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– Part II


I then set about dreaming up new ideas for minimising friction and power losses wherever possible. For example, just as on a racecar exhaust system, why not simply go straight through? Why turn gears, shift oil and rotate shafts against seals when you don’t need to?


The result was the introduction of new mechanisms inside the gearbox that entirely isolate gears and rotating compo- nents when not in use. Some of these we control electronically, some mechanically. In use, these concepts have probably worked better than we imagined, yielding an impressive reduction in friction. Our objective was a product of high


performance that required little extra maintenance other than keeping it clean on the outside. I think we might have gone beyond that – one skipper suggested to us that the latest units would not look out of place at the Museum of Modern Art… Over recent years we have enjoyed an outstanding succession of great projects with TP52, IRC72 and VO70 pro- grammes. Looking back, they are all part of a continual evolution and learning process. I have tried hard to give every team more than they asked for. Every system is carefully conceived and designed for accessibility and servicing using Solidworks 3D software. We’ve been very fortunate, each team putting great trust in our knowledge, resources and experience, and giving us the freedom to be creative. One project that did push our limits in 2014 was the VPLP/Verdier-designed Comanche. The Comanche team asked us


to make an appraisal of demands placed upon currently available equipment by the massive peak torque loads that their new grinding system would produce. The deck layout and playbook presented scenarios with six pedestals linked directly to one winch. Roughly speaking, this meant double the torque load seen on the last Version 5.0 ACC primary winches. As the loads accumulate through the transmission it quickly became apparent that restricting the programme to off-the-shelf equipment would risk a chain reaction of destruction; not to mention the safety risks to the crew. The Comanche squad reviewed a design proposal for a specialised transmission. We quickly set to work on scaling up the M-Class gearboxes to cope with the 1,500-1,700Nm peak torque loads that we predicted as probable with 12 strong grinders. We designed a new fully lubri- cated, sealed cross-axis gearbox with over- drives. We also built a robust torsion test rig at our workshop and subjected over- sized carbon drive shafts with titanium end fittings up to a whopping 2,200Nm proof test! And at the end of the line the 12,000kg SWL winches themselves were uprated with tweaked internal compo- nents to withstand this high input torque. With no powered winches, Comanche 


SEAHORSE 29


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