So these Italian stabilizer fins have conquered boats around the world

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CMC Marine fin
A model from the Hig Speed range dedicated to planing boats

CMC Marine is an Italian company established almost two decades ago in Como, Italy, founded by Alessandro Cappiello, and in 2006 delivered the first fin stabilizer rig for the marine industry. Over the years, she has made a name for herself through her systems not only in Italy, but all over the world. Today the company’s headquarters have moved to Tuscany, to Cascina, Pisa, and about one-third of the fin stabilization systems you find on boats of all seas are CMC Marine branded.

Despite the market share gained over time and the turnover more than doubling in the past three years, the company’s investments have not stopped, quite the contrary. CMC announced at the end of last year a three-year plan that includes investments of 10 million euros. First of all, from a production point of view, with a new production site in the Salerno area; a10,000-square-meter area with three 800-square-meter warehouses, which will allow some of the production to be internalized. This is a crucial issue for a number of companies that in recent years, abetted by the Covid-19 pandemic and various changes on the international scene, have faced phases of difficulty due to dependence on suppliers. Investments, however, also concern the R&D area, with theMilan office (led by Pietro Cappiello, Alessandro’s son) and partnerships with several universities, including Naples and Pisa. Not the least of these is the strengthening of overseas offices in Fort Lauderdalein the United States and Poole, England.

CMC Marine’s big revolution was the adoption of the electric actuator instead of the hydraulic actuator. Inertia, power consumption, speed, and noise were limits that were now too great for hydraulic actuators, and in parallel the automation market was beginning to develop. The key was the planetary gearbox, which enabled the plant to achieve previously unthinkable handling speeds (as high as 70°-80° per second) and enabled the development of the electrically actuated stabilizer fin.

A detail of the mechanism that allows CMC Marine's fins to move at 70°-80° per second
A detail of the mechanism that allows CMC Marine’s fins to move at 70°-80° per second

In 2008 CMC Marine presented Stabilis Electra, the first fin with electric actuation, at the Genoa Boat Show, and in 2009 the first delivery to Sanlorenzo Shipyard took place. Another milestone came in 2011, when Stabilis Electra won the Dame Award, a prestigious honor given during the world’s largest event dedicated to marine accessories, the Mets in Amsterdam.

A few years after its founding, initially marketing hydraulic systems, CMC Marine boldly decided to launch first on electrically actuated fins. Thanks to the understanding of shipowners and shipyards, CMC’s electrically actuated fins immediately began to spread, and today we see these systems aboard many vessels, with more than 2,500 installations completed.

Processing in the Cascina (PI) plant
Processing at the CMC Marine plant in Cascina (PI)

CMC Marine’s product is constantly evolving. For on the one hand, the hulls, hulls, and sizes of boats are always changing, and on the other hand, the products and technologies of CMC’s suppliers (among whom is Mitsubishi) change. So the ongoing challenge is to design the most efficient fin, working on finding new profiles, integrating different mechanisms and implants, and improving the software. For example, with the new Argo software, CMC Marine fins can communicate with wheelhouses and bow thrusters (both CMC brand and other brands) to work in synergy and achieve maximum efficiency. Thanks to integration, it is also possible to set an “energy-saving” mode to optimize the consumption required by different appliances in the system, to limit power consumption under certain conditions where there is a need.

Gyroscope and fins: can it be done?

The two stabilization systems do not conflict, because the passive system (gyroscope) and the active system (the fins) can work in synergy both at anchor and at sea. By combining the two systems I can improve, in some situations such as cross seas and “traffic” in the roadstead, stabilization performance.

This is still a reduction in boat movements (as measured by CMC) of 10 percent more than with the fin system alone, an almost unnoticeable proportion on board. In addition, there is a point to be made that installing a gyroscope can be invasive and results in a considerable increase in boat weight in any case. CMC Marine recently partnered with Italian company Gyro Marine to market gyro stabilization systems and study their integration with fin systems.

The CMC Marine range of stabilizer fins.

A model from the Long Range for semi-displacement boats
A model from the Long Range for semi-displacement boats

Part of the Stabilis Electra range are the HS (High Speed) and LR (Long Range) models. The first is the segment dedicated to planing boats, with speeds above 24 knots, while the second is designed for displacement or semi-displacement boats. Then there is the Waveless line, designed for medium-length boats from 12 to 35 meters in length, and soon to arrive is the Stabilis 5.0 system, which, thanks to the new algorithm, will further improve the performance of the stabilization system.

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