Engine manufacturer Mermaid Marine has made a significant investment in new R&D facilities at its UK headquarters in Coventry. The aim of the investment is to improve product design and for the development of new products.

The Mermaid Marine design team is based on the same site as the company’s marine engine production facility in Coventry and this, they claim, enables a close liaison to be maintained between the engineering team and production engineers.

The new facility now has four engineers who are working full time using four CAD workstations. These CAD systems are based on Solidworks 3D design and stress analysis.

Also at the new facility is a dedicated prototype construction workshop, engine dynamometer test beds and data logging equipment. The total investment that has been made in the new facility amounts to £250,000.

The first new product line to emerge from the new development facility is the Mermaid Kohler range of engines, which are due to be launched to the leisure market at METS next month. These Kohler-based engines have been marinised by Mermaid Marine and they meet the next stage of emissions targets without the need for a diesel particulate filter. They are based on mechanical rather than electronic engines.

The range currently comprises two engines – the KDI 1903M three-cylinder, which produces 31kW, and the KDI 2504M four-cylinder rated at 36kW. Further developments are in the pipeline both in terms of options and power ratings.

The design team has also introduced a number of improvements to the JCB-based product line of marine diesels marketed by Mermaid. These improvements include revising and strengthening the engine mounting feet and a redesigned water-cooled exhaust manifold/heat exchanger for the J-444NA engine. These improvements will facilitate easier manufacture and promote a better quality of finish. For the J-444T and J-444TCA engines, the changes include improved air intake filtration, a redesigned jacket water heat exchanger installation and a revised sea water pump installation which are aimed at reducing the complexity of build.

“Mermaid Marine has built a strong reputation over the years for designing and producing high quality marinised diesel engines here in the UK and this new investment will enable us to build on that tradition with modern engines and support systems whilst keeping the all-important skill base here in the UK,” explained Andrew Varney, MD of Mermaid’s parent company, Power Torque Engineering.

“This is part of our ongoing investment and growth plan for the Mermaid product line. The Kohler-based range is just the beginning as we have more engine products planned to come from this great facility.”