OTC 2023: Direct drive eliminates need for gearboxes in the transmission

May 4, 2023
Hägglunds, a brand of Bosch Rexroth, was selected as a winner of a 2023 Spotlight on New Technology Award for its Atom gearless direct drive.

By Ariana Hurtado, Editor and Director of Special Reports

HOUSTON — Hägglunds, a brand of Bosch Rexroth, was selected as a winner of a 2023 Spotlight on New Technology Award for its Atom gearless direct drive.

Atom can be used for winch drives, crane drives (hoist, boom, slew), top drives, rotary tables, thrusters, cable-laying vessels, mooring drives and rotary tension drives, among other applications.

Collins Bioseh, Hägglunds market segment manager of Marine & Offshore, recently chatted with Offshore just ahead of the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) about the gearless direct drive and the company's next steps for the technology. 

OFFSHORE: How is Atom different from other drives on the market? 

BIOSEH: In applications where reliability, shock load resistance, long service life, low inertia, and highest power and torque to weight ratio are needed, the Atom is the best choice on the market. They come extremely small in size and offer the most compact solution compared with other drive solutions. The through-hole with the Atom and other Hagglunds compact drives also provide the option to drive multiple rotary actuators with a single motor (i.e., winch drums with clutching functions).     

OFFSHORE: How did the company develop the technology? 

BIOSEH: The motor design that the Atom motor series is built upon was developed by Hägglunds 30 years ago for the larger Hägglunds Compact motor series and has been incredibly successful and appreciated in various applications throughout the years.

However, the design has been continuously refined, and with the development of Atom, it is taken another leap forward in enabling outstanding performance and unbeatable power/torque to weight ratio. 

OFFSHORE: What are the direct drive's capabilities and offshore applications? 

BIOSEH: With direct drive, we eliminate the need for gearboxes in the transmission. Conventional/old transmissions with reduction gearbox are inefficient with multiple losses across the stages. With gearbox, higher power is needed to overcome the larger inertia, which can be quite significant especially in offshore applications requiring multiple starts and stops.

With the Atom, as with other Hägglunds drives, there is no requirement to increase installed power, thereby reducing cost significantly in material and in operation (i.e., fuel consumption).

The Atom is also fully compatible with biodegradable oil or environmentally acceptable lubricants, with zero effect on the equipment performance. While the Hägglunds system offers a leak-free solution, the operating fluid is completely harmless to marine life in the unlikely event of a spill.      

OFFSHORE: What additional work is planned for tech development?

BIOSEH: Product updates are continuously ongoing as we see market need. As an example, we recently released Atom for explosive environments, and since before we also have Atom optimized for marine environments, a combination that can be advantageous in the offshore industry.

For more information, visit Bosch Rexroth at OTC booth 1914.