New Propulsor Leverages PM Technology

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

June 28, 2017

Image: Steerprop / The Switch

Image: Steerprop / The Switch

Finnish collaborators have unveiled a new propulsion unit. Azimuth propulsion specialist Steerprop has rolled out its new CRP ECO LM propulsor featuring permanent magnet (PM) technology from The Switch.

Steerprop has been developing propulsion units since 2001, while The Switch, a developer of advanced drive train solutions, has been using its technology to enhance performance in marine applications. The PM machine, currently in serial production, has a track record in the world’s largest wind turbines in rough offshore conditions.
The new Steerprop CRP ECO LM propulsor utilizes a vertical PM motor, allowing it to sit inside a vessel hull, which simplifies installation and maintenance, the developers said. When the motor is placed on top of the thruster, the unit size can be more compact, increasing efficiency without compromising on hydrodynamics and lowering operational costs.
“Steerprop’s contra-rotating propeller (CRP) units are well known for their excellent hydrodynamic efficiency, in some cases delivering up to 25 percent less fuel consumption than single propeller, traditional electric alternatives,” commented Mika Koli, Business Development Manager, The Switch. “By combining their unit with our PM motor, which gives optimal efficiency throughout the entire speed range, we can take vessel energy, emissions and cost savings to the next level.
“In addition, the fact that the PM motor and all auxiliary electric systems and instrumentation are situated inside the vessel hull ensures ease of maintenance and reliability. This, and its compact, light nature, also means installation is straightforward – even at a late stage,” Koli continued.
“We believe the unit sets a new benchmark for efficiency, simplicity and reliable, predictable marine performance,” Koli said.
According to Steerprop, its CRP ECO LM propulsor is especially suited to harsh environment operation and the demands of ice breaking, having received the highest ice classification. It is robust and, thanks to its lightly loaded CRPs, offers lower noise and vibrations, enhancing levels of comfort onboard.
“This is now our third generation of CRP propulsors,” said Hannu Jukola, Senior Sales Manager, Steerprop, “and an important step forward, both for our business and marine propulsion performance in general.”
“By integrating The Switch’s PM motor into our solution, we create a compact unit with enhanced efficiency throughout the speed range. This delivers tangible benefits for all maritime stakeholders,” Jukola explained.
“Now vessel designers and builders have a solution that is simple to install, while owners and operators can ensure optimal performance and reduced costs through greater efficiency and simple maintenance. In addition, they can be better global citizens by cutting back on emissions. This is a best in class solution that fully capitalizes on the potential of two energy-efficient innovations, in one simple, effective and powerful propulsion unit,” Jukola concluded.
The Switch entered the marine segment in 2013, acquiring Wärtsilä Drives in Norway in November last year. The business, part of the €3.3 billion turnover Yaskawa Electric Corporation, is now targeting growth of 200 percent in the sector across the course of the next five years.
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