Thrustmaster Reaches 30-year Milestone

Posted by Eric Haun
Monday, August 18, 2014
Photo courtesy of Thrustmaster

Thrustmaster of Texas announced the achievement of an important company milestone: 30 years in the marine propulsion industry.

Established in 1984 by its current president, Joe R. Bekker, Thrustmaster has grown from a small manufacturer of outboard, deck-mounted propulsion units to a worldwide leading manufacturer of marine propulsion systems.

From the first order for 13 deck-mounted propulsion units for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a follow-up order for the U.S. Navy, Thrustmaster has continually grown and expanded its propulsion systems designs as well as its engineering and manufacturing capabilities. In 10 years, the company had more than quadrupled its size and was rapidly growing into a new second facility, the company pointed out.

In 1993 Thrustmaster had many casino boat projects with through-hull azimuth z-drives and large hydraulic tunnel thrusters.

The Marine Spill Response Corporation (MSRC) ordered seventeen self-contained diesel-hydraulic propulsion units with integrated pilot house, mast, oil skimmer drives and many other features. Global Industries installs retractable azimuth thrusters in one of their large pipe lay barges.

In 1995, Thrustmaster moved to a new facility and expanded its work force to accommodate the growing demand for Thrustmaster’s thrusters designed for both main propulsion and propulsion assist. In the following years, the engineering department was upgraded with hiring a new chief engineer who specialized in rotating equipment manufacture, the installation of customized mixed-mode manufacturing software specifically detailed for Thrustmaster’s products, and the addition of state of the art CAD/CAM and FEA engineering software.

Thrusters for dynamic positioning became a major focus for the company with a wide range of products designed specifically for demanding offshore applications.

In 2001, a new general manager significantly improved both the manufacturing efficiency and quality of field service. In 2002, Thrustmaster received certification as an ISO-9001 qualified marine equipment manufacturer from the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) Quality Systems division. In 2008, Thrustmaster upgraded its ISO quality system to the ISO-9001:2008 standard. ABS issued a Certificate of Manufacturing Assessment Certificate and type approval certificates for Thrustmaster’s standard tunnel thrusters.

All Thrustmaster products are developed in-house by a complete engineering department for mechanical, hydraulic, electrical and electronic design. Tooling includes state-of-the-art computerized machining and measuring equipment with software packages for computer aided design (CAD), vessel resistance and propulsion, 3-D mathematical modeling and ANSYS Finite Element Analysis (FEA). The application of modal analysis, stress and strain analysis as well as rotor dynamic analysis of drive trains and transmissions are major fundamentals towards the reliability and quality of Thrustmaster’s products.

Thrustmaster is a vertically integrated manufacturer with a spare parts warehouse that uses bar-coding and par-level ordering to maintain manufactured and OEM parts on the shelves. Employing more than 100 skilled technicians, assemblers, welders, and machinists Thrustmasters offices house PhD and MSc engineers along with expanded support personnel having experience dating back over half a century in the history of marine applications.

In 2009, Thrustmaster moved to its new expanded facility to support the increase in sales which now exceed $100 million annually. Located in northwest Houston on 60 acres, Thrustmaster has more than 200,000 square feet of manufacturing space with total in house fabrication, machining, assembly, inspection and testing capabilities. Included is more than 25,000 square feet of warehouse space where it stocks a large inventory of spare parts available for same day shipment in most cases. All products are manufactured in strict adherence to ISO-9001; 2000 edition standards. For shipping and handling of materials and thrusters, the company has two 15-ton, three 30-ton, two 50-ton, a 100-ton with 30-ton runner overhead cranes, and a 35-ton portable crane to move products safely and quickly about the facility. In addition to its manufacturing and warehouse is more than 40,000 square feet of office space for the company’s administration and engineering services.

According to Thrustmaster, orders for main propulsion and dynamic positioning thrusters for the commercial marine and offshore energy sectors as well as military fleet improvement programs continue to make the compnay a world leader in marine propulsion.

In 2010, Thrustmaster increased offerings of z- and l-drives and diesel tunnel thrusters to include up to 10,750hp (8.0MW).

In 2014, Thrustmaster expanded its product lineup to include water jets after acquiring the technology of DOEN Pacific to become a leading manufacturer of water jets in the U.S. DOEN, a leading designer and manufacturer of waterjet propulsion systems for the past 48 years, is one of five marine waterjet manufactures in the world building water jets up to 4,000 kW. To meet the demands of large scale, commercial applications. Thrustmaster expanded the original DOEN water jet product lineup with the introduction of two new models — the 400/450 series Thrustmaster DOEN water jets extend the power range up to 6,400 kW. When matched with Thrustmaster’s combi retractable tunnel thrusters these larger water jet units are suited for dynamic positioning of offshore vessels including fast supply vessels. The manufacturing of the Thrustmaster DOEN waterjet product range in Houston is a key element in this joint strategy, Thrustmaster said. The agreement with DOEN enables Thrustmaster water jets to be sold in Europe, North America and South America.

  • Photo courtesy of Thrustmaster

    Photo courtesy of Thrustmaster

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