Siemens Debuts ELFA Propulsion Solution

Monday, January 03, 2005
Siemens is closing the gap between large merchant vessels and small recreational or commercial crafts traditionally powered by mechanical propulsion solutions with the introduction of one, unified platform that combines traditionally disparate on board systems. The company’s new ELFA propulsion solution merges normally stand-alone systems (power management, motors, thruster, auxiliary generators, batteries, monitoring and control) into a truly integrated, space saving solution. By integrating communications with the power supply, the ELFA propulsion solution can considerably reduce fuel consumption and enhance range, maneuverability, availability and redundancy.

As the world’s first company to electrify a ship in 1879, Siemens has a long history in marine technology. Today, Siemens Energy & Automation’s Industrial Solutions and Services Group (I&S) is the first solution provider of diesel electrical propulsion systems for recreational as well as small commercial vessels. The ELFA system enables naval architects and shipyards to arrange the propulsion system with the flexibility to provide more cabin space for leisure purposes or additional load. Moreover, this standardised plug and play solution can reduce installation work and integration efforts for a vessel.

Siemens developed the ELFA components through experience in other industries with demanding environments that could put unusual stress on power equipment. They can be used in any electric propelled vessel with power supplies such as batteries, generators, solar cells, fuel cells or shore power.

The central feature of this drive system is the capability to provide an extremely flexible and compact propulsion solution in the range between 100kW and 1MW. The propulsion system is a combination of generators, motors and drives matched exactly to customer needs that can be integrated anywhere on board. The propulsion system integrates existing systems on board like battery power, shore connections, thruster or auxiliary generators and thus can create a much higher availability to the operator at no extra cost.

The compact and rigid design of all components, which includes built in features like power management or protection, eliminates the need of main switchboards and thereby saves valuable space on board.

Siemens ELFA propulsion solution offers a streamlined power management functionality for recreational and small commercial vessels that meets their varying load requirements. Optimised engine control by Siemens Hybrid Control software can result in less engine wear and tear, which can reduce maintenance work and noise levels for the engine room crew.

Siemens guarantees its components are maintenance free and have a life expectancy of up to 40,000 operating hours.

Siemens Hybrid Control software is the foundation for innovative boat designs on the commercial and recreational side and enables realisation and control of different operational modes on a vessel like diesel electric mode, pure electric mode or hybrid mode. The Siemens ELFA propulsion solution offers a comprehensive human machine interface for yacht applications. Scaleable in performance, as well as in the degree of openness, the Siemens operating system and digital operator panels enable innovative human machine solutions throughout the entire yacht industry.

The innovative human machine interface is based on Windows CE operating system. Standard hardware and software interfaces such as USB, Ethernet, Profibus DP or others guarantee flexibility and openness to the office world.

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