Siemens expands converter and motor lineups
Siemens has expanded the portfolios of its Simotics reluctance-motor range and its Sinamics frequency converter, including technology to aid with digitalisation.
Two new shaft heights, AH90 and AH225, are being added to the Simotics reluctant-motor range in response to calls from manufacturers. The motors are available from 0.55 kW to 45 kW and with rated speeds of 1,500 rpm and 3,000 rpm.
Siemens has equipped the motors and converters with a data matrix code, which provides users with easy access to technical data, spare parts information and operating instructions.
The company has also announced a new lineup of explosion-proof motors, the Simotics XP range. Siemens claimed the new line is future-proof and covers “all types of protection”. The XP range is technologically integrated, allowing for the production of a "digital twin" that will provide data that will be of use across the entire life-cycle of the product, for example aiding optimisation during the planning, engineering and commissioning phase, as well as providing information for after-sales services and restocking of spares. The XP range utilises a modular system, which makes it “an ideal solution” for original equipment manufacturers and project businesses alike, Siemens claimed.
Intended for use in the chemical, oil and gas industries, the Chemstar subline of the XP range comprises low-voltage motors with preconfigured industry-specific option packages, such as category C4 high-level corrosion protection, stainless steel screws and bolts and extended warranty periods. Other options include reduced start-up current, motor monitoring, reinforced bearings and tropical climate versions with paint finishes customised for offshore applications.
The Simotics XP Chemstar motors are available in a range from 0.25 to 500 kW for either mains- or convertor-fed operation, and in a range of efficiency classes up to IE3 without jumps in shaft height.
With the new Sinamics Reluctance Control license, launched in November 2017, users can have precise encoderless closed-loop torque control and do away with the possibility of the motor stalling by enabling field-oriented closed-loop control, even when at a standstill. This allows Siemens' synchronous reluctance motors to be operated with Sinamics S120 converters, enabling them to benefit from the functionalities of the modular S120 range
Siemens also recently announced improvements to both mechanical and electrical design for the Sinamics S120 Chassis-2 frequency converter. The revised models have a smaller footprint than previous versions, by 30%-60%. They are fully compatible with their predecessors so can be easily integrated into existing setups. The standard pulse frequency is now 2.5 kHz, increasing system efficiency and minimising derating. The models also feature an innovative cooling concept and variable-speed fans. The S120 Chassis-2 is also available in ready-to-use cabinet format as the Sinamics S120 Cabinet Modules-2.
Simotics reluctance motors and Sinamics converters are coordinated to work together in an integrated drive system that can be used in applications such as closed-loop control of pumps, fans and compressors. Siemens claims that “compared to induction motors, they offer highly efficient operation, particularly in the partial load range”.
The company has also brought wireless technology to its G120 converter series with the new Smart Access Module. This allows mobile devices such as tablets, smartphones and laptops to connect to the converter via any web browser, without the requirement for additional software. Users can then carry out converter commissioning, parameterisation and maintenance remotely. A labour-saving feature of the link is that the settings from one converter can be duplicated and sent to other mobile devices, which can then transmit the settings to other converters. G120 Smart Access Modules can also be swapped between different converters in the same series, allowing for them to be commissioned using just one device. When using this functionality, the module works as a portable storage facility with a web-based operator unit and wireless client link.
Wärtsilä sees high demand for integrated control system
Wärtsilä’s latest-generation controller includes a frequency converter package within the cargo-pump system that creates an opportunity to integrate its capabilities with other equipment on board.
An integrated system with a frequency convertor allowing the cargo pump to be used to run the shaft generator and bow thruster (credit: Wärtsilä)
Wärtsilä Marine Solutions sales manager for pumps and valves Morten Brandborg explained “The frequency converter package is normally only utilised when the cargo-pumping system is in use, which is mainly during port stays – so for only a very limited time in the vessel’s overall operations. To derive more benefit from this technology we have made it possible to utilise the frequency converter package for other applications on board.”
For example, the company’s latest-generation cargo-pump control technology allows the frequency converter to be used in conjunction with the bow thruster. Mr Brandborg said that “Normally the bow thruster would either be of a fixed-pitch type, with its own separate frequency converter, or it would be of a controllable-pitch type, which would represent a more expensive initial investment, with higher maintenance costs. Either way, with our new system, the owner can benefit from improved operational efficiency and a reduction in costs.”
Wärtsilä estimates that for a fixed-pitch bow thruster arrangement, the saving would be over €85,000 (US$98,854) per vessel. Moreover, the company points out, the bow thruster would have the same functionalities and no additional operational restrictions.
Another example of the extended use of the cargo-pump control system enabled by Wärtsilä’s latest system relates to shaft-generator control. Mr Brandborg explained: “It is often a classification society requirement that vessels should have an alternative form of propulsion to be used as a ‘take-me-home’ function in case of a main engine breakdown. We have now made it possible to use the control system from the cargo-pump arrangement for this purpose, using the frequency converter to start and run the shaft generator.”
Up to now this could only be achieved either by having a separate frequency converter for the shaft generator, which is expensive and requires additional space on board, or by adopting a pony motor solution, which presents the risk of damaging the clutch on the main shaft line.
Wärtsilä believes its approach is lower cost and more reliable, and that it also creates an opportunity to introduce a booster mode. “This is especially useful when sailing in ice conditions, as we can now offer a solution where the shaft line can be boosted with additional power through the shaft generator,” said Mr Brandborg.
The new integrated cargo pump control option is considered particularly beneficial for smaller and medium-sized chemical and product tankers. A number of vessels of this type have been equipped with the new-generation system in the past year, and several similar projects are now underway.
Wärtsilä sees a growing demand for electric cargo-pump solutions and is developing some interesting new solutions, focused on using its digital and electric technology. The company recently announced a new shuttle tanker concept, developed in partnership with Teekay, which will feature Wärtsilä cargo and ballast pumps.
For offloading operations, Wärtsilä can supply this new shuttle tanker design with either electric-driven pumps for pump-room installation, or with electric-driven deepwell cargo and ballast pumps that eliminate the need for a separate pump room and interconnecting pipelines in the cargo holds.
The company points out that the space gained from eliminating the pump room can be used either to increase cargo capacity or to shorten the engineroom. The latter permits a reduced hull length, cutting building costs and allowing for better dynamic positioning capability due to a leaner side profile.
The perks of switching to DC power
The Switch, based in Finland, is a provider of the DC-Hub, a system to convert a vessel’s power distribution to a DC grid from an AC grid that the company claims can bring many benefits to a vessel.
Each Power Drive frequency converter in The Switch's DC-Hub is assigned a separate load or source function
The system comprises multiple independent Power Drive units, which are basically frequency converters that can be installed either as a retrofit or as part of a vessel during the newbuild process. Each Power Drive is connected to the ship’s DC link and is assigned a separate load or source function. This system allows one Power Drive to carry the DC voltage and another to run different connected loads.
With emissions regulations very much an issue, the DC-Hub allows dual-fuel vessels to reduce both emissions and fuel consumption by stabilizing loads in rough seas. The hub also makes it possible to run on only one genset and batteries.
The hub also provides savings in both costs and space. It removes the need for installation of auxiliary equipment like transformers and AC switchboards, lowers fuel requirements and lengthens maintenance intervals by peak shaving.
Another benefit is that the DC-Hub can be used to switch a vessel to battery-only operation, creating silent operations that can be useful in areas such as harbours.
Because any power source can be connected to the DC-Hub, the vessel will be ready to benefit from future power sources as they become more efficient and enter service, extending the vessel’s useful working life.
Redundancy can be provided by pairing the DC-Hub with The Switch’s Electronic Bus Link breaker, which can cut and isolate a system error in 10 microseconds. This allows each DC-Hub to work independently and brings safety benefits.
It was announced in May of this year that the Electronic Bus Link had successfully undergone a factory acceptance test (FAT) in Trondheim, carried out under the supervision of DNV-GL and the unit’s end customers, whose identity was not disclosed.
The Switch Norway general manager Asbjorn Halsebakke said: “The EBL is a crucial part of the DC-Hub.”
“It is paramount the EBL performs to the highest standards of quality, efficiency and reliability,” he added, noting that it connects the vessel’s DC-Hubs with diesel engines and makes sure the vessel is capable of operating efficiently, even in the event of a critical fault.
Three units were put through their paces in the test, with another three still to undergo the same process before they are delivered and installed aboard an offshore support vessel.
Over the past 10 years, The Switch has fulfilled orders for more than 1,000 Power Drive units to hundreds of vessels and has also delivered 35 permanent magnet shaft generators. In the maritime segment, The Switch also provides permanent magnet technology, shaft generators and electric propulsion solutions. The company is also active in the wind, wave and tidal, energy storage, combined heat and power and turbo segments.
Acquired by Yaskawa Corporation in July 2014, it was announced in April of this year that The Switch was to become that company’s European environmental energy division. At the time of the acquisition Yaskawa announced it was making a “multimillion-euro investment” in The Switch to boost its research and development capabilities and acquire new equipment for its factory to serve as a test centre for advanced drive trains up to 15 MW.”