Giving super yachts a smooth ride: AAMC Interview with Mark Miocevich

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The world’s highest earners may not know it, but when they spend over $5,000 an hour for the privilege of using Sydney Harbour-based super yacht Tango they can thank local advanced manufacturer VEEM Ltd. for their smooth ride.

Tango, which has hosted such names as Richard Branson, celebrities Katy Perry, Brad Pitt and Justin Bieber, as well as the King of Norway, the CEO of Chanel and the manager of Manchester United, Jose Mourinho, is among the first clients to receive one of ASX-listed VEEM’s game changing gyrostabilisers, designed for the large boat market.

These patented stabilisers significantly reduce “roll” during sail, increasing safety, reducing seasickness and generally making the journey much smoother and more pleasant.

“The super yachts, the workboats, ferries, patrol boats – from 100 tons to 3,000 tons — that market is massive and upwards of a $1billion-a-year market for us,” Managing Director Mark Miocevich says.

“Our first sales have been in the super yacht area. They are early adopters and having a new technology that performs better is something that they are very likely to move toward.”

VEEM, founded in 1968, has already had long success revolutionising the manufacture of propellers with the use of advanced manufacturing techniques to make them faster, smoother, quieter and easier to maintain and replace.  The firm earns around half its turnover from exports, and also boasts significant defence work, with the Australian Submarine Corporation awarding VEEM the first of a new generation of partnering contracts for the Collins Class Submarine in 2014.

VEEM manufactures its sophisticated castings in Australia to best manage the complexity.

The firm, which listed on the ASX in October, uses patented, robotic processes to make casting moulds, enabling VEEM to manufacture any shape of propeller simply by selecting the program and eliminating the need for traditional wood patterns for propeller castings — a major cost saving and innovation.

“We have the most advanced propeller manufacturing facilities in the world. It is absolute state-of-the-art,” Mr Miocevich says, adding that VEEM also fully machines every millimetre of the propeller surface using computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines.

“We have a factory full of them and they run 24 hours a day, lights off. So they are automatically run by a laser-operated robot forklift, which loads and unloads the machines by itself,” Mr Miocevich explains.

Being located in in Canning Vale, around 20 kilometres from Perth, is a benefit rather than a hindrance, he says, maintaining a lot of IP protection simply by being remote.

“Remoteness to market is actually quite valuable. Being based in Perth, Western Australia, being so far from anywhere, we tend to not have the cross-pollination of techniques to other companies. For example, in England there are three propeller manufacturers and their employees move from company to company, so any new technique they develop is lost very quickly.”

Modern transport also means long distances are not a huge percentage of the cost of the product in the way they used to be.

“This model of using high-technology, good IP protection, creating global market niche products is what Australia needs to look for to be successful in manufacturing. Australian manufacturing has to come back in a different form to what it was before and we believe the model that we have got represents that new thinking,” Mr Miocevich says. “I am optimistic if you have the right model.”

“That is where the cleverness is and that IP needs to be protected. So the critical components we manufacture and assemble here and then export from here. That seems to be the model that most people are using globally nowadays.”

The newly-released gyrostabilisers have been sold to vessel owners in New Zealand, the US, and The Netherlands, and there is interest from defence contractors to improve the operational performance of a patrol boat for activities such as launch and recovery of vessels, accuracy of weapons and safety and comfort of crew.

There is also potential around high-speed crew transfer vessels which may replace helicopters in ferrying crew from oil platforms to oil rigs.

“We are seeing interest from a number of sectors and the ramifications are very large. You still have the old ‘pitch and heave,’ so front and back you get movement, and up and down with the swell, but none of this rapid side-to-side roll that boats experience,” says Mr Miocevich.

“If the vessel is rolling significantly it is very unstable for human beings to walk around, and as you are loading it swings violently. We can also significantly reduce seasickness so that when people are working they are more efficient and more productive.”

VEEM looked around the world and developed a global supply chain very similar to some of the major players in the marine sector, such as Rolls-Royce Marine, modelling itself on the best and brightest in the industry.

Mr Miocevich says Australians are natural innovators who punch above their weight in the list of global inventions – everything from the electric drill to the black box recorder to Cochlear – perhaps because of our historical isolation.

“Getting things from overseas was difficult and time-consuming, so we’ve always had the philosophy [in Australia] that if we were repairing something and we couldn’t buy the part, we’d just make it. Many, many great Australian companies are exactly like that,” Mr Miocevich says

Mr Miocevich also says the government’s defence initiative was a “masterstroke” for local manufacturing, because unlike the auto industry many of the contractors are Australian-owned companies.

“What we are doing now is developing a whole raft of SMEs and larger companies that are Australian companies – and that is developing a wide range of skills and businesses in this country which I think provides a much stronger future, and you can export a lot more because of it,” he says.

Article from Australian Advanced Manufacturing Council –

VEEM Gyro records fantastic sea trials onboard Motor Yacht Anemeli at her launch on the 20th of May.

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The 27m motor yacht, MY Anemeli was launched last week by Wim Van Der Valk Continental Yachts and impressive Gyro Stabilization sea trials were carried out the following weekend. All on board were very impressed by the level of rolling motion reduction achieved and the ease of use.

On the 20th of May, the trials captured an average 60% roll reduction (87% maximum roll reduction) with 0.7m (2’3″) wave height followed by an average roll reduction of 82% (92% maximum roll reduction)  in 0.4m (1’4″) waves on the 21st of May.

More amazing sea trial results for the VG120

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Another VEEM Gyro 120 sea trial was captured recently off the coast of Fremantle in Western Australia on a Viking Open Convertible Sport Fisher.

The prevailing 25 to 30 knot winds and solid 2.25m wave height conditions were no trouble for the VEEM Gyro. The VG120 achieved a 49% roll reduction at 0 knots, a 51% roll reduction at trolling speed, and a 45% roll reduction at 20 knots. The trial clearly demonstrated that the VEEM Gyro performs equally well at high speed as it does at rest.

See the footage for yourself below.


VEEM Gyro260

First assembly of VG260 commences

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The first assembly of a VG260 has commenced this month at VEEM with the first steps of the build underway already.

The first part of the build process includes the sub-assemblies such as the flywheel, spin motor, and vacuum chamber insert, which have to be completed in preparation for starting the vacuum chamber assembly.

A VG260 is a significantly larger unit in every aspect in comparison to the VG120, and will weigh approximately 5.4 tonnes when fully assembled. The first VG260 unit will be built to allow for some modification to occur during the prototype shakedown phase. Once this is complete, the unit will be disassembled, painted and reassembled in preparation for sale.

The production of VG120 units continues to accelerate as the VEEM assembly teams improve their efficiency levels. Two (2) VG120 units are currently in their finishing stages and an additional two (2) VG120 units have begun being assembled.

VEEM increases CNC machining capability to enable manufacture of propellers up to 4.5m in diameter

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By the middle of the year, VEEM’s arsenal of high technology machinery will have the capability to machine items up to 4.5mtr in diameter x 1.9mtr turning capacity envelope, and a 7m long x 3.6m wide x 1.9m high milling envelope.

The 6-axis CNC machine, which is currently being installed at VEEM, measures 20m long, 10m wide and 6.7m high, and weighs just over 86 tonnes!

High accuracy 6-axis CNC machining was not previously possible on propellers larger than 2.2m at VEEM, but in the next few months everything from larger VEEM Propellers to VEEM Gyro components to precise engineering work will be undertaken on the new machine, and the capacity to do larger and more varied work will also dramatically increase.

“We will see a large improvement in efficiency on the projects we already complete, hopefully by up to 30%, and because of this our overall production output can dramatically increase,” says Commercial Manager, Mike Coyle.

The installation of the CNC machine began this month with over 140m3 of concrete and 10 tonnes of steel reinforcing installed in the footing pit; a mean feat but necessary to allow the machine to remain rigid when performing work. With the bridge and columns also installed this month, the finer details like cabling and covers will be completed next and the machine will be in action very soon.

127m Sportsfisher

VEEM delivers two VG120’s to 127 foot New Zealand Sportfisher

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Yachting Developments in New Zealand is busy completing a 127 foot Michael Peters designed Sportfisher that is expected to break records for the largest Sportfisher boat ever built.

The boat will feature 2 VG120’s and is expected to be delivered in 2017 to a very experienced owner who was after advanced stabilisation and comfort onboard for family and guests.

The designer, Michael Peters, discussed the VG120 quoting, “you don’t save weight to make a lighter boat – you save weight to add in all the stuff the guy wants to put in the boat. This is a trend we’ve seen in all boats. I don’t care if it’s 40 feet or 400 feet a lot of things are no longer options. People with 40 foot boats want a gyrostabiliser now…”

VEEM are also completing a complete shaft-line and propeller package for this project which guarantees even smoother operation, lower noise levels and higher speeds.

VEEM Gyro reduces roll reduction on MY Tango by 61%

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Sea Trial results for the VG120 gyro installation on Motor Yacht Tango proved successful with roll reduction reduced by 61% achieved during typical operating conditions for the Yacht.

MY Tango was built in 2006 by Oceanfast Yachts in Western Australia and regularly cruises Sydney Harbor with a large number of guests. It is currently fitted with traditional Naiad fins which don’t currently provide any stabilisation when the yacht is anchored or not moving – an issue for the yacht owners and captain because of the frequent passing in the harbour of different types of ferries.

VEEM Gyro was given the task of improving the comfort of the yacht at anchor in various locations as well as in different wave conditions. The mix of ferries on the harbor spans from heavy displacement monohulls right through to high-speed catamarans, and since each has a unique wake, the rolling motion was particularly problematic for MY Tango.

After commissioning and sea trials in Sydney Harbour, the yacht went smoothly into service the next day. Reports from the yacht indicate that several specific improvements in the yacht were noted. These included a more stable swim platform, making guest transfer from the tender faster and more comfortable, reduced sloshing in the fore deck pool as well as general reduction in rolling motions making the on board experience more comfortable.

The yacht is now able to widen its operational area due to improved comfort in waves. Watch the video below for more information about this sea trial.