This Mighty Propeller Improves Ships, Ferries, and Icebreakers’ Maneuverability and Cuts Fuel Consumption
Meet the mighty Azipod propulsion, a gearless steerable propulsion system, or giant propeller that has become the industry standard for the largest cruise ships in the world as well as ferries, cargo carriers, and icebreakers that are capable of navigating independently in the toughest of conditions. Its electric drive motor is contained within a pod outside the ship hull. These powerful units can rotate 360 degrees, thus increasing the maneuverability and the operating efficiency of the vessel. Plus, the Azipod propulsion is cost-effective and reduces fuel consumption by up to 20 percent when compared to conventional shaft line systems.
Currently, 25 vessel types count on Azipod propulsion technology, which is available in power ranges from 1MW to 22MW. Developed three decades ago in Finland by the shipbuilding company Masa-Yards and the ABB Group, which produces them, the Azipod has transformed marine transport with its impressive track record of “efficiency, sustainability, and reliability.”
Plus, Azipod propulsion makes vessels safer, which is not the case with ships using a traditional shaft line system. Instead, vessels with Azipod propulsion can be steered throughout the ‘crash stop’ period and take 50 percent less time to come to a complete stop. The Azipod propulsion’s steering capability remains constant during the entire speed range of the vessel. With a quick response system, the Azipod system can more easily avoid collisions. More specifically, it also maintains a positive RPM when making a quick and efficient move. Also, the tactical diameter is reduced by 40% thanks to the thrust characteristics of the Azipod unit.
This innovative system also reduces engine noise and lowers vibration. Locating the motor outside the hull, this feature allows for more space and a more flexible design. These factors are huge for passenger vessel owners as well as vessels serving the offshore and energy industries.
Dry cargo vessels also thrive with Azipod propulsion during prolonger operations where the vessel must offer a top-notch, safe, and reliable performance at maximum efficiency. It allows the vessel to maneuver with ease in shallow waters. For advanced icebreaking tankers and other icebreaking ships, Azipod propulsion allows these vessels to proceed in open water and tackle heavy ice conditions. So, they can navigate in ice-covered seas without icebreaker assistance while simultaneously maintaining higher speeds and consuming less power.
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