Aerospace, Defence & Marine... 

Fugro - Engine Control


Providing world-class, competitive deep-sea drilling accuracy needs reliable, resilient actuators suitable for specialist marine applications to hold ships in position when mapping or over a drill site, often in demanding sea conditions.


Fugro, a 1.5 Billion Euro company with 0ver 10,000 employees in 65 countries, provides geotechnical, survey, subsea, and geoscience services for clients, typically oil and gas, telecommunications cable, and infrastructure companies.

The Challenge

The MV Fugro Adventurer is a 70metre dedicated DP2 geotechnical survey and drilling vessel based from Abu Dhabi. Built in 2002 and bought by Fugro in 2014 it needs the highest performance and reliability possible where a day out of action can turn into days and cost around $50k a day in lost revenue.

The Adventurer with its crew of 54 has two main caterpillar 1MW engines, port and starboard. The engines control two azimuth thrusters which can rotate through 360 degrees underneath the ship. In addition to the two primary engines, they have two barrel thrusters rated at 350KW each and two stern thrusters.

The Adventurer was already fitted with two Exlar GSX Electric Actuators and 24Vdc Exlar SV servo positioning actuator drives (with UPS battery backup) during a re-fit in 2008 to control the engine throttle linkage and interface to the main engine control system. The actuators are rated to 250Kg and move at up to 50mm a second running at the unusual 24 volts (battery backed up). They control the throttles on the engines and therefore the speed and thrust for the ship.

When Fugro acquired the Adventurer it added a DP2 (Dynamic Positioning) System which holds the ship to within 70cm of its target position (at a sea state Force 4-5) when surveying or drilling and when using the launch and recovery system (LARS) and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) – the FCV 600.

Fugro had been trying to source a solution for a reliable engine speed and throttle control to match the DP2 and since the Exlar GSX actuators had been already been operating for 10 years without any issues or maintenance, Olsen Actuation was called to provide advice and installation of new replacement servo drive electronics, provide full testing and the supply of new drop-in replacement actuators and cables, so that original units could be serviced and kept as spare parts. When the cost of a ship down due to a throttle issue is so serious it’s important to be covered in any eventuality.

The Solution

The Adventurer’s Port Superintendent asked Olsen Actuation to visit when the ship was next in port, assess the condition of the existing system, supply spares and get a software programme copy out of the old drives.

On changing the drives, the drive on the port side was so old there was no way to get the programme out. This was reprogrammed manually based on the starboard settings but reset to account for the different directions to minimise vibrations. This was retested and signed off.


Fugro were delighted as all work was completed over a weekend in the fine window of when the ship was in port at Abu Dhabi.

Now the spare drive can be put in easily. Two spare actuators, in addition to the two spare drives were ordered. More importantly, the software programme, a record and a copy is available and ship personnel understand how to use the system, and the spare drives are labelled and programmed up. A failure can be fixed within 30 minutes and multi-million pound contracts are not jeopardised.

Olsen Actuation is an approved supplier with Fugro and available to support Fugro world-wide. This may include, in the future, supply and maintenance for Fugro’s sub-sea actuators in their ROVs.

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