Interview with Hydraulic Marine Systems

Tim Konrad
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December 16, 2008 had a chance to speak with Todd Preston of Hydraulic Marine Systems. Hydraulic Marine Systems was one of the biggest hits of the 2008 International WorkBoat Show. They rolled into the show with a fully operational, self contained, system that was sold on the spot. Not a big surprise when you take into account the effectiveness, diversity and durability of their unique product. Here is what they had to tell gCaptain.

What are some of the more challenging or interesting projects your thrusters have been utilized on?

Our Thrusters are used on a variety of platforms including carpenter barges used for bridge work, Crane Barges, Dredging, Fuel barges and shuttle barges. We have several lease units on location in San Juan, Costa Rica which are being utilized on a Marina project.
Probably the most interesting project would be the most recent one also. The 275HP Twin unit Displayed at the WorkBoat Show in New Orleans sold right off the floor and was delivered to a nearby location on Saturday after the show closed. The unit was installed on a 90×250′ Salvage Barge called the “Dixie Diver”. The barge and its crew, along with Divers, set way for a project in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday to perform salvage recovery operations from an oil platform that was damaged during Tropical Storm Fay.

How do your thrusters differ from your competitors or are you truly one of a kind?

We have several different aspects which make us stand out from the competition. First and foremost, our cost is approximately one half the industry average based on horsepower. We manufacture these machines to be as strong and durable as possible and keep them at a cost of around $525/hp or less. Second, our production time to delivery is relatively quick in comparison to the larger manufacturers (ours is 60 to 90 days). Third, while other manufacturers say their parts are readily available, they’re still talking about “their” parts; Parts that still have to come from them. Our machines really are built with industry standard parts which are available through out the world. If a customer damages a hydraulic line, cylinder or even a pump, they can get a replacement from the local hydraulic shop and bolt it right up.

Fourth, these machines are very portable. They can easily be transported by truck or trailer and the set up time is very minimal. Typically they can be set up and in operation the first time within 30 to 45 minutes. When the customer becomes familiar with set up, that time usually decreases to 20 to 30 minutes.

As far as “truly one of a kind”, well… to the best of our knowledge we are the only manufacturer in the world producing a single engine, twin drive propulsion unit, and we have a patent pending on that design. Typically if you need two propeller drives, you’re going to be buying two complete machines and mounting them separately.
Our 275hp single engine, twin drive unit (the one on display at the show) produced 312 hp at the propellers! (157hp at each prop). That 157hp turned the props at an amazing 1345rpm’s under one hundred percent load in the water! This data is verifiable and was recorded under independent testing from an outside company.
The 275 Cat Thruster was certified at 5,800 ft. lbs of thrust under continuous load! We believe the amount of thrust we’re producing, combined with the durability and portability of the application, at the cost we’re producing them at really is “one of a kind”!

What new projects and/or products are in the works for HMS?

Currently, we’re designing a multiple unit order for an overseas client. These will be heavy duty 275hp units, allowing 12 & 1/2 feet of reach from the barge deck to centerline of the propellers and will be equipped with radio remote controls, hydraulic depth adjustment and positive locking collars fixed to the back of the barge for added drive stability at the lower depth.

We have a new unit in the design stage that will be powered with a 500hp engine and we’re looking for 10,000 ft. lbs of thrust! This machine will premiere at the 2009 International WorkBoat Show in New Orleans.

Thanks Todd. We look forward to seeing you guys again next year in New Orleans.

“Dixie Diver”

Remote control thruster Testing – 225 HP single engine remote controlled thruster with 24″ propellers goes up against twin engine, (671 Detroit Diesel engines) push boat with 30″ propellers, and holds its own!

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