected at designated and regular intervals, which recommends an inspection every three months and a service every six months.

“Because our couplings, brake and clutches are components within a piece of overall equipment or critical infrastructure, every application is different,” he added. “We work with the customer to understand what is required. Then, as experts, we can also advise on the proper components to use for a particular vessel, which can save time and money.”

Australian Made

The Australian Industry Capability (AIC) is a program that provides Australian companies opportunities to compete on merit for defence work within Australia and overseas. The Morrison Government strengthened the requirements for the AIC at the end of 2020 through additional contractual and non-contractual measures to create more opportunities for Australian businesses in Defence programs.

“For Australian Defence Force projects, if you want to be involved, there’s a criterion where at least 50 per cent of what you offer comes from these shores,” Flack said. “Naval group put us forward to the Commonwealth, and we were approved for ACI capability. So holding Altra Motion in good stead, especially with a lot of the OEMs.”

“We’re responding to the Naval shipbuilding plan, released in 2017 to support the Australian shipbuilding industry and the Royal Australian Navy. We’ve done our research and will respond to market demands.”

Altra Motion Australia can also leverage its global network and expertise to strengthen its offering to the Australian market.

“Marine is a global market,” Roger Axelsson said. “We can successfully duplicate our efforts and strategy from the European and the US marine market and apply it to our Australian customers.”