When Australian marine engineering excellence, leading edge innovation, perseverance, vision and focus are joined with advanced manufacturing capability you have the hallmarks of Perth based success story VEEM Ltd, a high technology manufacturer of marine propulsion and stabilisation systems.
By rigorously applying advanced design and manufacturing techniques VEEM has produced leading edge products that now sit astride some key global markets. More than 40% of VEEM sales are from exports.
Importantly, export sales are being won in some of the most competitive markets in the world where product perfection and unrivalled performance are the standard. Moreover, VEEM has now appointed a dedicated Global Business Development Manager to further leverage the many business opportunities VEEM’s advanced technology solutions are creating.
VEEM is not competing on price, although prices are quite clearly competitive, but rather on quality manufacturing and cutting edge designs incorporating patented technology. Similarly, VEEM is adding significant supply chain value to its customers by ensuring adequate stocks are available at point of wholesale and retail.
Additionally there is a range of propellers than can be delivered anywhere in the world within seven days so critical customer orders can be met without delay. Working towards the apex of marine engineering manufacturing and design takes time, sufficient working capital along with unswerving commitment. To push the limits of innovation in marine propulsion and stabilisation is the challenge continually set and met by the VEEM R&D engineering team.
The array of technology developed by VEEM are impressive. Pattern-less robotic casting manufacturing and automated “lights off” CNC machining have created the world most advanced propeller manufacturing facility.
Sophisticated designs using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation software, finite element (FEA) analysis and custom algorithms that refine scenarios regarding structure and fluid flow, are just some of the engineering capability on show at VEEM.
While Federal Government R&D grants and tax incentives have clearly been important in the VEEM evolution process, it is nonetheless remarkable how much VEEM has achieved through its own resources. The greater part of the R&D budget was underwritten from VEEM revenues. Still today a large portion of VEEM revenue is allocated to new R&D initiatives as part of the ongoing commitment to staying at the forefront of global marine technology.
Marine propellers are manufactured by VEEM in sizes from 600mm diameter through to 4600mm diameter incorporating five dedicated design series for differing applications. Each series of VEEM propeller is specifically designed to meet the most exacting demands of that particular category of vessel.
There are designs specifically for high speed sports fishing vessels, superyachts, commercial ferries through to work boats and military. Research and development at VEEM never sleeps. The VEEM patented “interceptor” design technology adds yet another dimension to the propeller range with the ability to change the effective pitch of a propeller under water.
This is by a unique interchangeable strip on the trailing edge of each blade that protrudes from the surface of the blades. This in turn, creates a different effective pitch of the blades depending on the height of the protrusion that each of the interchangeable strips provides. This enables the boat builder or owners to tune their propellers to cater for changes in boat weight or ocean conditions.
Such technology represents a financial revolution for boat builders who have traditionally faced the expensive exercise of lifting boats and altering propellers several times to properly tune the propellers to prevailing conditions.
Research is not just confined to propeller designs that enable modern vessels to exceed 50 knots of speed but also into material strengths and fatigue resistance to cater for the increased loads that are such high performance technology produces.
Ongoing materials research has resulted in innovative use of metal alloys including stainless steels, titaniums and nickel aluminium bronzes. The achievements and excitement of the VEEM story extends beyond leading edge propeller technology.
VEEM is also a leader in gyro stabilisation technology. A gyro stabiliser works to reduce vessel roll which is a major source of sea sickness. This technology is particular effective for monohull vessel designs and has also recently been incorporated in tri hull designs that have a similar roll susceptibility. VEEM has a gyro stabiliser range consisting of three sizes suitable for vessels from 100 tonnes through to 3000 tonnes.
Very simple installation
This is the first production gyro stabiliser system available to these sizes of vessels and is set to revolutionize the operating parameters of a wide range of industries. The units produce 120, 260 and 1000kNm of torque respectively and can operate independently of each other in multiple installations. However the torque available is cumulative. This makes for a very simple installation of one, two or more of different sizes of gyros to create the desired amount of roll reduction for each application.
Some markets such as supply vessels have limited options in terms of stabilisation as they have to come alongside sensitive structures like drilling rigs and other vessels. Stabilizers have to be contained within the vessel and are historically largely ineffective. VEEM gyro technology represents a huge leap forward as the increased stabilisation enable more working days at sea, less accidents and less damage. Before VEEM, stabilisers had traditionally been able to be used at vessel rest, or at speed but not both.
Quality manufacturing processes
A Veem gyro stabiliser can remove as much as 90% of the vessel rolling motion, a function that can be viewed on the VEEM website video with an amazing demonstration of a vessel in rough seas with the gyro stabiliser in both the on and off position. To round out the VEEM product series is a range of bespoke centrifugally cast hollow bar.
The custom nature of this product is available in over 200 different alloys and can be machined to the most exacting standards with the VEEM quality manufacturing processes.
VEEM have also pioneered a unique ‘bimetal’ hollow bar the encompasses a high wear material bar in a pressure vessel rated bar that has revolutionized the wear pipe supply for the alumina processing industry. These bars last up to 10 times longer than the tradition weld cladded pipe yet cost little more.
The global marine propulsion and stabilisation space is a competitive one where only the most innovative ‘internationally focused’ businesses survive and prosper.
In this regard VEEM, as a manufacturer of high technology marine propulsion and stabilisation systems represents the quintessential modern Australian international manufacturer.
David Gray is lead consultant at Digital Information Partners suppliers of media relations, press release campaigns and export documentation services to Australian manufactures and service providers. David can be contacted at www.diginfo.com.au