Mercury Marine to offer ‘electrical backbone’ for OEMs

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Power Products not only designs the electrical systems for boats, it can also spec them and create the electrical backbone for models so OEMs don’t have to.

Power Products not only designs the electrical systems for boats, it can also spec them and create the electrical backbone for models so OEMs don’t have to.

With the purchase of Power Products, Brunswick-owned Mercury Marine will be able to provide an electrical backbone for manufacturers and customers to ensure that systems and components function seamlessly together.

It has long been a challenge for the boating and RV industries to make electrical components work smoothly together, and until recently there has been no service to help OEMs integrate the systems.

A new division of Power Products, Power Products Integrated Services, is helping out in that regard.

“We have a good core electrical product, and we’re able to ensure all the parts and systems work well together,” Mercury Marine president of global marine parts and accessories Chris Drees told Trade Only Today. “If you’re a builder, it’s much easier to install a system that we can help design and spec for them, that they have confidence will work together well.”

The idea is to make the components communicate with one another, Drees said.

Builders doing integration on their own need technical engineers, and that’s not always possible, he said. “Some builders might have one or two technical engineers on the electrical side — some don’t have any,” he said. “That’s why providing this type of service will really help out as it pertains to the workforce shortage. I think that’s the key, to get it right up front. It prevents a lot of issues down the line.”

It’s important to have the engineering work done up front when models are being designed to avoid glitches that tend to upset boat owners, who are used to a more seamless automotive experience, Drees said.

“I think that’s why it’s so important to have a lot of the engineering and this work done up front when the models are being designed,” Drees said. “Getting in on the ground floor is so essential, so we design the system to work upfront rather than try to fix the issues down the line. When you mention workforce shortages, this is a perfect example where you can consolidate some of the technical electrical resources in one group, so every builder doesn’t have to duplicate that resource.”

“And from our end, we’re making the experience easier for the customer, and we’re making the boatbuilding experience easier for our OEM customers as well,” Drees said.

The service will be provided regardless of the propulsion OEMs use, whether it be Mercury, Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda, BRP or another brand of engine, Drees said.

Brunswick announced June 29 it was acquiring Power Products’ marine and mobile businesses for $910 million.

Power Products brands comprise Ancor, BEP, Blue Sea Systems, CZone, Del City, Lenco Marine, Marinco, Mastervolt, Park Power, Progressive Industries and ProMariner.

Power Products’ global and marine divisions provide branded electrical products, such as battery and power management and digital switching, to marine and other recreational and specialty-vehicle markets.

“You hear where people want to take the hassle out of boating — that’s similar to creating a boating experience where everything is designed to work together,” said Drees. “When we can get that done I believe we’ll be able to keep more of those first-time buyers. This puts us one step closer to allowing that to happen, and that’s why this acquisition is so exciting to us.”

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