Maintenance & spare parts

 


MACP notes.

We took over two years to make MACP agile and reliable, and we are now satisfied with the overall performance.
The peak of performances (speed, range etc) obviously depend on the engine power, the size of the cushion, the weight of the hovercraft and other factors that build a fence of performances from which you can hardly get out.
We mainly focused on ease of driving, overall reliability, general user friendliness and operating economy. An unbreakable hull, a special driving system and many small aspects will be appreciated by the user.
In addition, with a thought to those who must use the vehicle in inaccessible areas, where maintenance is done on the field and without any comfort, we have oversimplified whatever concerns practical aspects and now everything is simple for its nature.
MACP is now ready undergo hard work and solve problems on the ground. Its versatility is exceptional: it is fully amphibious, fast, and behaves like a floating and unsinkable pontoon. Its dimensions are optimized for road transport, on a road trailer or in a container. Breadth of 2.50 cm is also suitable to penetrate into vegetation or through obstacles in tight spots.
The guide is really intuitive, one handlebar with 2 degrees of freedom allows to adjust the direction, trim and permits to stop and reverse thrust. The development of this command, without electric or hydraulic aids, was a real challenge.

Important notes on maintenance and spare parts:

We understand that the first question asked by an interested buyer is:

and the assistance? How much does the use cost ? Who does the maintenance?

And to these questions need a clear response.

MACP is designed to minimize to the maximum the need for outside assistance, both for the technique of construction that for the training provided when the vehicle is sold.
The crew must be capable of being autonomous in the maintenance and repair.
This because MACP is especially designed to be used in heavy-duty areas, by definition without facilities such as ports, airports and others. Otherwise there would be no need for such an extreme vehicle.

So MACP will be easily used in muddy or dusty, salt water spray, remote areas and left at the mercy of the elements. A use near the shore or the coast inevitably involves damages to the hull or shocks and destruction of skirts for entanglement etc. During operations there’s no time for finding a smooth space or a beach for a safe parking and the norm is to park on sharp stones or ice, are these visibile, or just below muddy water.

If you have only one hovercraft, each mission must take account of the possible difficulties in the recovery of a failed vehicle, in places accessible only to another hovercraft or an helicopter.

It is difficult to be recovered like in a highway, so the crew must be able to go home, anyway. Thus the ease of repair becomes essential.

Maintenance and repairs done in a clean and equipped workshop becomes a mirage when you are with your feet in the mud, bitten by mosquitoes, under the blazing sun and with a ton of inert craft. At that time any particular part that has to be repaired requiring a special tool, any precise parts and any hard to find spare parts taking two months to be delivered, can make life difficult, and does not contribute to the popularity of the designer.

How did we solve it?
First of all we used an accurate air filtration system, and the protection of electrical and electronic contacts. In addition to these sensibile aspects we have spent over two years of field work, repairing, assembling and disassembling the prototypes in poor areas with limited equipments which showed us the real difficulties that has to face a team during a mission.
This has led to the refinement of the “Occam Razor concept”: the maximum conceptual and practical simplification, which involves few pieces but of excellent quality and maintenance-free components. All the core or the support of the propellers that includes reduction, damping and starter is the best example of this concept. A single-axle transmission, fluid couplings plus three Carbon fiber drive belts.
·the choice has been not to use hydraulic or electrical actuators, servo controls or other parts susceptible to faults.
Carryover: massive use of components coming from industrial market or readily available in the marine/automotive market. This has required a particular redesign, having to be adapted to parts that had a certain degree of discrepancy from the ideal of the project.

In practice, moreover:
· simplification of the daily maintenance and use of a hull insensitive to shocks.
The SoftHull technology makes the hull unbreakable.
SoftHull essentially consists in a sandwich of a special elastic foam with an outer skin hardly tearable. Floating is ensured by the foam, and not by the buoyancy of an intact hull. So the system does not need to be intact, indeed it has drainage holes in the substrate and the water comes in and out easily without stagnation. Although badly damaged, the floating is guaranteed.
The hull is studied to absorb shocks and adapt to uneven surfaces and to resist to punctual loads; moreover a peripheral bumper protects the skirts, and thus lateral shocks are absorbed by a compressible zone.
The skirts can be changed easily and the most exposed parts are protected both by the bumper and in the lower tie connections.
· Use of a limited set of tools in the assembly, installation and in the fitting, and in particular only those tools which can be transported in the MACP.
· the weights of each single set/equipment are liftable by hand by two people, or with the help of a little winch (eg. engine)
· pilot training involving compulsory in-depth knowledge of technical maintenance and repair, and the “Go Home”

Engine: it is not provided that during operations the engine is heavily loaded. Last generation of diesel engines are very lights and powerful (200 hp x 170 kg) and their peculiarity is a high reliability, but this involves the use of electronic controls, sensors etc. A diagnostic tool is supplied as standard to identify the causes of the less probable abnormalities.
The engine is mechanically identical to the standard version, with parts available in the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles /IVECO network worldwide. Any modification from the standard version is external, namely the setting of the control unit (ECU), and the system of cooling and intercooling. All can be easily managed by a mechanical atelier.

Note: The EU rules expressly require diesel engines in professional boats and this required a challenging engineering activity and different ad hoc solutions. The high performance of the latest generation of diesel require turbines, intercoolers, and sophisticated sensors, which must be adapted to the application. You can still install petrol engines, with same outputs and dimensions.

MACP designer’s staff