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Centa Transmissions has provided a long shaft solution to Caledonian MacBrayne for use on the Bute ferry.

The Centadisc-C coupling and composite/carbon-fibre shaft spans distances of 10m and more without the need for intermediate bearing support.

On Bute, where the single span of more than 5m between bulkheads cannot be achieved with steel shafting, Centa used a carbon-fibre shaft to extend from one bulkhead to the other.

This means that there is no need for any pedestal bearings and the result is described as a lower-cost, higher-quality solution that eliminates a great deal of supporting steelwork.

Compatible with drives of all sizes, the benefits of carbon-fibre shafts include high strength, the ability to span long distances without intermediate support and a light weight.

The Bute solution features the carbon-fibre shaft coupled with Centa’s versatile Centalink couplings.

This combination provides strength across the span and flexibility through the couplings situated at both ends of the shaft.

The resulting flexibility facilitated by the couplings also overcomes large degrees of misalignment.

A Centa spokesperson said: ‘The biggest problem in any shaft line is the pedestal bearings as they require a lot of maintenance and are expensive and time consuming to replace.

‘It is therefore easier and far more cost efficient to eliminate them completely by specifying a very strong, high-performance carbon-fibre shaft,’ added the spokesperson.

Carbon-fibre shafts can run at higher speeds, are low in weight, require minimal maintenance and provide a torsionally stiff, corrosion-resistant and sound-absorbing solution to transmission vibration and noise.

They can also bridge ever-longer spans without the need for support along the length and are designed to compensate for axial, radial and angular misalignment.

Weight saving has been the foremost reason that short versions of the composite shaft are now in service in civil and military RIB vessels, where lower weight means higher speed and where minimal maintenance and high reliability are mandatory.

Other Centa products include steel shafts and the Centax-SEC and Centax-L series marine couplings, which, with unlimited torque capability, are operating in boats and ships of various types and size around the world.

Centa Transmissions

Founded in 1979, Centa Transmissions, is a specialist in the design, specification and manufacture of mechanical power transmissions for all types of industrial, plant and marine applications. Part of international group Centa Antriebe Kirschey, Centa supplies flexible couplings, gears, gearboxes, brakes and bespoke engineered drives to any specification and for any application.

Today, Centa is at the forefront of drive technology, having solved countless drive problems for international and UK manufacturing businesses. Centa’s reputation is built on the ability to solve problems, often specifying a combination of products that, as well as couplings, include precision gears, gearboxes, electromagnetic clutches and speed reducers. Centa has also developed their highly successful carbon fibre composite shafts for ships and boats and these are capable of covering spans of 10 metres without support.

Centa is also heavily involved in the renewable energy sector, working with research associations and specialist manufacturers to create mechanical transmission drives for systems in wind, wave, tidal and solar energy. With long-time involvement in the power generation sector, Centa is ideally placed to ensure that these environmentally friendly systems benefit from reliable and trouble-free drives, often submerged or in hard to reach locations that demand robust, totally sealed, maintenance-free operation.

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