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Advanced Engineering 2021

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03/11/2021 - 04/11/2021

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DC drives upgrade propels Navy development forward

DC drives upgrade propels Navy development forward

VT Shipbuilding, which has its headquarters in Portsmouth, designs and constructs naval vessels for the Royal Navy and navies worldwide, as well as smaller craft and equipment for the marine, offshore and aerospace industries. During a recent major refurbishment programme at the VT Shipbuilding propeller testing facility, the cavitation tunnel's control system was retrofitted with DC drives from Sprint Electric.


Design, build and installation of the new control system was completed by Hemco Power and Control Systems of Eastleigh, Hampshire. The specialists for electrical control systems used two four-quadrant DC drives from Sprint Electric to replace the aging Ward Leonard control system that dated back to the 1970s. Using the original motors, one PLX65 DC drive now controls the tunnel drive system which operates a four-bladed impeller to achieve water velocities up to 8m/s. The second drive, a PLX40, operates the Kempf and Remmers propeller dynamometer, which allows a test propeller to rotate up to 1800rpm whilst acquiring measurements of torque and thrust.


Integrated with new control and data acquisition software, the new PLX DC drives from Sprint Electric now allow for automated control of tests and experiments, bringing with it time savings as well as improved test accuracy and quality, vital for such demanding and sensitive applications as naval vessels.


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