maxon Aquatic Solutions: compact and efficient drives for underwater systems

Compact and efficient drives for underwater systems

maxon’s drive technology for underwater systems is compact, lightweight, non-corrosive, and highly efficient. Our Swiss engineered drive systems are applied in a large variety of fields and move under extremes environmental conditions - on earth and far beyond. But it is deep underwater that our motors really show what they are capable of.

 

AUV and ROV drive solutions

Sophisticated ROVs (Remote Operated Vehicles) and AUVs (Autonomous Unmanned Vehicles) travel underwater in search of scientific data, mineral resources or sunken wrecks. Their technology needs to withstand aggressive saltwater and enormous ambient pressure. maxon underwater drives provide efficient power for propulsion systems as well as high precision for robotic arms or scientific devices.

 

The advantages of our underwater drives

  • Max. immersion depth of 6,000 meters
  • High quality and reliability
  • Low weight
  • Compact and robust design
  • High efficiency
  • Optimum thrust/weight ratio
  • Saltwater-resistant materials
  • Low noise level
  • Oil filling

Seafloor mapping

Customized drives for a global ocean discovery competition

It seems almost ironic that humanity currently knows more about the surface of Mars than the ocean floors of our home planet. And yet, large sections of the deep sea remain uncharted to this day.

The Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE aims to change that. The global competition is challenging 32 teams to advance deep sea technologies for autonomous, fast, high-resolution deep ocean exploration. The teams use AUVs and compete for speed and accuracy in 3D bathymetric mapping of large areas of the ocean floor at 4,000-meter depths

Japanese Team Kuroshio decided to use maxon MT70 aqua thrusters for their vehicle, which integrates technologies owned by Japanese universities, institutes and companies for a unique collaborative approach.

Another contestant is Team CFIS, a non-profit organization from the UK, dedicated to developing and deploying scalable technology for exploring the oceans. While the most common way of sea floor mapping is through sonar, CFIS uses a different approach in trying a new technique using lasers. Their vehicle uses customized maxon underwater actuator MA30S with ceramic spindles as well as customized MT40 with a newly designed propeller

Underwater archeology

ROVs help in the discovery of lost treasures

With the aid of an underwater robot – and Swiss drive technology - researchers finally found the lost wreck of the largest submarine of WWII. The Japanese I-402 is 120 meters long, weights 6,600 tons and was able to carry and launch three airplanes. In 2015 a Canadian research ROV, built by Seamor Marine, located the wreck on the bottom of the ocean off Nagasaki at 190 meters below the surface, where it had been sitting for 70 years.

The ROVs can provide images from a depth of up to 600 meters. The vehicles are controlled via console, the screen helps with orientation and powerful LED lights were able to illuminate key features of the iconic submarine. The motors of a Seamor ROV need to deliver high power while taking up little space. Low noise is also important and tight tolerances in the drives are critical for preventing vibration that might cause failures underwater. This is why Seamor relied on maxon products. The underwater drives of the ROV consist of a motor-and-gearhead combination: a DC motor (RE 40) and a planetary gearhead (GP 32) with ceramic components. The company also uses several maxon drives for the underwater gripper and the camera angle adjustment. “maxon is the leader in high-quality DC motors and is able to deliver a product that fulfills our specific requirements.” says Seamor Lead Engineer, Dr. Chris Parker

Maritime robotics

Drives for autonomous hull grooming

The HullBUG System is a semi-autonomous underwater vehicle designed to crawl on ship hulls or other underwater structures and "proactively groom" the surface. This highly automated light cleaning process revolutionizes hull maintenance, allowing ship hulls to remain clean at all times. The benefits of improved hull condition are dramatic - the estimated 5% improvement in fuel efficiency achieved through proactive grooming translate into a savings of $15 billion per year for the shipping industry worldwide. In addition, greenhouse gases emitted by the fleet can be reduced by 1 billion tons. The magnet that attaches the HullBUG to the hull of the ship is rotated by maxon’s underwater brushless DC-motor EC90 flat with high torque density and excellent heat dissipation.

Seafloor scanning

Underwater drives for vertical alignment

When oil companies want to find out whether drilling at depth is worth the cost, they often rely on Controlled Source Electro Magnetic (CSEM) technology. This technology exploits the differences in the electrical resistance of different bottom layers to provide clues about the location and size of oil fields. The CSEM technology uses a very strong power source to generate an electro-magnetic field, as well as several receivers to record the fields. These tripod receivers are placed on the sandy bottom and pick up electromagnetic signals that have been changed by the layers through which they passed.

The special thing about this measuring method is that the company uses a vertical transmitter and receiver to find resources under the bottom.
To this end, the Norwegian company Petro-Marker has developed new receivers that enable a vertical alignment of the antennas at the center of the tripods with high precision. This is where the underwater drives from maxon come in. They are installed at the lower end of the receiver antenna to align it vertically as needed. The maxon drive solution excels thanks to its compact design and low weight. The centerpiece of the oil-filled underwater drive system is a motor-gearhead combination, comprising a brushless DC motor (BLDC) and planetary gearhead.

 

Drives for ROVs and AUVs

maxon aqua thrusters are reliable underwater drives for ROVs and AUVs. They achieve a maximum diving depth of 6000 meters, using extremely high-powered, waterproof DC brushless (EC) motors.

They extend the service life of submersible vehicles and can cover longer distances with the same battery. For example, AUVs can cover longer distances with the same battery capacity. During the development of the maxon thrusters, the focus was on an optimum thrust-to-weight ratio. The result is an underwater drive that is compact, lightweight and highly efficient.

Thrusters

maxon Thrusters are designed and built to suit underwater applications. Customers have access to a modular system which includes an underwater brushless DC motor, a planetary gearhead and a controller. Added to this is the housing and propeller. The units are designed for use in seawater using mainly titanium and plastic, so they will not corrode in saltwater and can withstand pressures of up to 600 bar.

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Key Features

  • Maximum depth limit 6,000 meters
  • Lightweight
  • Compact design
  • High efficiency
  • Optimal thrust/weight ratio

maxon Thruster

MT20

 

Datasheet

Step model

maxon Thruster

MT30

 

Datasheet

Step model

maxon Thruster

MT40

 

Datasheet

Step model

maxon Thruster

MT70

 

Datasheet

Step model

maxon compensator

MC30

 

Datasheet

Step model

maxon compensator

MC70

 

Datasheet

Step model

Application notes

 

 

Mechanical mounting

Application notes

Underwater drive solutions

maxon designs your individual underwater drive which perfectly suits to your application. You have access to maxons modular system which includes brushless DC motors and planetary gearheads. These components guarantee that maxon underwater solutions operates reliable, high efficient and powerful even in 6000 m depth.

Key features

  • Low noise level
  • High efficiency
  • Access to maxon modular system
  • Oil filled
What is the thrust force (Thrust [kg]) of the different maxon thrusters?
What does a maxon thruster cost?
Do I need a compensator for the maxon thruster even at low depths?
Can several thrusters be integrated in the same hydraulic system?
Can maxon thrusters or maritime drives be customized?
Are maxon thrusters or maritime drives available with integrated motor controllers?
Are there thrusters or maritime drives with encoders?

maxon motor GmbH

Untere Ziel 1D-79350 SexauGermany