Steering Gear System | Electropneumatic S.A.

General Information


The Steering Gear is a high-performance system that utilizes the latest achievements in marine control technology. This system is capable of controlling twin rudder vessels from one or more control stations.

Available Features
Flexible control from Center, Port, or STBD stations on the Bridge.
The available features of the system are as follows:
• Auto Pilot
• Combination in Rudder Control (Follow-Up Mode)
• Setup and Calibration of Tillers (Non-Follow-Up Mode)
The system setup and calibration can be managed through on-site service and/or software parameters, which are password protected.

System Components

The PLC oversees all input information, such as voltage and oil levels, while simultaneously controlling the output signal for the rudder actuator. The rudder positions are maintained with equal angles divided between the Port and STBD directions.

All components are enclosed within the Starter Box to prevent dust and moisture ingress. Please note that these units are not waterproof and should not be submerged in liquid or exposed to washing. Avoid welding, beating, smashing, or dropping the units.
All connections to the PLC are made through hardwired connections using pluggable connectors on the PLC board. Refer to the electrical drawing for more details.

The system can be commanded from the Central Wheel, the Port, or the STBD Tiller Station.
The PLC controls the rudders using electromechanical actuators (solenoid valves), which in turn are handled by a Pulse control signal (Solid State Relays).
Throughout operation, the PLC continuously monitors critical system values and functions. If any parameter exceeds its specified limits, the system triggers an alarm. These limits are set as Set Points and are password-protected.

Operation of Control Station


There are three stations available on the bridge to control the Steering Gear.
• The Central Station is equipped with a wheel and two tillers.
• The Port Station features three tillers: one central for common control and the other two for separate control of the Port and STBD rudders, respectively.
• The STBD Station offers the same setup.
The wheel operates in Follow Up Combination mode, controlling both rudders simultaneously with a common command.
The central analog tillers of the side stations also operate in Follow Up Combination mode, providing a common command to both rudders simultaneously.
Non Follow Up mode can be selected using the NFU Switch. In Non Follow Up mode, the side digital tillers at each station have the ability to independently control each rudder electrically, without interference from the PLC.

Operation Mode :
The system’s operation mode is selected using the Operation Switch, which has the following positions:
a) Center Combination
b) Center Tiller
c) Port Combination
d) Port Tiller
e) STBD Combination
f) STBD Tiller
There are three HMIs: one on the Central Station and one each on the Port and STBD stations. The HMI displays the rudder angle, wheel position, Alarm History, and all alarm functions. System operation can be initiated and monitored using the HMI.

The system includes an Alarm History feature that records all alarms, both active and inactive. Each alarm is time-stamped and accompanied by detailed comments. Active and acknowledged alarms are easily distinguishable due to different colors.
The system will issue alarms for critical failures such as Main Power, Backup Power, motor overload, low voltage, or low oil level. Authorized technical personnel can also calibrate the -10V to +10V DC control signals via the password-protected HMI service page.

The Non Follow Up Operation procedure also serves as an emergency operation. In the event of a PLC loss or failure, the rudders should be operated in Non Follow Up mode. The side digital tillers are electrically connected to the actuators and can operate independently of the PLC. In the event of a power failure, the rudders will remain in their last ordered position.

Electical Power

Power requirements for the Electropneumatic Electronic Control System are as follows:
• 220 V AC power supply: 10A
• 24 V DC supply from the emergency Power Switch
Two power sources must be provided: a primary source and a secondary one. Switching between the main power supply and the emergency supply is automatic, and both are connected in parallel via bridges.