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Navman Goes Fuel Measurement Breakthrough

Media information
August 13 2004


Navman marine engineers have developed a simple, reliable and accurate way to help boat owners answer the worrisome safety questions related to having enough fuel to get home.

The latest development from this innovative R&D team can factor fuel consumption in varying weather conditions, as well as economy questions related to optimum cruising speeds, to achieve best economy.

Navman’s new marine product, the Diesel 3200 is the result of two years of research and development by a team of marine engineers based at Navman’s Auckland site, has resulted in the first low-cost method of accurately measuring a boat’s diesel fuel usage.

Navman is confident that its low cost of production and extensive channels to market, including those of U.S.-based Brunswick Corporation, will see a superior system at half the cost of the nearest competitor, making it more affordable for many more boat owners

The research project led by sensor expert Matthew Laws, led to the Diesel 3200 utilising mechanical positive displacement transducers. The system is suitable for any medium to large power vessel with engines having flow ranges of 25 to 300 litres per hour, which typically equates to engines of 100 to 400 horsepower. Although designed for single or twin engine marine installations, the technology is equally applicable to any diesel engine operation including generator-sets and the long-haul trucking industry.

Navman’s reputation for electronics capability giving ‘more technology at lower cost’ arose from its marine business, then broadening to include its strengths in GPS technology. The company has 160 R&D engineers, with about one third of those dedicated to marine development.

According to Navman’s Vice President – Marine, Marc Michel, this particular development was different from any other instrument development projects undertaken at Navman.

“It started out as a research project, with no predefined mechanical or electronic legacy systems. It also had a significant mechanical development aspect, not just electronics, “says Michel. “It covered evaluation of suitable technologies, design of the sensor mechanical system, and the rigorous testing required a complex blend of mechanical, electronic and scientific theory and practical knowledge.”

Mr Michel says accuracy has been a big challenge in diesel measurement, derived by subtracting the return flow from the supply flow in the continually circulating fuel system. Additionally, he says, the marine environment and boat movement makes other methods more difficult.

Whilst most competitors’ products provide basic flow monitoring, this is just the beginning of the Diesel 3200’s diagnostic capabilities. . As part of the standard offering, Navman includes an accurate digital RPM timing device that provides a baseline against which boat speed, fuel usage and propeller efficiency are measured.

The DIESEL 3200 system, combined with an optional Navman GPS speed input, provides a complete engine, propulsion and performance analysis tool and, when linked with Navman’s new TrackFish 6600 plotter/sounder, it plots the performance graph for any vessel. This allows the owner to identify that “sweet” spot where for a small rev and speed reduction consumption is reduced often as much as 10%.


About Navman NZ Ltd

About Navman Established in 1986, Navman is among New Zealand’s leading companies and a world leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of high-reliability GPS products for the marine, personal GPS, fleet management and OEM markets. Headquartered in Auckland, Navman also has facilities in Wellington and Christchurch as well as sales and distribution offices in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Navman employs around 550 people world-wide

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