Selecting the most suitable motor and drive combination for a mooring winch can prove to be tricky. Here's my checklist to help you in the process.
Anchoring and mooring winch operations may not be the most glamorous part of sailing the seven seas, but there are few things more crucial to getting the job done right.
It’s in the nature of well developed, established technologies that they progress either through small incremental improvements, or suddenly in leaps and bounds.
This always leaves us facing the choice of whether to stick with the old “tried and true” solutions or seize the opportunities offered by innovations.
If and when an innovative approach goes beyond mere requirements, and actually provides you significant operational improvements, then the innovation is the right choice every time.
When considering the selection of mooring and anchoring winch motors and variable frequency drives, there are five key issues that need to be considered:
Do the motor and drive do what they need to do? And, does the package handle the job efficiently, reliably and safely? Is it fast and easy for the crew to operate?
- Optimized design
Space is always at a premium on winch decks. Weight has to be factored in. Most importantly, a compact design with as few components as possible boosts reliability and reduces the need for maintenance.
- Motor and drive integration
Is the variable frequency drive (VFD) fully integrated with the motor for seamless compatibility? Does the drive provide a dedicated program specifically for mooring operations?
- Power consumption
Is power consumption smooth and steady, or will you have to deal with constant fluctuations and potentially dangerous peaks to get the speed and torque you need?
- Ease of installation
This is an important consideration on new builds, and an absolutely essential one for retrofits. Is the motor-drive package a good fit with auxiliary equipment such as existing gearboxes? Will you have to schedule a long period of downtime to install, test and commission a new winch?
Once you’ve been through that check list, it’s time to explore the details.
Design and operation should comply with regulations from classification societies. The motor and drive you select should make a contribution to saving energy and fuel. The design and installation should be robust enough to ensure a long, dependable operational lifespan. Single supplier acquisition will save you time and simplify the ordering process – that’s certainly worth thinking over.
With all that in mind…
We know the demands placed on mooring winches and their operators. We also now know that the benefits brought by one of our innovations – the introduction of SynRM motors for deck winches has proven to be a rare game-changer.
ABB has designed and installed what is, to the best of our knowledge, the world’s first mooring winch SynRM motor and drive package. In operation aboard the Viking Line M/S Gabriella, a full year of user experience has provided not only proof of concept, but also shown its superiority in satisfying all five key criteria.
So, despite the title of my blog, I’ll slip in a #6: Consider the “above and beyond” advantages of true innovation.
There’s no arguing with the facts. When you come down to the bottom line, for the high-demand, high-torque operation of mooring winches, the right SynRM motor and drive package outperforms traditional technologies.
And, performance, speed, reliability are all factors that make or break the bottom line in the maritime industry.