Commercial barge, Franca, benefits from automated ballast tank pump controlled by Optidrive E3 variable frequency drive.
Commercial barge, Franca, benefits from automated ballast tank pump controlled by Optidrive E3 variable frequency drive.

The UK’s Invertek Drives Ltd designs, manufactures and markets electronic variable frequency drives (VFDs) for controlling electric motors. The company’s recently developed Optidrive E3 variable speed drives have been used to completely automate the control of ballast tank pumps on commercial barges in the Netherlands. Located at the bottom of the vessel, ballast tanks are designed to add weight to aid stability when the vessel has no cargo, and to enable the craft to pass underneath low bridges. They are filled with water pumped from the river or canal and then emptied again as soon as the bridge has been successfully cleared, or cargo taken on board.

As well as a faster and more reliable filling and emptying process, operators of commercial vessels that use VFD controlled ballast pumps also benefit from less fuel and energy consumption, which also saves money. Automated control of the tanks means they are emptied as soon as the excess weight is not needed which reduces drag, whilst controlling the pump speed and starting / stopping reduces the peak load on the vessel’s electrical system. Reducing fuel and energy usage is a vital consideration in the shipping industry which is required to adhere to strict international emissions regulations.

 

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