Quantum Marine Stabilisers speaks about the importance of stabilisers and their latest developments
“Over the past 10-15 years, the military industry has become more aware of the importance of stabilisers,” John Allen, CEO of Quantum, tells MONCh. “Prior to that, specifications for shipbuilding merely referred to the need for ’stabilisers’ without any additional information. Today, builders are getting a lot more sophisticated with input from the navies using specific parameters on the expected performance of the stabilisers.”
A stabiliser is essentially equipment integrated into the hull of a ship to reduce the roll and add comfort to the passengers on-board. According to Mr Allen, when the boat rolls it creates acceleration forces that cause fatigue in crewmembers, making it harder for them to carry out their tasks. Additionally, the rolling of a ship can cause safety issues when the crew is on a rescue mission and/or trying to coordinate helicopter landing on a ship’s deck in rough seas. “As the benefits of stabilisers became increasingly important over the last decade, we are seeing specifications with precise roll reductions in a defined sea state,” continued Mr Allen.
Quantum originally started installing stabilising systems in luxury yachts 33 years ago, a market where stabilisers are particularly critical to the comfort of the owner, crew and guests because, as Mr Allen points out, “if the owner of the yacht is uncomfortable, then it is no longer a pleasure to cruise or own.” However, ten years ago when there was a downturn in the yachting industry, Quantum started looking at other possible markets. The military industry proved to have a tremendous need for stabilisers for several applications including patrol vessels. “Patrol boats can travel at high speeds, but when they are patrolling a given territory, they spend a lot of time at slow or loitering speeds. In those conditions, stabilisers become almost essential for crew members to carry out their work and not suffer from extreme fatigue while patrolling for long periods of time,” Mr Allen added.
Almost 20 years ago, Quantum invented the first in Zero Speed stabiliser system that reduces the roll of the boat when it is drifting or at anchor. The company offers three main types of stabilisers and can incorporate Zero Speed in all of them:
– XT Fins, the most popular according to Mr Allen, are an extendable fin stabiliser system, designed to reduce the fin footprint by having extendable foils only deployed for stabilising the vessel at anchor or zero speed. This is an excellent solution for vessels with zero and medium speed stabiliser needs.
– Dyna-Foil Retractable stabilisers is a dual-purpose ship stabiliser system with a fully retractable fin that creates a dynamic self-induced lift for outstanding Zero Speed operation and a highly efficient lift to drag coefficient for superior underway operation. Ideal for vessels with zero speed and high speed requirements.
– MAGLift Rotor Stabiliser design is based on the Magnus Effect whereby the retractable stabilising system generates lift proportional to the speed and direction of its rotating cylinders. This is perfect for vessels with Zero Speed and slow speed stabiliser demands.
Today, 30 per cent of Quantum’s business is military, with the first contract secured in 2009 for the US Coast Guard’s (USCG) Fast Response Cutter (FRC-B). Quantum was also chosen for the USCG WMEC 270 life extension programme and the US Navy ‘Cyclone’ class upgrade. Other projects outside of the US include, amongst others, fitting frigates for the Moroccan Navy and patrol boats for the Brunei Navy with Zero Speed.