Brushless motors take a dive for Hulltimo
02 November 2013
The French company, Hulltimo, designs and manufactures novel hull maintenance equipment for the recreational boat owning market. Its two flagship products, the Hulltimo Pro and Hulltimo Smart are driven by brushless dc motors, supplied by another French company - Crouzet.
Based in the Rhône-Alpes region of France, Hulltimo introduced its in-water recreational boat hull maintenance robot, Hulltimo Pro, in 2012. Able to clean a 34-foot hull in water in just one hour, it not only saves the boat owner money (as the craft does not need to be lifted from the water) but also helps to conserve the marine environment, thanks to its disposable integrated waste collection bag.
Thanks to slightly positive buoyancy, Hulltimo Pro lies flat against the hull through suction generated by the rotation of its roller brushes, which are driven by Crouzet dc brushless motors. Its four wheels are driven via two belts by two Crouzet motors; three others are used to drive a turbine, the roller brush and the mechanism that controls the latter’s articulation.
When asked why he chose Crouzet motors, Sébastien Fontaine, Hulltimo’s man in charge of R&D, procurement and production said they were initially attracted by the company’s reputation, but now has little hesitation in praising Crouzet for the support his company received, which, in his words “exceeded expectations". Both companies got their respective research departments working together on the Hulltimo Pro project very early on during the design phase.
According to M Fontaine, it was largely due to Crouzet’s responsiveness during this early stage in the development and its willingness to adapt its motors to the application and deliver them on time, that Hulltimo was able to produce three prototypes on schedule in 2011 for the planned commercial launch in April 2012.
Now, some thirty-six months after the start of this venture, Sébastien Fontaine has no doubt that his company’s choice of motor supplier was the right one for the Hulltimo Pro. And Hulltimo had no hesitation in calling Crouzet back again when it embarked on its latest project – the Hulltimo Smart.
This highly portable, motorised brush is fixed to the end of a boom and operated from the deck of the boat or from the quayside. And while this system is less expensive than the Hulltimo Pro robot, it is based on similar principles: a suction effect allowing the brush to clamp itself firmly to the hull so that it can effectively clean the surface reliably and efficiently.
The Smart also has a Crouzet motor at its heart, and Sébastien Fontaine is quick to praise the company once more for the outstanding responsiveness and support provided in the development of the new product.
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