The Switch

Cat chooses The Switch drive train technology for Twin Fin bulkers

Finland-based Yaskawa Environmental Energy / The Switch has signed a contract with US company Caterpillar (Cat) to deliver a package of electric drive train technology for a series of bulk carriers.

Yaskawa Environmental Energy / The Switch
Image Courtesy: Yaskawa Environmental Energy / The Switch

As informed, the ships will feature Cat Marine’s Twin Fin concept, offering optimal reliability, efficiency and performance, with The Switch technology at the heart of the environmentally and OPEX friendly solution.

In total, The Switch will be providing deliveries of two permanent magnet (PM) propulsion machines, four PM generators, two DC-Hubs, two Electronic Bus Links (EBL) and 20 Electronic DC Breakers (EDCB) for each vessel.

Ville Parpala, Director, Product Marketing, Marine, Yaskawa Environmental Energy / The Switch, described the contract as a “major breakthrough” for the business.

Peak performance

“The Twin Fin concept is a game-changer within the industry, delivering enhanced power and maneuverability, but with decreased energy consumption and emissions. Our … drive train technology has been selected to facilitate peak performance and reliability,” Parpala said.

“We see this as a milestone win and huge endorsement of our flexible, economical and environmentally friendly solutions.”

The PM machines – which capture mechanical energy and convert it to green, electrical vessel power – are suited for the limited space available in the slim profile of the Twin Fins, according to Yaskawa.

The Switch DC-Hubs, meanwhile, are said to offer a “flexible” choice of power generation, energy storage, charging, propulsion and clean power, while the EBL links and protects them. Its ability to detect, cut and isolate any potential system error within just 10 microseconds greatly increases vessel redundancy. EDCBs are installed to protect the individual frequency converters within the DC-Hubs.

Business benefits

“By working as partners with customers such as Cat, we can help deliver a combination of performance, efficient power and environmental advantages for forward-thinking owners,” Parpala noted.

“This gives the owner a competitive advantage while saving the environment from unwanted emissions.”

The newbuild bulk carriers feature large internal power plants – with energy supply through The Switch technology – to satisfy the demand for cargo conveyor belts, propulsion and associated vessel operations.

Yaskawa Environmental Energy / The Switch has delivered more than 1,200 marine power drives to the industry over the last decade. Alongside marine applications, The Switch’s product portfolio includes advanced drive train technology tailored for the wind and turbo / industry segments. The business became part of the Japan-headquartered Yaskawa Electric Corporation in 2014.