Precision Custom Equipment for
Large Ship Propeller Repair:

Over the years Kinetic Research, Inc. has been involved with the design and fabrication of numerous pieces of specialized equipment, mostly in the field of propeller repair, which feature clever problem solving, complete CAD solid model design, intricate 3D surface machining, and many instances of system/sub-system specification and systems integration. We have analyzed and specified systems involving hydraulics, pneumatics, electric motors, linear and rolling element bearings and actuators, electronic controls including PLC's and PC Windows style custom applications, springs, gas springs, and counter force/counter balance systems, clutches and power transmission components of all kinds, and many other systems.

Please contact us to discuss your needs for specialized machinery and equipment, automation, etc. 

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Designed and built expressly for Wartsila Defense, Inc., the premier player in mission critical U.S. Navy submarine and surface propeller refit and repair, this 24 foot diameter capacity pitchometer has been in continuous use in their Poulsbo, WA shop for 25 years. Designed to surpass the performance of any previous pitchometer, the Wartsila Defense Poulsbo pitchometer features high accuracy, extremely light weight, digital coordinate readout, and a computer controlled data acquisition and calculation subsystem.

Integrated sub-systems:

Linear motion axes R and Z: Dual-vee tracks and rollers, dust wipes.
Rotary axis Theta: Sealed large diameter radial ball bearings.
Data Acquisition and analysis: Optical encoder position acquisition, .001 inch resolution, digital readout modules.

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The Wartsila Defense, Inc., Poulsbo 24 foot pitchometer, deployed on a U.S. Navy 24 foot diameter, 30 ton surface ship propeller.

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A precision small pitchometer, designed and fabricated for Wartsila Defense, Inc., features a 4 foot diameter measuring envelope. Recently fitted with digital readout on all axes.

Integrated sub-systems:

Linear axes: Thomson linear ball bearings with preload adjustment and anti-rotation feature on Z axis. Mitutoyo linear digital readouts with custom designed mounting system featuring a backlash free spring wire suspension which allows the readout head to float in 5 degrees of freedom (to allow for minor misalignments) while completely restraining the 6th degree of freedom.
Rotary axis: Single large diameter gothic arch preloaded ball bearing with seals. Avago optical encoder position acquisition with US Digital interface/readout, custom mounting, backlash free spring preloaded, and encoder completely enclosed and sealed, armored cable connection.

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Large propeller vertical axis balance machine, designed and built expressly for Wartsila Defense, Inc. Used to rotationally balance mission critical U.S. Naval submarine and surface ship propellers to extremely tight tolerances. This high performance balancer was designed to handle a 75 ton propeller, yet is light enough to be transported in a standard pickup truck.

Integrated sub-systems:

Drive motor: MDrive 34 smart motor programmed for precise accel/dwell/decel balance cycle with error feedback to PC application.
Data acquisition and analysis: USB based Personal DAQ for data acquisition, PC application "Balance 2.0" programmed in-house, acquires and filters data using least squares fit to sine curve to yield extreme precision even with data sets characterized by high noise levels. GUI interface provides ready accessibility to shop personal.

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Mega-Tap Driver, large tap driver, used to drive finish taps up to 5 inches diameter in nickel-aluminum-bronze propellers. 5000 ft-lb capacity. Features a floating carriage to avoid side loading the tap. All machined components designed, manufactured, and assembled in-house.

Integrated sub-systems:

Mechanical: Thomson linear bearing used to implement 3 degree of freedom Cartesian axes. Gas spring Z axis weight counterbalances.
Drive:
3-phase electric motor with overload clutch, proximity sensor for position and overload sensing. RR 4 stage planetary reducer, custom engineered tap adaptor/driver.
Control: Tri-Logi Nano-10 board level PLC integrated into custom fabricated control box, circuit breaker, backlit LCD readout, reversible solid state motor control relay, programmed in-house for multiple manual and automated tapping cycles. PLC senses motor position via proximity sensor, and provides position control for automated tapping cycles, prevents tap bottoming, and trips out the motor in the event of an overload condition.

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CAD design solid model screen shots.

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MAF Mill, custom milling machine, developed to modify large US Navy submarine propellers. This series of props needed a specific hydrodynamic modification to fulfill Navy performance criteria. Rather than attempt to commission or contract a huge gantry mill or other large equipment, the MAF mill attaches and rolls along actual existing propeller geometric features. We developed a complete machining sequence to accomplish the required modification.

Integrated sub-systems:

Mechanical: Non-planer rolling element bearings used to guide mill along propeller geometry. Milling head features custom designed and fabricated vee ways with lead screw for depth of cut adjustment. The way system is pre-loaded using a Belleville washer and linear needle bearing system which completely eliminates backlash and provides the rigidity required for proper milling.
Drive:
3-phase electric motor drives Dunham Tool spindle. Variable speed gearmotors provide feedrate drive.
Pneumatics: Pneumatic pressure regulated pre-load locks and tensions rollers to propeller geometry for proper rigid backlash free milling.

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Weld Prep Mill, custom milling machine, developed to modify large US Navy submarine propellers. Weld repair procedures required a weld prep geometry which had been previously laboriously hand ground with accuracy problems inherent to that process. The weld prep mill was designed to roll along the light orange rail with an adjustable feedrate, and uses an electric motor driven spindle to drive a small end mill, which cuts the required weld prep geometry quickly and with a degree of accuracy previously unavailable. In the CAD screenshots shown above, the large orange baseplate represents the weld prep geometry. The spindle houses a 3 phase, .25 hp motor, and special spindle bearings are incorporated for milling rigidity. The feedrate motor (pink, left side image 2) drives all four highly pre-loaded rollers through a geartrain contained (and sealed from chips) in the blue mill base.

Integrated sub-systems:

Mechanical: Dual vee drive rollers. Milling head features custom designed and fabricated dovetail ways with lead screws for both axial and vertical depth of cut adjustments. The way systems use adjustable gibs which completely eliminates backlash and provides the rigidity required for proper milling. In addition, a static tilt adjustment is incorporated to control the verticality of the end mill. Guide rails are NOT straight, but have a complex curvature and twist which was carefully synthesized in the CAD system, and CNC machined from plate stock in 24 inch lengths on the vertical machining center.
Drive:
3-phase electric motor/integral spindle. Variable speed gearmotor provides feedrate drive.