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Northern Lights Welcomes Jim Kelly to Gulf Sales Team

Jim Kelly has joined the Northern Lights sales team in the role of Area Sales Manager. Jim will be based out of the Northern Lights Gulf Branch with a territory including the Western Gulf of Mexico and Inland Waterways.

Prior to joining Northern Lights Jim was a Regional Sales Manager for Thrustmaster in Texas. Jim brings a wealth of knowledge and commitment to the needs of the inland waterways commercial operator. In addition to working closely with our Dealers, Jim will work with naval architects, shipyards and vessel operators on building Northern Lights and Technicold business. Welcome aboard, Jim!


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LR Foundation Launches Campaign to Identify Biggest Threats to Safety

The Lloyd’s Register Foundation aims to make a real difference in improving the safety of the critical infrastructure on which modern society relies. It recently launched a consultation to identify the grand challenges to safety at the Lloyd’s Register Foundation International Conference in London.

The consultation to identify the challenges will open today until January 2017, and asks industry, workers and consumers where is safety most compromised either from working with, or arising from poorly functioning infrastructure? Once it has identified these challenges it will ask ‘What can we do about them to make the world a safer place?’.

Dr. Ruth Boumphrey, the Foundation’s Director of Research, said: “Every day billions of people around the world need energy, water, food, transport and other services that make-up society’s critical infrastructure. These infrastructures and their supply chains rely on people to build, operate and maintain them. Our safety is threatened when these infrastructures fail and the safety of those who operate and maintain these infrastructures can be threatened by the environments in which they work .”

“Read More”

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Technicold Condensing Coils – How a Small Detail Makes a Huge Impact

In the world of vessel design, climate control is an important factor. But one of the most critical factors in the quality of the air conditioning system is one that is easy to overlook – the condenser coil.

Many manufacturers use copper coils that are subject to failure from sitting coolant and corrosion. The Marine Climate Experts at Technicold have a better way.

condensor coil

Technicold uses only large, single pass fluted coaxial cupronickel counter-flow condensing coils.   That is a lot of features packed into a small component, so let’s break it down:

  • Large coil size ensures efficient coolant delivery.
  • The fluted design prevents sitting coolant and water that can lead to corrosion.
  • Cupornickel is a robust alloy that is known for its resistance to oxidation.
  • The counter flow condenser allows low sea water velocity for even condensing.

This level of attention is only one of many examples of the thoughtful engineering that goes into every Technicold product. Made specifically for the harsh marine environment, Technicold chilled water air conditioning systems feature 316L grade stainless steel hardware and low-condensation design to ensure the best long-term value in the marine industry.

The experts at Technicold will help layout a complete climate control system through superior engineering and marine class components. For maximum onboard comfort the answer is simple: Technicold marine air conditioning.

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TCSM – The Controller Tough Enough for the Commercial Marine Environment

As onboard power systems become more sophisticated, so the way that we interact with them must evolve. The commercial operator has a special challenge – finding controllers that are tough enough to withstand the marine environment, yet able to provide important data when you need it the most.

To address these needs, Northern Lights provides the TSCM “Tough Series” marine controller. With a backlit LCD screen and large, easy to read push buttons, TSCM is uniquely suited to the commercial operator’s engine room.

Currently available on Northern Lights commercial units up to 65kW, TSCM puts engine and electrical data at your fingertips. RS485 and J1939 protocols connect to a remote monitoring system. Because simplicity is always welcome in a commercial vessel, monitoring is available through a single data and power cable, up to 30 meters in length.

Northern Lights factory programs TSCM with pressure and temperature warnings and shutdowns to protect your power source. Other standard displays include battery voltage, run hours, operating status and an event log. Additional alarms and warnings can be added to meet your project’s specific needs.

Voltage and current monitoring is available on units 40kW and smaller. ECU codes are read on units from 50-65kW. All units can plug in with no additional adaptors required.

When you think Northern Lights you think simple durability. Our Tough Series of controllers make the industry’s best built products an even better value.

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MARAD Awards $4.9 Million in Small Shipyard Grants

The U.S. Maritime Administration has awarded $4.9 million in grants to support capital improvements at nine small shipyards located throughout the United States.

Made under the Small Shipyard Grant Program the grants will fund a variety of projects including infrastructure improvements and equipment upgrades to increase operational competitiveness and quality vessel construction.

“U.S. shipyards produce what are unquestionably some of the best built vessels in the world,” said Maritime Administrator Paul “Chip” Jaenichen. “The grants awarded today will help ensure that ‘Built in America’ remains an international shipbuilding standard.”

In order to qualify for the grants, the shipyards had to meet a number of eligibility requirements. Eligible shipyards must be in a single geographical location, located in or near a maritime community, and may not have more than 1200 production employees. The shipyard facility must repair, construct, repair or reconfigure vessels 40 feet in length or greater for commercial or government use; or reconfigure vessels 100 feet in length or greater for non-commercial vessels.

The requirements for project eligibility include capital improvement projects that foster efficiency, competitive operation and quality construction, repair and reconfiguration. Also considered are training projects that foster employee skills and enhancing productivity in communities whose economies are related to or dependent upon the maritime industry.

Of the 118 grant application received, these nine yards received awards:

  • Gravios Aluminum Boats, LLC of Jeanerette, LA for a big top portable shelter and transporter
  • Chesapeake Shipbuilding of Salisbury, MD for a mobile rough terrain crane and infrastructure improvements
  • Eastern Shipbuilding Group of Panama City, FL for a precision cutting system
  • Marine Group Boat Works of Chula Vista, CA for a gantry crane and metal working equipment
  • Diversified Marine of Portland, OR for boom lifts, scissor lifts and welding equipment
  • Conrad Orange Shipyard of Orange, TX for LNG tank building equipment and pipe welding equipment
  • Yank Marine of Dorchester, NJ for a 70-ton rough terrain crane
  • Yager Marine of Owensboro, KY for a 1,200-ton dry dock
  • American Shipyard Company, LLC of Newport, RI for a 200-ton travelift

As a US-based manufacture of industry-best commercial solutions, Northern Lights congratulates all of the grant recipients.

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Installation Tips To Keep Your Generator Running Smoothly

You have done your due diligence, analyzed your loads, talked to your friends and neighbors. You have selected the generator set for your commercial vessel. But the selection process isn’t done yet. Installation must be considered. Among the most frequent service issues encountered relate to cooling and fuel systems. In the commercial waterways market, keel cooling systems are used almost exclusively. Heat exchangers and seawater pumps are to be avoided because of the likelihood that in-water abrasives (sand and silt) and fouling materials will plug water strainers and damage the pumps.


It is important the plumbing to the keel cooler is arranged to self-vent, can be easily filled and drained, and that the system includes a properly sized expansion tank. If the cooler is based on surface channels, it must be adequately sized for the worst possible operating conditions. For example: if the cooler is located on the side of the vessel and is held up against another hull or bulkhead, the generator engine must not overheat and shutdown. Proper coolant must be used, and service intervals must be followed, to avoid possible corrosion and freeze damage.


To ensure proper working condition, each generator set must have its own dedicated fuel supply and return lines to the tank, as well as progressive filtration. Use a coarse (30 micron) duplex pre-filter before the engine mounted final filters. Each generator set should also have its own dedicated cooling system, exhaust system and starting batteries (if it is an electric start application). Multiple redundant gensets are common to minimize downtime.


When designing the engine room, it is wise to ensure adequate space for standard generator service and maintenance requirements. When selecting a generator, therefore, it is helpful to choose one that has major service points on a single side. Make sure that ample space is available above and around the generator set to allow access for potential overhauls and equipment replacement.


If the generator is to be installed with a PTO, ensure that the base and brackets are strong enough to support the power take-off hardware without damaging it.


Interested in learning more about the state of the art in marine power technology? Contact Northern Lights Gulf at (504) 360-2180 or visit our web site at www.northern-lights.com.

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Analyzing You Load: Ensuring Generator Longevity For The Commercial Operator

When it comes to the selection of a generator set, a number of factors should be considered, and none more important than a thorough and accurate load analysis. In general, the continuous load should be at least 50% of the generator capacity.


The right generator is determined by the total wattage of all equipment that will be operated simultaneously. Selecting a generator that is too small for peak load can make it hard to start motors in high-draw equipment, such as air compressors, winch motors and even air conditioners.   Selecting too large of a generator causes the engine to operate in an under-loaded condition. This leads to carbon build up in the injector and valves, and the potential pumping of raw fuel into the exhaust (“wet stacking”.)


Equipment that uses an electric motor can require up to ten times the running wattage during start up. A good rule of thumb when computing motor loads is to take the running wattage of the largest motor and multiple it by ten. Then add the running wattage of the smaller motors, as well as the wattage of all the other loads, to determine the total load required for those appliances. Sequential starting is a good policy. Start the largest motor loads first, and it will help with starting the smaller consumers.


Balancing loads is of critical importance. All loads which will be used at the same time must be divided up equally among the output phases. For example, don’t put heating loads on one phase and air conditioning loads on the other phases. Improperly balanced loads may cause a loss in voltage on the loaded phase and excessive voltage on the unloaded phase, as well as low output.


Interested in learning more about the state of the art in marine power technology? Contact Northern Lights Gulf at (504) 360-2180 or visit our web site at www.northern-lights.com.

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Downtime is Deadtime: Reliability In The Commercial Marine Market

A commercial marine operator will put many hours on his generator set, often at high average load factors. In addition to regulatory, environmental and safety concerns, a commercial generator must work exceptionally well, and be easy to service and maintain.


Down time can be crippling for the tug operator. A hiccup in any system, especially a critical system like power generation, can be financially devastating. Increasingly, the savvy commercial operator is seeing his generator set as a capital investment, rather than a commodity. An inexpensive generator that requires frequent service is no bargain in the long run.


Many operators are specifying more robust products than the previous generation’s offerings.

Up until a few years it had been common to find AC power production on inland tugs provided by independent packagers, who would take inexpensive engines and generator ends, meld them together and sell at low prices. The engines and gen ends were frequently not properly matched or assembled, leading to inefficient and unreliable performance. Where they were present, base frames were an afterthought and the package showed the lack of quality. Break downs, rebuilds and replacements were frequent, and quickly ate up any savings in purchase price.


A reputable generator set manufacturer considers all factors of operation over the life cycle of the unit. Chief among the primary requirements for a quality generator set are the basic marinized components. Are the expansion tank and the exhaust manifold cast or welded? A poorly welded tank can spring leaks in high pressure situations. Better designs use a minimum of belts and hoses – if it isn’t there, it can’t break. Closed crankcase venting keeps oil vapor inside the engine, while an open style creates a messy, potentially unsafe engine room.


The AC generator end has a list of requirements that are just as critical to performance as the base engine. High quality NEMA Class H insulation should be used. An automatic voltage regulator should be installed to ensure stable AC power quality. A conservative heat rise rating will prevent the generator end from overheating and failing.


Another aspect that has a direct effect on on-board comfort and ease of use is the generator control. A wide variety of meters and gauges and instrumentation are available giving the operator a real-time assessment of his AC power generator. With the advent of data-bus technology, information is easily transmitted on the alarm monitoring system.


Safety warnings and shutdowns should be standard for any serious workboat operator. The modern electronic engine provides a much more complete set of data and error codes than the mechanical diesel sets of old. Modern gensets can help you determine what is wrong before a failure occurs.


Interested in learning more about state of the art marine power technology?  Contact Northern Lights Gulf at (504) 360-2180 or visit our web site at www.northern-lights.com.