Customer Stories

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As a kid growing up in Alaska, Raymond Nix fell in love with the delta style aluminum-hulled, fishing boats he saw plying the waters near his home. The admiration only grew stronger when he became a charter operator.

“I knew I had to have one,” he said.

Nix’s dream is coming true with the arrival of F/V Strait Crazy, a 37-foot-long aluminum beauty built by ACI Boats of Port Townsend, Washington. The vessel features a raised pilot house and room to sleep eight. It’s also a game changer for Nix’s charter business, Crazy Ray’s Adventures. It gives him a third vessel for fishing groups up to 12 and allows him to extend the season beyond fishing to cater to hunting parties.

We worked with Nix in finding the right propulsion package to power the Strait Crazy. Nix ultimately decided to go with a pair of Volvo Penta D6-330A engines and DHP sterndrives.

“The newly designed drives sealed the deal for me,” Nix said.

Growth Dictates Need

Crazy Ray’s Adventures operates out of Whittier, Alaska, where its specialty is halibut fishing. Nix already runs the 32-foot F/V Crazy Ray and 30-foot F/V #ICrazy II, but that’s not enough to keep up with business. The last three to four years he turned away so many anglers, he decided it was time to add a third boat.

And if he was going to do that, it might as well be his dream boat. He worked closely with ACI Boats in the design and building of the Strait Crazy.

Must Haves

Beyond the aesthetic look of the aluminum-hulled boat, Nix chose the material and design because of the harsh conditions in Alaska. Fiberglass hulls tend to get beat up at a faster rate, while the aluminum is more wash and wear.

Secondly, Nix wanted space for people to sleep on the boat. Strait Crazy has room for five below deck. The raised pilot house and V-berth design allows for another two in the main cockpit. The captain is able to sleep in the pilot house.

Nix also built in a heating element in the bathroom that not only keeps charter passengers warm, but gives everyone a place to dry out clothes. The FLIR thermal imaging system will allow the boat to travel during the night when he shuttles hunting clients to the next destination so they’ll be there by morning.

Volvo Penta Recommended

Nix had a great measuring stick when it came time to select the Strait Crazy’s propulsion system. He’s friends with the operators of Puffin Fishing Charters, which operates Strait Crazy’s sister ship, the F/V Sorceress. Nix spent a lot of time talking to the Puffin owners about their experience with the Volvo Penta system.

“The guys have been running the drives for four years and it’s been reliable,” he said.

The 500-hour maintenance time for the drives was longer than other options. Nix opted to purchase two additional drives so that he’d always have a spare on hand.

“With the remoteness of where we work this gives us the ability to do the required maintenance and rotate the drives through,” Nix said.

Along with the drive performance, Nix was impressed with the five-year warranty on the engines.

He anticipates eventually adding drive temp sensors so he can monitor the temperatures during the transit to the fishing grounds, which typically takes three hours. Volvo Penta recommends coming off step every hour to cool the engines. The sensors will allow Nix to maintain the proper temperature as he gets his guests to their destination.

Season Opening

The Strait Crazy is scheduled to arrive in Whittier in May, in time for the opening of fishing season.

“I’m pretty stoked about getting it up here and putting it to work,” Nix said.

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Tag Archives: Customer Stories

The third time proved to be the winner for Dmitry Kraskovsky when he suggested a unique solution to MultiCare Auburn Medical Center’s generation needs. The first two bids for improving the generators at the hospital in Auburn, Washington, didn’t quite meet the facility’s needs. Then, Dmitry came up with a hybrid paralleling system for the MTU generators.

“This design was exactly what hospital officials wanted from the new generator system,” he said.

Major Renovations Required New Power Generators

MultiCare needed a new generation system to support a massive renovation at the Auburn facility. The hospital added an adult psychiatric wing, completely renovated the emergency room and added new heating and boiler plants.

Mike Atchley, our project manager, faced the daunting task of fitting the large MTU generators needed to power the expansion into an extremely small space.

Meeting New Facility Needs

The MTU units, which each provide 2000 kW at 4,160 volts, were engineered for an N+1 configuration. This allows the first generator to take the load and once it’s stabilized, the second generator shuts down. The backup system is typical for hospitals, data centers and other mission critical operations.

Dmitry and the Power Generation team has worked with MultiCare on several projects at various medical centers in the Seattle area. Their expertise and experience is what enabled them to continue tailoring the generation design until they found the right configuration for the Auburn site.

Unique Fuel System

Generators were only part of the job. Just as important were the fuel tanks. Hospitals require enough fuel to run the generators for 96 hours. Each generator consumes 147 gallons of fuel an hour. An equally creative configuration for the fuel tanks was employed to achieve the necessary fuel storage capacity without using severely oversized fuel tanks.

Dampening Sound

The final piece to the project was building an enclosure to dampen the sound and contain the generators. The units that were designed for Auburn lowered the generator noise to 68 dB at the nearest property line.

Repeat  Customer Satisfied

The unique solution to the Auburn site’s needs was critical in designing a system that best fit MultiCare’s needs. It’s not the first time we’ve been able to serve the not-for-profit health care organization.

“Knowing the organization and working with them on several projects definitely helps in our ability to accurately diagnose the power generation needs that are unique to each facility,” Dmitry said.

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Tag Archives: Customer Stories

Macy’s department store in downtown Seattle occupies a prominent corner in the city’s bustling landscape. This iconic and historic building has undergone dramatic changes in the past few years as the retail footprint has shrunk and Amazon has taken up residence in the top six floors in the eight-story building.

The transformation has required a host of upgrades, including a substantially larger generator that our power generation team was tasked with providing. Surveying the building and assessing its needs was the easy part. Answer: An MTU 10V1600 DS500, capable of providing 500 kw of power.

The difficult part was getting the unit and related components three floors underground into a tight space that was significantly altered to adhere to more stringent building codes. The only way the new generator was going to get to its new home was in pieces.

“I’ve been doing this for 24 years and have seen maybe three or four projects that were this complicated,” said Mike Atchley, our project manager who oversaw the mission.

Ground Up

The impetus for the piecemeal approach to installing the genset was structural improvements to the building’s foundation and basement. Thousands of pounds of rebar were added and then covered with enough concrete to fill 100 trucks, which came at a rate of 10 per hour.

This newly reinforced floor is where the MTU generator was installed. But the freight elevator that was used to lower the genset has a weight limit of 6,000 pounds. The generator’s size and weight meant the PPG team had to find a way to make the unit smaller.


The solution was to disassemble the generator. Technicians spent three days breaking the generator down to the engine, skid, alternator and tanks. Another couple of days were spent lowering each component separately and moving it about 100 feet. Finally, the techs spent several more days reassembling the generator.

 Keeping It Cool

The underground location also required the team of technicians to install a remote radiator and cooling system that is a floor above the generator. Once those connections were finalized, it took several days of testing to confirm the new system was operable.

Dmitry Kraskovsky, a member of our power generation sales team, said the entire project took a tremendous of time and detailed planning to not only get the generator into position, but to get it tested and running quickly.

Since the 500 kw generator was installed, Amazon’s continued expansion into the building has required the installation of a second generator. Dmitry said  the power generation team added an MTU 350 kw unit to the building. That project, however, was a much simpler and quicker installation.

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Tag Archives: Customer Stories

Brian Wier ended his 15-year boat ownership drought when he acquired the 32-foot-long Sea Bear and began a repower that transformed this boat into something truly exceptional.

PPG got to go along for the ride and helped guide Brian through his decisions regarding the Sea Bear’s propulsion system. Brian ultimately chose Volvo Penta’s D4-300 Aquamatic Duoprop engine. But that was just the start.

Brian knew what he wanted out of the Sea Bear – a boat capable of fishing in open water, but that also had the space, amenities and creature comforts for his wife and family. To achieve this goal, Brian not only went with the Volvo Penta engines, but replaced the boat’s hydraulics with Volvo Penta’s EDC system and installed the Glass Cockpit, docking station and joystick control.

The Volvo Penta system ultimately gives the Sea Bear improved power and performance, fuel efficiency and maneuverability.

“I really wanted the latest and the greatest,” he said.

Remaking The Sea Bear

The Sea Bear was built in 2002 by Sea Sport Boats in Bellingham, Washington. The catamaran hull boat was in good shape, but Brian wanted the interior to match the upgraded propulsion system. He selected North Harbor, a longtime partner of ours, to oversee the six-month rebuild of the boat.

The work included adding air conditioning, an ice machine, new paint, a fly bridge and a half hardtop. The Sea Bear lettering was also replaced with stainless steel.

Brian initially planned to have the Sea Bear shipped to its new home in San Diego until North Harbor’s owner and the lead mechanic on the project offered to boat it down the West Coast. Brian agreed and the journey put the first 70 hours on the new engines.

“What better way to have them broken in,” he said.

The new Volvo Penta engines were up to the task. The North Harbor crew sent Brian videos during their trip to San Diego that showed how the Sea Bear was easily handling the journey.

Happy Volvo Customer

Brian said he constantly gets compliments about the boat when he’s at the marina in San Diego, the Sea Bear’s new port. The Sea Bear served as the backdrop for his daughter’s wedding. He and the family are having a great time fishing and enjoying the spacious interior, upgraded amenities and the boat’s performance at sea.

But more importantly, Brian is continually impressed with the boat’s seaworthiness and its handling from the Volvo Penta engines. The docking station lets Brian easily crawl the boat sideways for mooring.

“It’s amazing how the system works,” he said. “Volvo put a lot of thought into designing this system.”

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Tag Archives: Customer Stories

Tomco Marine Group’s newest project, the Waypoint 36, allows the LaConner, Washington, boat builder to experience a new power system – Volvo Penta diesel inboard engines supplied by Pacific Power Group.

The Waypoint is based on the fiberglass construction of Tomco’s 365 hull and deck. The overall design is meant to deliver a more affordable trawler capable of handling the waters from California to Alaska or Florida to Maine and maintain the quality and craftsmanship of the American Tug name.

Tomco consulted Pacific Power Group to find the ultimate power system and chose Volvo’s D4 engine line. The standard Waypoint will feature the D4-260. This 260hp, 4-cylinder gives Tomco an engine that delivers top performance with lower weight and emission levels. The initial Waypoint is being powered with a D4-300, which ups the power to 300hp.

The Volvo engine gives the Waypoint operator a boat that has great performance and superior reliability. The engine’s design also gives the owner class-leading fuel efficiency and durability.

Tomco’s typical trawlers feature one stateroom. The Waypoint’s design includes a second stateroom and a salon/galley. This design necessitated Tomco Marine to abandon the engine configuration it typically uses due to size constraints.

The Volvo Penta engine size along with its performance made it the perfect propulsion system for the new Waypoint, said Kurt Dilworth, Tomco’s vice president. But even with the smaller engine room, Dilworth said the space is easily accessible for maintenance and repair needs.

During the initial run of the 17,500-pound Waypoint, it topped 16 knots, 2 knots more than anticipated. Sea trial data had the Volvo Penta engine delivering an average speed of 16.65 knots with a light load.

“The Volvo engine exceeded expectations,” Dilworth said.

The Waypoint and Volvo Penta partnership is drawing interest from consumers after it was unveiled in May at the Anacortes Boat & Yacht show in Anacortes, Washington.

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Tag Archives: Customer Stories

A dedicated team of techs from Pacific Power Group’s Anchorage office were deep into preseason engine maintenance on one of two day-cruise vessels Phillips Cruises & Tours operates out of Whittier, Alaska, when the M/V Klondike Express returned to port with a faulty injector.

The Klondike Express had finished the first cruise of the year, just hours after PPG had been dispatched to assist with engine maintenance on the M/V Glacier Quest. Phillips Cruises was faced with weekend repairs on the Klondike Express before the Glacier Quest was ready for service.

“We were about to start off our season on a very sour note and our reputation with our customers and vendors was at stake,” said Gary Sommerfeld, marine operations manager for Phillips Cruises.

Since the 1950s, Phillips Cruises has plied the waters of Alaska giving visitors intimate views of Prince William Sound, Esther Passage and the glaciers and wildlife that inhabit this remote location. PPG has been a longtime partner with Phillips to keep its catamarans running at peak performance. The PPG team is working with Phillips on a repower project, swapping out the engines on the M/V Bravest with two new MTU 16v4000M64 EPA Tier 3 2680 HP engines. The Bravest will join the other two catamarans in the spring of 2019.

Given the urgency of the scheduled cruises, our techs quickly redirected their focus from the Glacier Quest to the Klondike Express. The PPG techs worked overnight to make the repairs to the Klondike Express, replacing the injector, and returned the vessel to service in time for its scheduled cruise the following day.

The dedication and effort of the techs saved Phillips Cruises thousands of dollars in potentially lost business. Sommerfeld was so impressed with the effort and the work he reached out to Bill Mossey, president of Pacific Power Group, to make sure he knew how important the hustle was to his company.

“I want to thank everybody at PPG,” Sommerfeld said. “Your efforts went above and beyond the norm this weekend.”

Mossey echoed Sommerfeld’s comments adding that the team’s ability to quickly switch gears and tackle the Klondike’s problem once again demonstrates why PPG is so trusted by its customers.

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