Marine Propeller Shaft Power Meter
Microcontroller Technology Reduces Cost and Improves Performance
Technologies used


Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    28 General Mechanical Engineering
    29 General Purpose Machinery
    31 Electrical Equipment for Engines & Ships
    332 Instruments and Appliances for Measuring, Checking, Testing
    35 Building and Repairing of Ships

Sea Technik Ltd is an independent UK based company specialising in the design, manufacture, installation and support of bespoke measurement, instrumentation and control systems for installation into ships. Sea Technik Ltd markets its products world-wide, and these markets include Europe, the USA, and increasingly Japan and Korea. The company's customers are ship builders and major shipping fleet operators. The company employs 11 employees and has sales of 0.6 M Euro.

The company's products include a precision ship's draft monitoring system, ship trim meter, a ship fuel optimiser and the Shaft Power Meter equipment

. The Shaft Power Meter product is installed on ships' propeller shafts to allow the output propeller power to be monitored as part of the overall ship's fuel usage optimisation control system. The Shaft Power Meter is a high value system incorporated into 40% of medium to large sized ships during construction. The current product uses a PC and 'bought in' data acquisition system components to perform this function.

Sales of Shaft Power Meter equipment is reliant upon cost competitiveness as the majority of sales are to ship builders operating on fixed price build contracts. The objective of the application experiment was to significantly improve the cost competitiveness of the company's product, and to introduce features that reduced the set up, calibration and maintenance time and costs incurred by Sea Technik in these sales. The introduction of microcontroller component technology was undertaken so as to realise reduce the complexity of the overall system design and simplify the precision mechanical assembly of parts of the system, leading to reduced cost and time required for the manufacturing process. In addition simplified setting up and calibration processes to reduce commissioning costs, and improved diagnostic facilities to reduce maintenance costs were delivered.

The improved functionality of the improved Shaft Power Meter product includes.

  • Replacing the PC and 'bought in' data acquisition system components
  • Simplifying the product's calibration and set-up procedures.
  • Providing self checking and diagnostic facilities.
  • educing the circuit board size and therefore, achieving significant cost reductions in mounting cost.
  • Improving product reliability by the incorporation of additional measurement
  • redundancy.
  • Improving the flexibility of the product thereby allowing the company to tailor the Shaft Power Meter system to meet specific customer requirements, and thus improving the product's sales potential.

The application experiment was completed on schedule in the planned duration of 10 months.

Through the utilisation of embedded micro-controller technology, substantial benefits have been realised through a simplified design, reduced costs, improved reliability and improved system performance. These benefits will enable Sea Technik Ltd to extend market penetration, building on a solid reputation in the Power Measurement market. In addition, the company has developed improved knowledge and capabilities in implementing micro-controller technologies, and the potential to use the technology to develop a wider range of products targeted at their market sector with the consequential improvement in sales and employment prospects for the company.

The total cost of development to the prototype stage was 48 K Euro. The industrialisation costs were an additional 15K Euro. Based on projected sales improvements the payback period for the prototype development will be 13 months. The Return On Investment (ROI) for the improved product is estimated to be 410% over the product's 4-year lifecycle.

The company's experiences in utilising the flexibility of micro-controller devices to complete the project on schedule will be of particular interest to those companies who trade in similar market places, and will include ship yards, ship operators, marine research establishments and associated equipment manufacturers. The targeted industrial sectors include general mechanical engineering (Prodcom Code 2852), general purpose machinery (Prodcom Code 2924), building and repairing of ships (Prodcom Code 3511), and electrical equipment for engines and ships (Prodcom Code 3161).



    Sea Technik Ltd
    15 Glynne Way
    CH5 3NS
    United Kingdom

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

Microcontroller technology provided Sea Technik Ltd. with the means of improving its products and enhancing its market position. You can also achieve significant benefits by acquiring the right microelectronics technology and utilising it in your product or manufacturing process. You can get help from FUSE to realise this.

FUSE is a technology transfer programme, funded by the European Commission to stimulate the wider use of microelectronics technologies by European enterprises to increase their competitiveness and enhance their economic growth. The demonstrator described here is one of many examples in the public FUSE portfolio covering the whole spectrum of microelectronics technologies and spanning a wide range of applications and industry sectors.

FUSE provides you with:

  • Best practice in acquiring specific microelectronics technologies and conducting full development projects through the FUSE portfolio of real life demonstrator documents.
  • Local training and expert support to plan your innovation realistically and help you conduct your project successfully.

Further information and support relating to this and other demonstrators can be obtained from the addresses below.

Further information   Guiding Technology Transfer Node
For further information and support regarding this case study, please contact a Technology Transfer Node (TTN) in your region.
Homepage: http://www.fuse-network.com
Univercity of Glamorgan
Mid Glamorgan
Pontypridd CF37 1DL
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