Most boat owners don’t need to be sold on the concept of marine stabilization systems - through innovation and technology we have managed to conquer one of the greatest challenges that seafaring people face. Even the most seasoned sailors can be susceptible to seasickness caused by the uncontrollable forces of nature, but how exactly has this been achieved? We explore the mechanics behind this technology, the physics that make it possible, and Smartgyro’s innovative modular design that sets them apart in this field.
In the most simplistic terms, marine stabilization technology is designed to reduce the vessel's motion in response to waves and other external forces. This results in increased onboard comfort, reduced wear and tear on the vessel, and improved safety for both skippers, passengers, and crew. The technology behind this seemingly magical feat is grounded in physics, primarily the principles of gyroscopes, motion control, and feedback systems.
SPINNING MAGIC WITH GYROSCOPES: THE PHYSICS
At the heart of marine stabilization technology is the use of a gyroscope. A gyroscope is a spinning wheel (flywheel) or disk that maintains its orientation and resists changes in its axis of rotation. This is known as the gyroscopic effect, and it is due to the law of conservation of angular momentum that it works; it arises when the axis about which the flywheel rotates, is forced to change in orientation by a force acting on any plane containing the axis of rotation. The result is a force that opposes the change of orientation imposed on the axis of rotation (in our case, the sea state), and a precession motion.
Since the moment of inertia relative to the transverse axis of a vessel is greater than that relative to the longitudinal axis (due to different position of the masses), it follows that the hull of a boat is much more subject to rolling than to pitching.
|1 Boat Tilt||3 Anti-roll torque|
|2 Precession Angle||4 Bow|
Therefore, gyro stabilizers are mounted in such a way that the force that disturbs the axis of orientation of the flywheel is (mainly) the force caused by rolling. When a vessel rolls due to wave motion, the on-board gyroscope responds by generating forces that oppose these movements.
The antiroll effect can be increased by installing more gyros. There is no need to synchronize them via electrical or mechanical/hydraulic connections it is the gyroscopic effect itself that allows each gyro to create its own antiroll torque, as they are all subject to the same sea motion.
Most of the antiroll work is produced as a result of the gyroscopic effect, but that is not enough. The precession motion must always be carefully controlled, continuously adjusting and synchronizing its amplitude and its time correlation with the incoming sea waves - and this is where electronics and algorithms come into play.
The motion control system, which takes care of this important task, is realized by means of a hardware computing platform, and a series of sensors distributed on different parts of the machine. Based on the data acquired by the sensors, (including the boat’s state - roll, pitch and the precession rotation angle), the algorithms precisely regulate the braking effect of the hydraulic pistons mounted on the side of the sphere containing the flywheel, and ultimately, synchronize the precession motion with the rolling wave.
In this way, the control system is capable of responding to different, ever changing sea conditions rapidly, and maximum antiroll torque is always generated, whatever the sea state. This is a key feature, since the faster and more accurately the system can respond, the smoother the ride for passengers and the safer the journey for all on-board.
And the outcome of all this is a harmonious dance of forces that keeps the vessel stable, regardless of sea state.
SMARTGYRO'S MODULAR MAGIC
Smartgyro stands out as a pioneer and innovator, particularly with their modular design approach. Unlike traditional systems that can often be cumbersome and challenging to install or retrofit, Smartgyro's technology is designed for ease of use and adaptability – reducing downtime and the expense of haul outs.
Smartgyro's modular approach splits the stabilizer into smaller, easy-to-handle components. This not only simplifies the installation process (the entire stabilizer can be dismounted and rebuilt below deck once all the components have passed through the available openings) but also allows for greater flexibility in adapting the technology to different vessels. Whether you're outfitting a superyacht or a commercial fishing boat, Smartgyro's modular system can be tailored to your specific needs.
Even more importantly, the modular design allows for the opening of the sphere containing the flywheel, to inspect, extract or replace the internal components (motor, bearings etc) if needed. When provided with the appropriate conditions, these operations can be carried out even on-board, without the need of dismounting heavy and bulky components and bringing them ashore.
And that’s another patented and distinctive characteristic of Smartgyro stabilizers.
NAVIGATING THE FUTURE
Marine stabilization technology, driven by the physics of gyroscopes and motion control, is a game-changer for many seafaring people and boat owners. It transforms the limitations of unpredictable seas and conditions into a comfortable and safe experience for those on-board and means time on the water and use of your boat can be truly and fully enjoyed.
Smartgyro's innovative modular design further enhances the accessibility and adaptability of this technology, as well as reducing downtime. To fully maximize our time and experiences on the water, marine stabilization technology remains an essential tool that helps us to achieve this. With innovators like Smartgyro at the helm, the boating community will continue to reap the benefits of this technology and stay ahead with the latest solutions.