After more than a decade using EC300 electronic controls, Captain Steve “Creature” Coulter agreed to test the new EC600PC on Sea Creature, his charter fishing vessel—and says it reflects “the incredible commitment Twin Disc has to making things go better.”
Based in Hatteras Village, North Carolina, Coulter has worked closely with Twin Disc engineers for more than 15 years, testing various controls solutions. The 58-foot Sea Creature was the first boat to use EC300 with non-QuickShift® transmissions, leading to a new configuration for standard MG units. And when Twin Disc sought a new way to enhance vessel control, our team started with Coulter.
A prototype EC600PC electronic propulsion control system was installed on Sea Creature for nearly two years of testing and validation. Says Coulter, “I’d tell the engineers what I liked and what I didn’t like. They’d go back to the drawing board, make some changes, and come test it again. They want this product to be right.”
With the controller prewired and mounted directly to the transmission, the EC600PC is the simplest control system to install, eliminating remote mounting and extra wiring, minimizing labor costs and saving engine room space. “It went from more than a dozen wires to just four—two from the EC600PC to the bridge, and two to the engines,” Coulter says. “That’s about a hundred pounds of wires I don’t have to carry anymore, which also makes the boat more efficient.”
The system includes SmartChip™, maintaining service information and operating profile data to optimize propulsion system performance. Coulter says better feedback from the digital display supports timely, cost-effective maintenance. “I know when it’s time to change the clutch oil. I can monitor transmission pressures and know when to change the filter.”
And the EC600PC provides the ultimate in positioning options. “I have more control, especially in slow troll mode,” Coulter says. With precise control for water, wind and other conditions, Coulter and his crew can make sure customers enjoy a fishing trip that’s productive, fun and comfortable.
Coulter says he’s delighted with the EC600PC—and always ready to test new Twin Disc products. “I have that much faith in them. Twin Disc is an incredible company to work with.”
Twin Disc CEO John Batten discusses current market conditions and his optimism for marine hybridization with Eric Haun, editor of Marine News.
One of the world’s leading tugboat builders has expanded its portfolio with vessels featuring Twin Disc transmissions—gaining excellent maneuverability as well as the support of a single-source provider.
Sanmar Shipyards, Turkey’s oldest private-sector tugboat firm, has more than 200 tug and workboats currently in service worldwide. The firm sought to add a new vessel type designed for high performance at a competitive price. Robert Allan Ltd. designed the Bozçay class of compact tugs, emphasizing maneuverability, stability and reliability. Working with AMAT Engineering, Sanmar selected Twin Disc to provide transmission and propulsion control systems for six vessels.
“We choose the best quality for our vessels and know the manufacturers well,” says Hakan Tunç Sanmar naval architect and marine engineer.
Sanmar introduced the Bozçay RApport 1900SX, a steel twin screw harbor tug with an increased beam for better stability. Two cabins in the forecastle accommodate a crew of four, with a three-cabin arrangement also available. The vessel stands up to general harbor and coastal towing duties with the Twin Disc MGX-5321DC transmission, gaining enhanced maneuverability with EC300 electronic propulsion control.
Smooth shifting, smooth connections
Tunç admires the QuickShift controls design as well as its performance. “The system runs swiftly from astern to ahead, from idle to full throttle, living up to the name ‘QuickShift,’” he says.
He adds that the project flowed more smoothly by having Twin Disc supply the complete package. “Our shipyard and the end user deal with one company for startup, commissioning and service after the sale—eliminating the risk of interface issues.”
The first vessel underwent sea trials in April 2020, with extra precautions in light of the coronavirus pandemic. “Having local support from AMAT Engineering and Twin Disc, from ordering to commissioning, is fantastic during this time of global travel restrictions,” Tunç says. “We appreciated the project handling and on-time delivery.”
When Wisconsin’s Washington Island Ferry Line decided to add a second ice breaker ferry vessel, the Twin Disc MG-540 transmission was an easy choice.
“We’ve been exclusive Twin Disc users for generations,” says Hoyt Purinton, ferry line president. “When the boat has to get through, you need a transmission you can rely on.”
More than 700 year-round residents, as well as thousands of summertime visitors, depend on the ferry line for transport, mail and package freight. The line makes about 5,000 trips a year across Death’s Door Passage—a half hour one way in summer, and 45 minutes or longer in harsh winter months.
Twice-daily winter trips have been handled by the Arni J. Richter, built in 2003 with essential ice breaking capabilities. “We’ve had ice to the bottom in 30 feet of water, with ice coming through the propeller the entire trip,” says Hoyt Purinton, ferry line president. “It’s an unholy noise.”
With the ferry line’s entire winter operation riding on the Richter, Purinton says, “it was time to put another horse in the barn.”
Enter the m/v Madonna—at 124 feet long and 40 feet across the beam, the fleet’s largest vessel and the third to be built by Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding. Set to launch in summer 2020, the Madonna can carry up to 28 vehicles and 150 passengers.
Like the Arni J. Richter, the Madonna is equipped with the Twin Disc MG-540 transmission—so rugged and dependable, Purinton says, that “some of our crew members joke about naming their kids ‘Twin Disc.’”
The Madonna also includes Twin Disc EC300 electronic propulsion control, featuring single-lever control of engine RPM and transmission engagement. “It’s important to have a vessel that can start and stop on a dime,” Purinton says.
Distributor Palmer Johnson, the ferry line’s service partner and yet another local provider, recently upgraded the Richter’s controls from the Twin Disc EC250 to the EC300. Says Purinton, “We’ve seen gains in torque and responsiveness, and built in further safeguards to the transmission itself.”
And based on the decades of reliable performance the fleet has enjoyed with Twin Disc transmissions, Purinton expects the Madonna to enhance efficiency for years to come. “People who haven’t even been born yet will benefit from that boat and its robust driveline,” he says.
A berthing challenge involving high wind, heavy current and an electric bow thruster that quit at a crucial moment led Bill and Elaine Ebsary to Twin Disc for the first-ever retrofit of the Express Joystick System® (EJS®) in a Fleming 55 motoryacht.
The couple have been boating for years, with Bill an offshore competitive ocean racing sailor and a 50-year-plus member of the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club on Pittwater, just north of Sydney, Australia.
Bill says their Fleming 55’s name, Le Billet, refers to the ancient French term for a temporary residence for displaced mariners. It also translates to “the ticket”—and the motoryacht, now equipped with Twin Disc products, is indeed just the ticket for travels up and down the East Coast of Australia, as well as day trips and holidays with family and friends on the Pittwater.
Precision boat handling
The heart of the retrofit is the Twin Disc MGX5075A QuickShift® transmission system, integrating transmission, valves, actuators and controls for precision boat handling. And the stars are our Express Joystick System®, delivering fingertip push-twist-go maneuvering, and Express Positioning®, maintaining position at the touch of a button.
BP300 hydraulic bow and stern thrusters, with a custom-fit oil tank, replaced electronic bow thrusters—all seamlessly integrated into original Fleming onboard systems and controls.
“As we get older, and with a boat as big—and comfortable!—as the Fleming 55, we need systems that let us manage the boat confidently, without crew or deckhands,” says Bill. He says the smooth operation and micrometer accuracy of the EJS eliminate stress.
And as an engineer, he’s impressed with how the QuickShift® transmission applies the drive loads. “The Express Positioning is a bonus,” he adds. “To be able to integrate QuickShift® benefits and controls with the bow and stern thrusters to maintain a GPS- accurate position—that’s technology applied at its best.”
When China’s CNPC West Drilling, one of the region’s top oil and gas businesses, needed a more reliable fracturing rig, they turned to Twin Disc. Our TA90-7600 transmission systems are designed specifically for pressure-pumping rigs for oil and gas well stimulation.
The unique Twin Disc system eliminates the torque converter, uniting a deceptively simple countershaft design with heavy-duty clutch assemblies for durability—delivering performance that matches pressure-pumping rig engine life.
The TA90-7600 still allows full range-to-range power shifts with no throttle dipping. And the compact size lets it fit between the frame rails of mobile equipment.
CNPC came to prefer the simple, robust design when initial use showed the system delivers long hours of high performance in challenging conditions.
“This model has been in field fracturing operation for more than 500 hours,” says CNPC’s Yan Zhiyong, leader of the field fracturing team. “It shows consistently good, smooth performance.”
Additional advantages include gear ratios that create a better flow rate, maintaining pressure and thereby increasing production. Closely spaced gear ratios maintain more consistent pump flow rate, optimizing engine performance. Smooth shifting minimizes shock to the whole drive train, extending time between overhauls — and living up to CNPC’s expectations that the firm can count on Twin Disc.
Some 500,000 residents and tourists a year depend on Les Bateaux Verts for shuttle service and excursion around the bay of Saint-Tropez. Thanks to collaboration across Twin Disc enterprises, the historic “green boats” fleet’s newest vessel delivers that service with increased ease and efficiency.
In two years of planning for the Gipsy XXI, Twin Disc, Esco Transmissions and TMML recommended that Les Bateaux Verts try our Express Joystick System® (EJS®) with hydraulic thrusters. From there, the project grew to include components from every Twin Disc marine subsidiary. The Gipsy XXI, designed by Mer & Design and built by Chantier Martinez, includes:
- MGX marine gears from Belgium
- Express Joystick System® and electronic controls from the U.S.
- Propeller shafts, rudders and steering system from Italy
- Hydraulic bow and stern thrusters from Italy
- Rolla Custom propellers from Switzerland
The result is a vessel incredibly easy to maneuver, even in the high winds common across the bay. The ship’s captain says the launch at the shipyard posed no problems, “despite weather that was not at all conducive to sea trials with a new boat.”
Reducing mooring time
The vessel meets ISO 9001 and 14001 certification requirements for quality, safety and sustainability. And in regular operation, the Gipsy XXI saves nearly three hours a day in mooring time.
“I am not a man of the sea; I am a businessman,” says Denis Robert, president of Les Bateaux Verts. As such, he appreciates the technological expertise Twin Disc provides, particularly in replacing electronic thrusters with hydraulics.
“We were able to combine technological performance and a good experience for our crews with comfort for our passengers,” he says. As for the EJS, after a year of operation, “we are convinced that it is the future.”
The world’s leading producer of internationally certified fire safety solutions, NAFFCO, sought a foothold in a new segment: airport rescue and firefighting (ARFF) vehicles. And one of the first components they chose was our TD61-1179 transmission for ARFF vehicles.
Increasing firefighting efficiency
The TD61-1179 ARFF transmission and remote mounted torque converter enable ARFF vehicles to arrive on scene faster and start pumping sooner. Our advanced electronic controls enable faster shifts, rapid acceleration and precise speed control to handle varying ground conditions and tractive requirements.
“Twin Disc is the only transmission/torque converter pair in the world that maintains constant pump performance regardless of vehicle speed,” says Yasin Kassab, manager, NAFFCO chassis assembly. This pump-and-roll functionality lets the vehicle drive slowly while directing full power to the firefighting pump. Seamlessly integrated control of drive and pump-and-roll modes frees emergency responders to focus on their primary mission.
Ease increased with technical support
Twin Disc modified PTOs and flanges to meet NAFFCO needs, simplifying vehicle configuration. “Twin Disc also provided good technical support for the complete unit’s shift development and performance testing,” Yasin says.
Our global service network is also key. The vehicles NAFFCO assembles at its Dubai, UAE headquarters are shipped all over the world, from Iceland to Mozambique. Teaming with Twin Disc, NAFFCO can advance its mission–the “Passion to Protect.”
Captaine de Corvette Paul Brutus is a light fireboat, commissioned by the Marseille Fire Marshal Battalion (BMPM), named in the memory of a firefighter who died in the line of duty. Designed to fight ship fires in the harbor of Marseille, France, the vessel can also supply fire-fighting equipment to combat blazes on wharves or beaches.
To meet the performance requirements of the BMPM, the Captaine de Corvette Paul Brutus required a transmission capable of allowing extreme maneuverability while operating a high-powered FIFI Maritime Fire Pump.
The vessel is fitted with a Twin Disc MGX-5321DC marine transmission. It allows highly accurate positioning and slow-speed maneuverability while splitting main engine power to operate the FiFi pump.
The Captain de Corvette Paul Brutus can be readied to sail within five minutes and cruise at a maximum speed of 12 knots. It is also equipped with 70 kW hydraulic bow thruster to improve its maneuverability.
In its standard configuration, the MGX-5321DC offers features including:
- Vertical offset, nodular iron housing
- Electric GP-valve with manual override
- EC050 Profile module – interface for engagement signals
- Mounted oil cooler for raw water cooling
The MGX-5321DC provides sufficient power to the vessel’s FIFI Maritime Fire Pump to drive three mixed water and foam guns. Two are rated to spray at 8,000 liters per minute. The other can spray at a rate of 3,000 liters per minute. These water guns can be powered with no effect on ship performance or maneuverability.
To learn more about MGX-5321DC and other marine transmissions, visit www.twindisc.com.
Do you want to build a snowman?
If you work for a major metropolitan airport, probably not. Dealing with snow is a major operational expense for airports. Winter weather is often the culprit in several of the 10 most weather-delayed major airports. It can take massive efforts to keep snow from disrupting operations, according to Wired Magazine:
Everything at an airport slows down when it snows. Runways where planes are normally taking off every 45 seconds now can only handle one every 90 seconds. Baggage handlers must move slower because of slippery conditions; planes must be actively deiced before taking off; and runways need to be shut down periodically so armies of trucks with giant plows and brushes can get them down to bare pavement.
Over in Minnesota, the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport relies on snow removal technology powered by Twin Disc pump drives to keep things running smoothly. To help keep the runways clear, the airport relies on a tractor-mounted runway sweeper broom manufactured by Wisconsin-based M-B Companies.
The average amount of snowfall in the Twin Cities area is 45.3 inches per year. Because of this, the airport required a sweeper capable of removing even the heaviest snowfall quickly and efficiently to keep air traffic moving. The airport uses M-B Companies’ 3600-TRT Bidirectional Tractor-Mounted Runway Broom, which operates at 347 rpm with 1,655 foot-pounds of torque at 5,075 psi maximum working pressure.
Pump Driver Power
The power of the sweeper requires a pump drive with plenty of performance, able to use the rig’s full horsepower. M-B Companies chose to utilize the state-of-the-art AM110 Pump Drive from Twin Disc in the 3600-TRT. The drive had the quality build, compact design and power to let the new snow sweeper do more with less, even in harsh, wintery conditions. The hydraulic machinery of the sweeper makes it five times more powerful than other brooms of its kind.