Franklin Motors Help a Submarine Maneuver 1,000 Meters Under the Sea
When scientists wanted to study the crater of a dormant underwater volcano, 530 meters deep in the ocean, they called in the LULA1000 – a one-of-a-kind submersible vessel designed to carry three people up to 1,000 meters deep. Powering this unique submarine are five Franklin Electric 4" encapsulated motors, which serve as the main drive for the LULA1000’s dives and maneuvers in all axes.
The LULA1000 is at the heart of the work done by Rebikoff-Niggeler Foundation (FRN), a non-for-profit organization for marine research based on the Island of Faial in the Azores/Portugal. FRN’s deep-sea mapping and research projects are utilized by scientists around the globe in an effort to learn more about the natural world.
Franklin Electric motors have been on board the LULA1000 since it was launched in 2009. During construction, the submarine’s designers approached Franklin Electric with a request for a high-quality and reliable motor system that could drive the submarine’s positioning propellers. This was no small task: the LULA1000 not only dives to great depths for many hours at a time, it must also serve as a stable work platform for scientists and meet very strict European requirements for safe maritime operation. Franklin Electric engineers got to work developing a solution: minimally modified Franklin Electric 4" submersible motors.
Engineering the Right Motors for the Job
The five submersible Franklin Electric motors used on the LULA1000 are three horsepower each and drive a variety of highly specialized operations. A large diameter propeller serves as the sub’s main propulsion unit and allows it to accelerate and stop quickly. Small, directly driven propellers are used for the lateral and vertical drive. To power these, Franklin engineers modified the electrical winding design on Franklin motors to match the submarine on-board voltage; the rest of the motors’ mechanical design remained almost unchanged. Like all Franklin standard deep well motors, these units were 100% factory tested before being delivered to the building shipyard.
After more than 180 successful dives, these motors are now being replaced as part of a larger submarine overhaul. Franklin is once again working with the vessel’s engineers to develop the best solutions to help power the LULA1000 through another decade of critical research exploring the world’s oceans.