Title: Adopting Electro-Mechanical Actuation to Increase Operational Effectiveness While Reducing Energy and Logistics Demands in Modern Naval Platforms
Author(s): Clyde Thomas and Tim McGee, Curtiss-Wright
Demands to reduce energy dependence while increasing user safety and capabilities can present significant challenges in the development and support platforms for naval vessels. Increasing technology complexity in the field and decreasing budgets to develop, acquire, operate and maintain equipment add to these challenges. However, with the increasing electrification in these platforms, utilizing electromechanical actuation (EMA) technology can be one option to help lower energy demands, increase operational effectiveness, and reduce overall logistics costs.
Combining performance and size advantages with a wide range of control options, today’s EMAs offer the flexibility to accommodate even the most demanding applications. Increasing electric operation can eliminate or reduce the need for ancillary equipment, such as compressors, pumps, hoses, and hydraulic fluids thus reducing weight, logistic costs, and need for unique skill sets in the field to maintain and support these systems. EMAs can also allow Original Equipment Manufacturers to simplify machine design, operation, and maintenance to lower total cost of ownership for a variety of shipboard systems.
Even with all the inherent benefits of EMAs, there are; however, challenges in moving to all electric solutions. As with any change, rate of adoption is a function of the entrenched learning and infrastructure in support of existing solutions. Fluid power solutions have been in place for many decades and are not something that is going to change overnight.
While fluid-powered technologies are still common and present in many industries, electric actuators are making an impact. By accommodating industry trends, such as energy efficiency, simplified connectivity and higher machine intelligence, EMAs can be an effective technology address the challenges faced in supplying, using and supporting today’s battle-space equipment.