Biggest permanent magnet shaft generators now rolling out to ships

The Switch PMM2000s are rolling out!

These giant permanent magnet machines meet the pressing need for more power and torque in shaft generator applications. The first one passed its customer string test in January 2023 with flying colors and is now on its way to the shipyard.

Testing challenges all met

Both the initial back-to-back factory acceptance testing (FAT) and the customer string testing were carried out at the Large Drive Test Center (LDTC) in Lappeenranta, Finland.

We faced several challenges. First was the handling of these very large machines.

“All the components are huge. So basically, bolts and nuts are the only components that can be lifted without an overhead crane,” explains Jonne Härkänen, Senior Factory Manager at the LDTC. “We were working with a new machine type and size, so it was more or less impossible to know how much time each step would take.”

As a result, we had to keep a close eye on the schedule and the costs. The shortages of materials created by the war in Ukraine presented more difficulties.

And the string test itself presented challenges. Combining the customer’s very converters into our test system with such large electric machines took a lot of planning and execution time.

Results bear out careful planning

The PMM2000 performed flawlessly under testing.

Jonne says, “It’s a magnificent and huge machine. It performs just as planned.”

Matti Nikkinen, Vice President of Operations, adds, “There were no deviations compared to design values.”

The purpose-built equipment – such as the integration and test benches – functioned just as designed. And the testing itself proceeded very smoothly and on schedule, to everyone’s satisfaction.

Great teamwork at The Switch made it happen. The different teams monitored each stage closely. People are very committed to this project and have put in great effort. Some volunteered to do something extra. Others were ready to move to the other side of the globe!

We’re very pleased to have this first PMM2000 delivery on its way to the shipbuilder. The next milestone is seeing how it performs in the vessel.

Tens of PMM2000s in production

We’re building, testing and delivering a steady stream of PMM2000s this year. In the next few months, we’ll be testing variations requested by customers – different power ratings, different operation points and more – and we’ll see how those perform. And we’ll begin optimizing the process.

This milestone gave us a big boost. It’s like climbing a mountain for a long, long time and then enjoying the spectacular view from the top and having a little break before the next challenge! Also, it’s increased our confidence. We’ve donesomething no one has accomplished before.

We proved the machines do work as planned, and also, the test system can perform these demanding tests.

We’re confident the LDTC can showcase the function of these machines, as well as accommodate whatever might come down the road in the future.

The amount of cargo transported by vessel is increasing. This requires bigger ships to carry it, and more powerful equipment for ship operations. We’re very pleased to be rolling out advanced technology for a more efficient marine industry.

About the author

Sergey Groshev currently works as Customer Project Manager at The Switch, Finland. He has over 7 years of experience in project management for high-power converters and electric machines. Groshev holds an M.Sc. (Technology) degree in Electrical Engineering from the Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT), Finland.