The bold proposition comes as the Norwegian control specialist completes industrialisation of the L01 and L04 control levers and their equivalent rudder controls. L01 and L04 are new generation ‘plug and play’ controls that open the way for the shipping industry’s first uptake of integrated electronic shaft technology in a control lever application using CAN interfaces.
“Shipping companies frequently ask why the levers used to control their vessels are not available using CAN or other state of the art interfaces, so that they can dispense with costly and cumbersome cabling” says Terje Akerholt, Lilaas Sales and Marketing Manager Maritime. “However, those initial enquiries envisage levers featuring internal motors based on conventional thinking. Once owners get to grips with the price tag, issues around motor sizing, and installation complexities, their interest quickly drops away.”
“The L01 and L04 design overcomes a key challenge for conventional thinking – how to make motors compact enough to install under the plate, but still robust enough to do the job, ” explains Espen Hoff, Lilaas Manager Research & Development. “The solution has been to design a control interface where friction from internal components is reduced while the motor is running but reverts to normal levels when it is not. In addition, in our design, every electronic function is integrated in the lever, including the motor drive’s printed circuit board, el-shaft follow up system, CAN bus and graphical display.”
The L01 and L04 units communicate through a standard CAN open protocol. “Lilaas is the first and only maker in the world to offer this solution, which makes it all the more unusual that it is priced so competitively, ” adds Mr Akerholt. On top of lower product costs, he says the L01 and L04 units include fewer components. “That means faster assembly, but also a maintenance dividend.”
The new generation controls are configurable for force feedback, detents and friction, feature an el-shaft, LED indicators, and both redundant CAN open and analogue outputs in a modular design. Type approval has been received from DNV-GL covering both SOLAS ships and other vessels.
First deliveries of the L01 range will be made in October 2014, Mr Akerholt says, with orders taken from owners of offshore vessels, rigs and yachts. However, he adds: “L01/L04 levers and rudder controls are suitable for more or less all market segments that are looking for this new technology at a reasonable cost and, not least, an attractive design.”
Lilaas AS was established as Lilaas Finnekaniske AS in 1961 by Jan Lilaas. The company has over 50 years of experience in the manufacture of precision mechanics for both shipbuilding and offshore customers. The company’s products range from simple, one-axis control levers in different sizes, hand wheels and rudder controls to azimuthing control units and multi-axis joysticks. www.lilaas.no