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Making waves in the marine industry


Case history provided by Rittal:

Great Lakes Towing of Cleveland operates a large US-flag tugboat fleet.

Tugboats in the Great Lakes sail smoothly and safely, powered by eco-friendly solutions

For almost a half a century Canal Marine & Industrial of St. Catharines, Ont. has provided electrical design, engineering and services around the clock to merchant marine, naval and coastguard fleets in Canada and the rest of the world. In recent years, Canal has been designing and supplying marine hybrid power and propulsion systems. These systems utilize alternative methods for supporting propulsion and the vessel’s electrical power plant to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

Great Lakes Towing of Cleveland (known as The Towing Company) operates a large US-flag tugboat fleet. It’s a significant marine operations link in North America’s US Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence Seaway marine transportation network, the fourth seacoast of the US, an operating area that extends over 13,360 kilometres of shoreline, encompassing a water surface area of roughly 161,000 square kilometres.

The Marine Integration Group, comprised of Canal Marine with partners Logan Clutch of Cleveland and The Breakwater Group of PEI, is providing Great Lakes Towing with state-of-the-art hybrid power and propulsion systems for three new-build tugboats to be operated in the Great Lakes. These systems will allow the vessels to run with their large main engines shut down for extended periods and will also allow their diesel generators to run less frequently and more efficiently. Emissions will be reduced along with maintenance costs.

Running into turbulence

Canal faced some challenges related to the hybrid system, which is centered on a common-DC bus arrangement connecting a number of drives, front ends and grid converters.

• Secure mounting. These air-cooled power converters must be securely mounted within an environment that’s subject to significant movement and vibration.

• Temperature control. The drives, while efficient, generate some heat which must be controlled to preserve their rating.

• Easy accessibility. As well as the drives, automation equipment and other electronics must be mounted in a manner that maintains accessability, while eliminating the possibility of any electromagnetic interference from drives or motors.

• Space restrictions. In addition, there are some significant restrictions on the sizing of the entire system, as space is always limited within a tugboat.

Step by step, tow by tow custom solutions

Rittal modular enclosures.

Canal Marine believes in partnering to develop optimal solutions that address and fulfill the customer’s operational goals so it turned to Rittal to solve specific challenges. Here’s why:

• Canal personnel have extensive experience working with Rittal products over the past 10 years. Rittal’s products are considered to be sufficiently robust and flexible for use in a range of marine applications, from small bulkhead-mounted control boxes to full switchboards, MCCs and drive lineups. Canal personnel have installed drives rated above 1 MW within Rittal TS8 enclosures in recent years.

• The hybrid system requires the following features, all of which Rittal was able to supply:

a. A flexible system where modular enclosures could be connected or ‘bayed’ to create a longer enclosure perfectly matching their needs.

b. A common bus-bar system complete with clamps, connectors, covers and other accessories. Not only does this remove the task of designing a solution in-house, it also provides a rated (documented) system suitable for their steady state currents and braced for their peak fault currents.

c. Fans, heaters and thermostats that allow Canal Marine to ensure the environment within the enclosure is regulated. During periods of down-time the enclosure is heated to prevent condensation and, while in use, fans are used to remove heat produced by drives and other components. The Rittal fans move a significant amount of air, as the ambient temperature in the tugboat is already elevated by the presence of large engines.

d. Rittal’s modular system allows Canal Marine to individually purchase infrastructure, such as side panels or additional supports, to tailor the enclosure perfectly to their needs. Rittal even provides cable-management accessories that help maximize the internal space, keeping the cabinet line-up as small as possible. Replacement elements (such as doors or side panels) can be purchased individually to accommodate rework needed for future upgrades to the hybrid system.

Rittal is warmed up to environmental protection. Rittal realizes that high-tech industry and environmental protection are not mutually exclusive, and is particularly focused on sustainability and energy efficiency. Here are some examples:

• Rittal’s global ‘Green factories’ uphold stringent environmental and energy concepts. For instance, the waste heat produced during the painting process is used for degreasing and heating production halls.

• Water consumption at Rittal plants is also extremely energy-efficient. The water used during working operation is cleaned and recirculated.

• Rittal’s Blue e+ enclosure cooling units are proven to save up to 75% energy.

For more information, contact Rittal’s Canadian office at marketing@rittal.ca or click here.