New Series of Tunnel Thrusters

Kongsberg Maritime has unveiled a new series of tunnel thrusters designed to meet demand from the merchant marine sector for a system that is less complex to install, easier to maintain, and more cost-effective to operate than existing thrusters of comparable size.

Drawing on more than 40 years of tunnel thruster experience and the results of a development project led by a Kongsberg Maritime team at the company’s propulsion facility in Ulsteinvik, Norway, the new Tunnel Thruster Commercial (TTC) is particularly suitable for cruise ships, ferries, ro-ro vessels and containerships.

Available in two basic sizes, covering four propeller diameters and power outputs ranging from 1000kW to 5000kW, the mechanical thruster is a modular system based on standard components, not only to reduce installation and commissioning time by between 20% to 30%, but also CAPEX and OPEX.

The TTC has been specifically developed to replace thrusters of comparable size, in a vessel’s existing standard tunnel without the need for fabrication, welding or steelwork. The new thruster is fully interchangeable with the current tunnel thruster range, and the re-design does not compromise on performance.

For ease of maintenance all drive modules can be changed with access from the tunnel side and there is no need to remove the thruster’s intermediate shaft and drive motor during overhaul work.

By standardising and reducing the number of components, the TTC incorporates the same Kongsberg Maritime roller bearing and gear technologies used across the tunnel thruster range, but these have been adapted for use with Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EAL) to reduce operational impact on the marine environment.

Full-scale trials have been proven successful with the TTC running for more than 1500 hours. The TTC is designed for intermittent operation.

Commenting on the development, Bård Bjørløw, EVP Global Sales and Marketing, Kongsberg Maritime, said: “For more than 40-years we have focused our thruster development on the offshore vessel market. This sector typically requires a robust thruster with high performance and dynamic positioning capability. However, these thrusters are high-end, high-value products that do not correspond well with merchant market requirements.

“With the new TTC thruster, we have achieved a more cost-effective solution for newbuild and retrofit application to existing commercial ships,” said Bjørløw. “Since commercial ships rarely require DP functionality and only operate their thrusters for a limited period, we have been able to standardise the system, reduce components and optimise installation.”

Kongsberg Maritime is on stand PO75

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