Talking Props with AccuTech

AccuTech's Jason Kindberg measures a 5-blade propeller's pitch using a Prop Scan machine. Photo courtesy AccuTech Marine.

New England Boating recently caught up with Larry Kindberg, founder and president of AccuTech Marine Propeller. A longtime boater, Kindberg started AccuTech in 2001 after discovering firsthand the difference a well-tuned prop can make in terms of boat performance and fuel economy.

AccuTech founder and president Larry Kindberg, left, and his son Jason. Photo courtesy AccuTech Marine.

Since then he’s made it his mission to educate boaters about this critical and often poorly understood piece of boating equipment, and in the process has built AccuTech into the largest marine propeller diagnostics and tuning center in the Northeast, with clients ranging as far as Europe.

Kindberg and his team recently moved to a larger facility in Dover, New Hampshire, where they have more room for training technicians and boaters in the science and art of prop diagnostics and tuning. We spoke with Kindberg to find out why props are so important, and how a diagnostics service such as AccuTech can pay for itself.

BL: Who is a candidate for prop diagnostics?

LK: Anyone who owns a boat with an inboard engine, although we also service outboard props. It could be anything from a sailboat to a sportfisherman—any boat can benefit from having its props diagnosed and inspected on a regular basis. We’ve even seen new props that have had issues right out of the box, so it’s always best to check. I mean, you wouldn’t put new tires on your car without first having them aligned and properly inflated, right?

BL: How can a well-tuned or reconditioned prop improve the boating experience?

AccuTech founder Larry Kindberg TIG-welds a damaged propeller, a process that produces clean welds. Photo courtesy AccuTech Marine

LK: First of all, it can reduce vibration, even if you never realized it was there. We’ve had customers who said that their boats were running just fine when they brought their props in for reconditioning. Then, after they used the tuned prop, they said it was like running a completely different boat. They never realized what life was like without the vibration.

Second, a well-tuned prop can significantly improve fuel economy. We’re talking huge savings in some cases. We’ve seen increases in fuel economy up to 22%, although the average is somewhere in the neighborhood of 2% to 5%. But that alone can pay for the cost of the tuning.

BL: How much does prop-tuning cost?

A prop hub is custom-bored on an AccuTech drill press. Photo courtesy AccuTech Marine.

LK: We do not charge anything to perform diagnostics on a prop. Anyone can bring their prop in and we’ll clean it, put it on the scanning machine to check the pitch and camber of the individual blades, looks for signs of metal fatigue, pitting and other things. We’ll even give you a printed report.

If the prop needs tuning, the price varies based on the size and type of prop. For example, the cost of tuning a 24-inch-diameter, 4-blade Nibral prop runs $463, which is in-line with what most marinas charge. However, our service is certified to ISO standards, which isn’t always the case with other shops.

BL: You’re obviously passionate about propellers. How did you get into the business?

AccuTech recently moved to a larger facility in Dover, New Hampshire. Photo courtesy AccuTech Marine.

LK: I was in the financial world and an avid boater before I started AccuTech. When the science of computer-based prop-scanning and –tuning became available in the late 1990s, I had the props on my boat tuned and couldn’t believe the difference it made. I decided to invest in the technology and create a business based on educating boaters about the importance of propellers, which many boaters take for granted. I’m happy to say that we enjoyed our best year in 2010, and recently moved to larger facility. The business is thriving. The only problem is that I don’t have any time to go boating!

Contact Information:

To learn more about propeller tuning or to speak with Larry Kindberg or one of his technicians, contact (603-617-3626; AccuTech Marine).


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