Global marine propulsion and equipment manufacturer Vetus said its Rimdrive bow thruster is now available for OEM and aftermarket installation.
Vetus said the Rimdrive, winner of a Pittman Innovation Award from Sail magazine, features a unique design that makes its operation virtually silent.
“We’re excited to now bring to market this innovative and expertly engineered thruster,” Vetus-Maxwell USA CEO Jay Stockmann said in a statement. “Our engineers have adapted technology often seen aboard large ships to the recreational boating market.”
Vetus said there are two main engineering innovations behind the Rimdrive’s whisper-quiet operation. First, the propeller forms the rotating part of the electric motor (rotor) and the fixed winding (stator) is mounted in the tunnel, eliminating the need for noisy gears.
Second, a ring is mounted around the propeller to prevent its tips from cutting through the water, thereby preventing cavitation. Instead of the usual turbulence associated with thruster operation, when the Rimdrive is running, only a gentle murmur can be heard.
The Rimdrive’s electronics are mounted on top of the thruster, resulting in a compact unit that does not take up much valuable space inside the boat. Both the electronics and the motor are “watercooled” by outside seawater, keeping them at a constant temperature, which is vital to the thruster’s smooth operation.
The motor is virtually maintenance-free, as there are no brushes to replace.
Another innovative Rimdrive feature is proportional control. Instead of only being able to switch the thruster on or off, with the Rimdrive the driver can dial in the precise amount of thrust to handle different maneuvers and wind conditions. The Rimdrive also offers an extended runtime that is only limited by the capacity of the battery bank.
Suitable for use in yachts 45 feet and longer, the Rimdrive is available in 125kgf (8-hp) and 160kgf (9.5-hp) models.
Both require a supply voltage of 48VDC, which can be delivered by a 110/230VAC to 48VDC charger or by converting the normal 12V or 24V battery supply voltage with a DC-to-DC converter solution.