New technology in fin stabilizers

Aug 8, 2022 by Corey D. Ranslem

The 5000S Control System and F45 Hybrid power unit could be game changers.

When you think of cutting-edge technology, stabilization products typically aren’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, this type of technology has come a long way over the past few years. Fin stabilizers can improve the ride of a vessel, reducing crew fatigue and the potential for accidents. Quantum Stabilizers, based in Fort Lauderdale with offices in the Netherlands and Spain, has made some major advancements in stabilization technology with the launch of their 5000S Stabilizer Control System.

The 5000S acts as the brains of the entire system. It is built on a modular platform and is capable of supporting the old, current, and future control generations with much greater capacity. When onboard bandwidth is limited, the 5000S is the only control system with recording capabilities that can be stored and downloaded later. It is designed for remote access anywhere in the world, using internet modules that are individually registered for secured troubleshooting and technical support. The 5000S has the ability to process data in real-time and was designed to withstand harsh marine environments, using components that are readily available.

While a traditional hydraulic system will continue to draw 40% of the maximum power, even when it is not needed, the F45 Hybrid drops to less than 1kW when in standby mode.

Quantum is also developing a new hybrid hydraulic/electric power pack that uses the best attributes of both power sources. The hybrid system is being developed as an efficient, quiet system that does not generate heat. It offers smooth power that does not fluctuate and requires 60% less power than a standard system. While a traditional hydraulic system will continue to draw 40% of the maximum power, even when it is not needed, the F45 Hybrid drops to less than 1kW when in standby mode. These efficiencies do result in more extreme power fluctuations, but the fluctuations are manageable through the use of a new Quantum patented product that reduces the cyclic power loading on the generators.

CEO John Allen noted that the system consumes energy only as needed, when needed. “By lowering the load on the generators, it also reduces the fuel bill and the burden on the environment,” he stated.

Electric fin stabilizers on larger vessels — 197 feet (60m) and more — become cost-prohibitive because of the prices associated with gearboxes and servo motors. Electric fins with gearboxes must be designed to handle slamming loads, which are easier for hydraulic systems to handle with the relief valves. The new F45 Hybrid uses a high dynamic servo motor coupled to a low inertia hydraulic pump that directly moves the hydraulic fluid in a closed loop to sweep the fin. This greatly simplifies the overall system and removes all the components that make the hydraulics inefficient.

Quantum believes the F45 Hybrid solution will meet both long-term energy efficiency requirements and peak transient energy needs of the closed marine electrical system. The system will be available in June 2023, whereas the 5000S control system is available now.