DC drives for underwater electrical vehicles

Motors for marine applications like props

A new range of compact DC drives has been developed to withstand harsh marine environments at depths of up to 6 kilometers.

With the marine industry demanding equipment that can withstand extremely harsh conditions found deep in the ocean, including high pressure and high oxidation levels, maxon motor has worked closely with research institutes and universities to provide drives that meet the many demanding challenges for electrical and mechanical components required for underwater systems.

Electrically actuated underwater equipment like remote operated vehicles (ROVs) and autonomous unmanned vehicles (AUVs) require drives which are lightweight, efficient and compact.

To meet these challenges, maxon’s new underwater thrusters and actuators are oil filled and range in size from 16- to 42-millimetre diameter. The core element is a motor-gear combination based on a brushless DC-motor and a planetary gearhead. These underwater drives are designed with a high quality polymer housing to ensure protection against the harsh underwater elements.

maxon’s MT-30 thruster is pressure tolerant up to 6000 metres with oil compensation and the propeller has been modified for low noise operation.

Other features include an output power of 180W with a voltage of 48v and a light weight of under 1kg. Using maxon motors slimline 48V brushless DC motors, the thruster can achieve 10kg continual bollard thrust from a diameter of only 30mm. The small diameter helps to reduce water disturbance over the thruster body to maximise efficiency. Two power levels, 120W and 180W are available from the oil filled 22mm motor and 22mm planetary gearhead and the complete thruster has a mass of only 750g.

The propeller has a diameter of 70mm contained in a fluted shroud of 82mm. Pressure compensated, the units have a depth rating of 6km and the housing comes standard with a Subconn MCBH8M connector. Beside the connector there are x2 4mm diameter fittings, one for oil filling and one for compensator connection.

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