Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Can a nekton drive?

Can you swim?
Are you insulted if I call you a "nekton"?
Well, I hope the answer is "yes" to the first question. And if you read on, then maybe the answer is "no" to the second.

Nekton refers to all the swimming organisms in a the ocean. These are able to move independently of currents of water, as opposed to plankton that just float along. So I hope that you and I both belong to that first category - I for sure can swim.

But what has this to do with driving? Well drive can be many things. In this context it refers to the apparatus that modulate electrical current to run ship propellers via electrical engines, so called variable frequency drives. A few years back I became aware that actually a large number of modern vessels use electricity to drive their propellers. This creates flexibility compared to running the propellers on the shafts of (e.g.) diesel engines, and more recently it interfaces nicely with rapidly developing energy storage technologies (like batteries).

Last week the company I work for launched a new low voltage variable speed drive for marine applications, like supply ships in the oil industry. And this new product is called "NektonDrive" (press release in Norwegian). This is a change from the typical names they operate with, like 800xA, ACS6000, PMS, and so on.

So why this sudden use of a name that can be pronounced? Well, as the product's project manager told me (my translation):

"It is a fantastic connection with what we are doing,
and many wonder how we found that name"

And what has this got to do with me, you may ask? Well, the name is the result of a naming competition. And who won? Well I did!

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