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Diesel Marine Propulsion Engines & Marine Generating Sets

Project Description

Beta Hydraulic Drive System

Beta Marine’s engine range can be supplied as a hydraulic drive unit to meet a wide range of applications.

Key points for this system are as follows:


  • The engine and hydraulic pump unit can be sited anywhere in the boat and this maximises the use of space.
  • The engine can be sited away from the steering position to give a quieter running ship.
  • Very flexible speed control is available at low rpm.


  • Transmission power losses can be between 20 to 30% or more, depending upon the hydraulic pipe run lengths; so the system is on average about 20% less efficient than a conventional engine and gearbox combination where the losses are approximately 7%.
  • Generally a hydraulic solution will cost more than a standard mechanical drive.

How it Works

The above diagram shows a schematic layout of a typical system. The diesel engine is close coupled to a variable displacement hydraulic piston pump that deliveries very high pressure hydraulic oil to the hydraulic drive motor. This is normally a bent axis fixed displacement motor which is flexibly mounted and coupled to the propeller shaft.

The system has the usual single lever arrangement for controlling the engine rpm and this is also connected to the hydraulic control block which controls the oil flow to give ahead, neutral and reverse. The system also incorporates an oil reservoir with filter etc. and the engine is fitted with an extra large oil cooler to dissipate the heat from the hydraulic oil.

Beta can supply all the equipment, but hydraulic pipes are not included as these are made to measure. The cost of hydraulic propulsion system can vary depending upon the quality and design of the hydraulic pump and motor. Beta do not use gear pumps or motors which are considerably cheaper but less efficient than the bent axis piston type. The latter are much quieter than gear type, and a noisy installation is to be avoided.


  • Control Panel ‘C’
  • Hydraulic ‘Pod’ drive
  • Hydraulic Bow Thruster unit
  • 3.5 or 5 kVA Travel Power 50Hz 230 Volt output
  • Acoustic Housing
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