March 16, 2011

Propulsion: Flexitab FlexiDrive

A new concept of semi-submerged propulsion system composed by three typologies. The target of Flexitab engineers, in the field of pleasure craft, is aimed to improve the safety and the efficiency of the navigation, with all kind of boats. Flexidrive is an innovative propulsion system composed by a “body”, made of composite material: all the hydraulic components are enclosed inside and all the mechanical parts are connected to. Flexidrive is based on semi-submerged propellers concept, created and developed to increase the performances of the boat and its manouvrability; to help the installation and to enhance the efficiency. The research program called Flexidrive is built up from the cooperation among Flexitab, Victory Design and the University of Genoa and Naples. Developed specifically for pleasure craft, Flexidrive has been tested on the Dart, a 46 mono-hull totally designed by Victory Design. This boat, with two 600hp diesel engines, reached a maximum speed around 10 knots more than any other boat of equal displacement propelled by immersed propellers and a minimum planing speed of 12 knots. Flexidrive assured also an incredible manouvrability in port, same as traditional propulsion systems. Flexidrive has been designed using the Finite Element Method which allows for optimization of structures in terms of maximum resistance and minimum weight. The Flexidrive body is made of composite materials; the propeller axis case is made of light aluminium alloy with anti-corrosional surface treatment. Flexidrive has three range of products. Energy for working boats, super yachts and high-displacement fisherman. This family has fixed drive and is designed to reach the maximum performance at medium-low speed usual for this kind of boats. It is available in 6 models, with an indicative power range from 300hp to 2800hp. Power for planing pleasure and high-speed working boats, such as contemporary open and fast guard-ship. This family has a trimmable drive to improve the performance of the hull and to reach the best result during all kind of navigation. Flexitab engineers worked to obtain the maximum manouvrability, quick planing and tacking. It is available in 5 models, with an indicative power range from 500hp to 2800hp. Speed created for light displacement and very fast boats (like, for example, the offshore and the fast-commuter), single and multi-hull. Like the Power models, also Speed family has trimmable drive and the external steering system is made of light aluminium alloy with a special high-tensile stainless steel rudder. It is available in 2 models, with an indicative power range from 500hp to 1500hp. Power and Speed models have the trimmable drive. In this way the driver has always the control of the boat, correcting the trim during the navigation in every sea state. The advantages are many: better cruising comfort, less fuel consumption and better performances. As all the Flexitab components, also the Flexidrive has been designed to facilitate the shipyard work: the installation is fast and easy and doesn’t require any compromise for the hull design.