The Switch wins first orders for PM shaft generators

FEBRUARY 17, 2014 — The Switch, a Vantaa, Finland, manufacturer of permanent magnet motors, generators and converters, has received an order from WE Tech Solutions Oy of Vaasa, Finland for four direct-drive 1.5 MW permanent magnet (PM) shaft generators. It says that "coupled together with WE Tech's WE Drive, these PM shaft generators represent game-changing technology for merchant ships to allow them to significantly cut back on operating costs when powering their onboard electric networks."

The deliveries will start later this year. The Switch says the order strengthens its position as it uses its proven track record of applying PM generator technology successfully in the wind power industry to market a range of marine applications.

The company says that permanent magnet technology has been proven in numerous industries and under extremely harsh operating conditions to provide unmatched power density, energy efficiency, design flexibility and operational reliability. Now it is possible for shipbuilders and ship owners to gain from true fuel savings by upgrading to PM technology for shaft generators.

"Over the past three decades, the shaft generator has been successfully employed on board ships worldwide. The main advantage is to allow main engines to use cheaper heavy fuel oil (HFO) for electrical power production, thereby significantly reducing the running hours of auxiliary generators," explains Mårten Storbacka, Managing Director of WE Tech Solutions Oy.

"With the WE Drive variable frequency drive from WE Tech Solutions and the PM shaft generator from The Switch, the ship's electrical network is generated with the same high efficiency throughout the full speed range of the main engine. This feature is especially important in electrical part loads. The WE Drive also ensures 1 MW boost power directly to the propeller shaft to support the main engine when required, thus enabling a low-load optimized main engine" he continues.

"These orders show the real need for new solutions to help seagoing vessels significantly lower the costs of operations, reduce maintenance needs and meet the increasingly stringent emission regulations," says Mika Koli, Business Development Manager, The Switch. "Together with WE Tech, we can offer an unbeatable package that enables ship owners to start making immediate returns."

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