Altra Motion provides tailored solutions for the Australian marine and defense market. Manufacturers monthly talks to the OEM about how engineered products can solve customer problems.
Altra Motion’s product line covers the full range of industrial manufacturing processes. Roger Axelsson, global marine sales manager, said that in addition to supplying world-class power transmission components, the OEM uses industry knowledge to find a customer’s missing part for greater efficiency.
“With all the knowledge we have and the applications we’ve been involved in, we can guide the customer,” he said. “We can provide customized solutions for products and services based on the customer’s exact specifications, which builds trust.”
According to Axelsson, sourcing multiple components from one company provides more convenience with better transmission performance.
“Offering a complete set of solutions is an advantage,” he explained. “A customer can come to Altra and explain what they’re trying to achieve, and we can come up with a custom solution that fits their application. This is where our extensive product portfolio comes into play; from industrial clutches and brakes to couplings, Altra can provide more complete packaged drivetrain solutions. Also, understanding what the OEM wants helps us come up with a technical solution.
Warship turbines are by no means new – Altra Motion has provided couplings for these applications for 60 years. However, turbines are evolving and are being used more with new high-efficiency diesel engines for direct propulsion or power generation for electric motor drivers.
Daemon Flack, NSW sales manager and marine products specialist, said modern aero-derivative gas turbines are light, flexible and easy to maintain, which means Altra couplings are not only suitable for the transmission demands of power, but also to impact conditions and ease of removal and refitting.
“Altra’s highly engineered coupling products represent the very latest in coupling technology, with superior design and exceptional quality to ensure extremely reliable and 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. The Altra Motion Bibby Turboflex and Ameridrives brands are the world’s leading suppliers of couplings for the marine market, with products for most of the new generation navy vessels being built in shipyards around the world.
“Both couplings are state-of-the-art in capability and experience with bespoke designs to suit the application,” Flack said. “Turboflex disc couplings are all-metal flexible multiple diaphragms, designed for powers up to 50 mW and speeds up to 25,000 rpm. Ameriflex Multiconvoluted Diaphragm Couplings are the most torque dense couplings on the market, meaning they can transmit torque while providing higher levels of misalignment for a given diameter than any other, perfect for naval applications under high shock load conditions. Altra Motion continues to invest in our technology, engineering know-how and manufacturing capability to design, develop and supply couplings to the world’s leading navies.
Bibby Turboflex and Ameridrives engineering teams routinely develop couplings to meet the challenging demands of different types of marine propulsion gas turbines, including the popular GE LM series. Altra’s high performance fittings are designed and manufactured to meet all major marine classification requirements including ABS, DNV and Lloyds.
Stromag Coupling/Clutch Assemblies
Machinery and equipment OEMs are continually challenged to design transmissions suitable for tight spaces. Therefore, reducing overall system weight is essential for marine propulsion designers.
But sourcing individual transmission couplings and clutches can be time consuming. Stromag’s 2-in-1 coupling and clutch combination seeks to solve this problem by reducing cost, weight and improving efficiency. Brands of Altra Motion, Stromag is uniquely positioned to meet the growing demand for innovative powertrain solutions as the only major power transmission component manufacturer to offer couplings and clutches.
“First, the combination avoids time-consuming interface clarification meetings between flexible coupling and clutch suppliers,” Flack explained. “They eliminate the need to design a solution from scratch by providing a 2-in-1 coupling and clutch combination with easy installations in all different transmissions.”
Fewer parts means less weight, which is always an advantage in marine applications. Additionally, the solution eliminates the need for individual housings, rings or keyways.
“It provides output turn-off with almost no residual torque,” he added. “As well as torsional vibration damping, radial, axial and angular displacement.”
Twiflex TLB System
Twiflex’s turning, locking and braking (TLB) system consists of a turning device, a locking device, a shaft brake, a power unit (for example, a hydraulic unit) and a control panel for the local operation of the system near the equipment.
The compact Twiflex TLB consolidates three typically separate interfaces and functions into a single assembly – including brakes and mounting brackets, spinner, sprocket and locking mechanism – allowing customers to select and install one of the turn, lock and brake functions individually or select a pair or full turn, lock and brake functionality.
“Using a TLB system has various advantages,” Flack said. “When a boat or submarine is moored, with a lot of tidal activity against the propeller, the TLB system locks the propeller shaft in place so it cannot come up through the transmission and damage motors, generators, etc. Also, dynamic braking is often used if you have a fixed pitch propeller.
“While it’s moored, if someone needs to come and do work on that propeller or the bearings around the propeller, the TLB system will give you the advantage of moving the propeller into different positions, so you you can do maintenance on it or check the bearings.Then, because it has dynamic braking activity, you can cut the propeller to give the boat more maneuverability.
The TLB has a split disc with a gear tooth profile mounted on a customer supplied flange, making it unnecessary to disassemble the propeller shaft during installation – a key benefit in retrofit applications.
“The whole system is designed to be controlled from the deck of the ship,” added Flack. “However, when maintenance is scheduled, a signal from the bridge to ‘allow local control’ is generated and – provided all safety interlocks have been satisfied – the caliper brakes and steerer can be operated from a local control panel.”
“Typically, propulsion OEMs specify separate braking, latching and rotation devices, often supplied by different manufacturers, to perform all three functions while fitting into a minimal footprint. The TLB helps solve the tedious challenge of sourcing which also requires the OEM to ensure that all three components interface correctly once installed.
The flexibility of the designs allows Twiflex TLB to be used in many shaft drive applications outside of the marine propulsion industry. For example, it can be used on industrial and ventilation fans, automotive shredders, and agitator drives for mixing and aeration.