Tuesday, January 25, 2022
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ATLAS ELEKTRONIK UK and PALFINGER are shaping the future of USV handling

The use of Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs) deployed from naval vessels is a rapidly growing global trend. Safe, reliable launch & recovery is essential to operations but difficult to achieve. PALFINGER and Atlas Elektronik UK (AEUK) have developed jointly a solution, combining the well proven PQBS-series slipway system and the highly capable ARCIMS USV. 

PALFINGER’s slipway systems have been selected and installed onboard multiple vessels around the world. The key technology of the slipway system is the use of powered wheel drive units (quad units), arranged in two parallel rows along the slipway slope at the stern of the mother vessel. Each quad unit is suspended on bearings, allowing it to tilt and automatically adapt to the hull shape of the boat during launch & recovery operations. Overrunning clutches on each quad unit allow free rotation of the wheels in the recovery direction until the speed of the boat and the wheel drive units match, enabling the boats to enter at a range of different speeds. Once the boat makes enough contact with the quad units, the powered wheels will take over and drive the boat up the slipway slope and dock the boat safely inside the slipway. The slipway system range is compatible with a wide range of boat types and sizes, capable of handling up to 40 tons.

“AEUK has been monitoring the market, looking for new solutions which can simplify and improve launch & recovery operations of our USVs. When we investigated the slipway system technology from PALFINGER we recognized the huge potential this system would offer in relation to safe and reliable launch & recovery of our ARCIMS USVs in operational conditions”, states Barry Webster, Sales & Product Manager at AEUK.

“Since our first deliveries of slipway systems in 2004 we have constantly been developing our slipway technology to meet the requirements from our customers based on their increased demand for safe and reliable launch & recovery operations in high sea states. The growing use of USVs has further increased the benefits from using our slipway system technology, as operations can be carried out remotely and without the need for manual involvement from the crew onboard”, states Torstein Svane, Senior Sales Manager at PALFINGER.

PALFINGER and AEUK have worked closely together to develop a slipway system named PQBS-T-D-P, tailored to handle ARCIMS USVs. The load capacity of the PQBS-T-D-P model is 12 tons and is specifically designed to handle the twin hull design of the ARCIMS USV. A powered parking position has been included to automatically transfer the USVs to/from the slipway cradle for launching. The system is capable of handling two ARCIMS USVs on the same vessel. The design can be scaled up to handle AEUK’s larger USVs and SEA Class workboats.

“The result is a turnkey USV and handling system solution that utilizes the latest technology developed by PALFINGER and ATLAS ELEKTRONIK UK. Both companies are excited about this solution and look forward to presenting it to industry. We are now able to provide a complete solution which meets the requirements of our customers, with regards to the USVs capabilities and also being able to offer an efficient launch and recovery system that significantly increases the operational envelope whilst ensuring a safe and reliable launch & recovery of USVs in high sea states”, say Barry Webster and Torstein Svane.

About PALFINGER’s marine solutions

The international mechanical engineering company PALFINGER is the world´s leading provider of innovative crane and lifting solutions. As a global partner for pioneering and reliable deck equipment and lifesaving appliances, PALFINGERs marine business supplies high-quality products to fulfill standardized and customized demands. Supported worldwide by a network of experienced and skilled specialists, we provide flexible and efficient service solutions. Our portfolio gives a competitive edge for customers in the maritime and offshore industry. 

About ATLAS ELEKTRONIK UK

ATLAS ELEKTRONIK UK Ltd (AEUK) is a defence contractor in the naval and maritime systems domain, providing innovative products and operational support to navies around the world. The Company specializes in maritime systems and technologies in ASW, MCM and are world leaders in the areas of hydro acoustics, sonars, electric drives, mission systems, underwater communications, submarine signatures and maritime security.

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