Packaged solutions for Australia’s maritime space


Altra Motion provides bespoke packaged solutions for the Australian marine/defence market. Manufacturers’ Monthly speaks to the OEM about how engineered products can solve pain points for customers.

Altra Motion’s range of products is for the gamut of industrial manufacturing processes. Roger Axelsson, global marine sales manager, said as well as providing world-class power transmission components, the OEM uses industry knowledge to find a customer’s missing piece for greater efficiencies.

“With all the knowledge we have and the applications we’ve been involved in, we can guide the customer,” he said. “We can provide customised solutions for product and service based on the customer’s exact specifications, which builds trust.”

According to Axelsson, sourcing, multiple components from a single company offers more convenience with better drivetrain performance.

“Offering a complete set of solutions is an advantage,” he explained. “A customer can come to Altra and explain what they are trying to achieve, and we can offer a customised solution that fits their application. That’s where our vast product portfolio comes into play; whether it’s industrial clutches and brakes or couplings, Altra can provide more comprehensive packaged drivetrain solutions. In addition, understanding what the OEM wants helps us offer an engineered solution.”


Coupling technologies

Turbines in naval vessels are by no means a new consideration – Altra Motion has been supplying couplings for these applications for 60 years. However, the turbines are changing, with more being used with newer, high-efficiency diesel engines in direct propulsion or power generation for electrical motor drivers.

Daemon Flack, NSW sales manager and marine product specialist, said modern, aero-derivative gas turbines are light, flexible, and easy to maintain – meaning Altra couplings are not only suitable for the power transmission demands, but also the shock conditions and ease of removal and refitment.

“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 harsh environments and applications,” he said.

Modern navies have a variety of sophisticated vessels, including aircraft carriers, destroyers, frigates, patrol boats and submarines. Altra Motion brands Bibby Turboflex and Ameridrives are leading global suppliers of couplings for the marine market, with the products on most of the next-generation naval ships under construction at shipyards worldwide.

“Both couplings are class-leading in technical capability and experience with bespoke designs to suit the application,” Flack said. “Turboflex disc couplings are cost-effective all metallic flexible multiple membranes, designed suitable for up to 50 mw and speeds of up to 25,000 rpm. The Ameriflex multi convoluted diaphragm couplings are the most torque-dense coupling on the market, meaning they can transmit torque whilst offering greater levels of misalignment for a given diameter than any other, perfect for naval applications with high shock load conditions. Altra Motion continues to invest in our technology, engineering know-how, and manufacturing capability to design, develop and deliver couplings for the worlds leading global navies.”

The engineering teams at Bibby Turboflex and Ameridrives are routinely developing couplings to meet the challenging requirements of the different types of marine propulsion gas turbines, including the popular GE LM series. Altra’s high-performance couplings are designed and manufactured to meet all the major marine classification requirements, including ABS, DNV and Lloyds.

Stromag coupling/clutch assemblies

Machinery and equipment OEMs are continually challenged to design drivetrains to fit in shrinking spaces. As a result, reducing overall system weight is essential for marine propulsion designers.

But sourcing individual drivetrain couplings and clutches can be time-consuming. Stromag’s combination 2in1 coupling and clutch assemblies look to solve this problem – reducing cost, weight and improving efficiencies. Altra Motion brands Stromag is uniquely positioned to respond to the growing demand for innovative drivetrain solutions as the only major power transmission component manufacturer to offer couplings and clutches.

“First of all, the combination avoids the time-consuming interface clarification meetings between elastic coupling and clutch suppliers,” Flack explained. “They remove the need to design a solution from scratch by providing a 2in1 couplings and clutch combination with easy installations into all different drivetrains.”

Fewer parts mean less weight, which is always an advantage in marine applications. In addition, the solution removes the need for individual housings, bushings or keyways.

“It provides deactivation of the output with almost no residual torque,” he added. “As well as torsional vibration damping, radial, axial and angular displacement.”

TLB System from Twiflex

The Turning, Locking and Braking (TLB) system from Twiflex has a turning gear, locking device, shaft brake, a power unit (e.g. Hydraulic Powerpack) and a control panel for local operation of the system close to the equipment.

The compact Twiflex TLB consolidates three usually separate interfaces and functions into one package – including brakes and mounting brackets, turning device, gearwheel and locking mechanism – thereby allowing customers to select and install one of the turning, locking and braking functions individually or to select paired or complete turning, locking and braking functionality.

“There are various advantages to using a TLB system,” Flack said. “When a boat or submarine is moored, with a lot of tide activity against the propeller, the TLB system will lock the propeller shaft in place so it cannot drive back up through the drive train and cause damage to motors, generators etc. Also, dynamic braking is often used if you have a fixed-pitch propeller.”

“While it’s moored, if someone has to come on and do some work on that propeller or the bearings surrounding the propeller, the TLB system will give you an advantage to inch the propeller around into different positions, so you can do maintenance on it or check for bearings. Then, because it has a dynamic breaking activity, you can shut down the propellor to give the boat more manoeuvrability.”

The TLB has a split disc with a gear-tooth profile mounted onto a customer-supplied flange, making the need to disassemble the propulsion shaft unnecessary during installation – an essential advantage in retrofit applications.

“The entire system is designed to be controlled from the ship’s bridge,” Flack added. “However, when maintenance is planned, a signal from the bridge to “permit local control” is generated and – providing all the safety interlocks have been satisfied – the calliper brakes and turning gear can be operated from a local control panel.”

“Typically, propulsion OEMs specify separate braking, locking and turning devices, often supplied by different manufacturers, to perform all three functions while fitting in a minimal footprint. The TLB helps solve the time-consuming sourcing challenge that also requires the OEM to ensure that all three components interface properly once installed.”

Flexibility in designs allows Twiflex TLB to be used across many shaft drive applications outside the marine propulsion sector. For example, it can be used on industrial and ventilation fans, automotive shredding machines, and agitator drives for mixing and aeration.

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