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How do you control surface drives?

A pretty basic question. France Helices offer several control systems as part of our SDS package.

We can accomodate multiple helm locations, master and slave, for use in vessels that may have a flybridge or a large bridge, such as on a ferry. When one control station is activated, the other is de-activated, eliminating conflicting signals.

Our drives are steered and trim-adjusted using hydraulics. The sensors and controls for the steering acan either be mechanical or electronic. In some applications, we have offered computerized control. Again, it is up to customer preference: Some customers (or applications) require computerized control; others neither require nor desire it, preferring manual controls.

All SDS hydraulic systems come with redundant emergency backups: The vessel is NEVER out of the operator’s control in the event of failure. Indeed, the drives can even be manually manipulated in a worst-case scenario (Which has never happened on a vessel where our drives are installed.)

As to helm integration, Either the pushbutton controls can be used, or we can provide a wheel / joystick.

The chart below illustrates some of our options. Again, it is largely up to customer preference as to which one we recommend: All methods of control will provide years of reliable service.

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More Stories By John Miele

I am currently Sales and Marketing Manager, Asia / Pacific for France Helices. Created in 1977 by Paul BEZZI, FRANCE HELICES is today an international company. French marine propulsion leader, FRANCE HELICES is also one of the international leaders. Research and development are a very important part of FRANCE HELICES program, the CAD's department is equipped with the latest computer technology, using most up to date programs. Our engineers and technicians determine from the customers specifications and designs, the type of propulsion system to suit the boat's application. They can also advise on the ideal choice of power and optimum gearbox ratio to obtain the maximum thrust. There are many FRANCE HELICES' inovations and patents such as Surface Drive System (SDS) which enable boats to obtain very high speed with excellent handling capabilities and high quality Controllable Pitch Propeller systems (CPP) for both professional use and pleasure application. The constant research using cavitation tunnel testing, guarantees high efficient propeller blade shape for our customers. More than 20 000 propellers per year are manufactured by FRANCE HELICES workshops. In all sizes from small sailing boats to large fishing vessels to navy boats or mega yachts. The FRANCE HELICES workshops are equipped with modern foundries capable of casting propellers up to 3.5 tons in NiBrAl. They are also equipped with CNC milling machines and CNC lathe machines. FRANCE HELICES has four sites which cover the complete range of production. The development of FRANCE HELICES, supported by shareholders places our company as a leader in the international market and insures a constant development, worldwide, in order to be close to the end user.

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