Blog by Steerprop: Focusing on innovations that challenge the industry
Our company goal and long-term vision is to bring to the market superior propulsion units with outstanding efficiency, exceptional reliability and the lowest lifecycle costs on the market. This strong product vision has always guided the brilliant minds of the Steerprop R&D department.
As we’re concentrating on creating more efficient propulsors, we plan to lower mechanical losses and improve propulsion efficiency with high-quality propeller designs and by optimizing the shapes of underwater parts. Our gear design specialists, technical analysts and hydrodynamists are working hard toward this end. As we create more efficient propulsion units, we are creating more environmentally friendly solutions, while also providing better returns through lower fuel consumption.
The reliability of our propulsors is essential. They are used in critical operations, such as ice management, on icebreakers, oil platforms, wind farm maintenance vessels and cruise vessels, where any interruption can cause huge losses. Our technical department makes lots of calculations, taking into account challenging conditions in both open and icy waters. For example, our gear designers look at different kinds of load cases so that the propulsor tooth contact patterns are ideal for every condition and situation.
To ensure the best lifecycle costs, we have developed Steerprop Care, our online monitoring service, which enables us to support operational quality. Steerprop Care allows us to turn unplanned disturbances into planned service. For example, we can save customers time and money by monitoring the life of the propulsor unit’s power transmission line. This gives customers the assistance they need to avoid unnecessary downtime and maintenance, which negatively affects lifecycle costs.
Creating a powerful and engaging product vision
To achieve our goals, we are always open to new ideas and developments. This requires close cooperation with our component suppliers and manufacturers, listening to their research projects and continuously learning more.
The maritime industry also presents new challenges. When customers ask us for larger propulsors, this creates more complexities when it comes to material properties and manufacturability. By working in close cooperation with the world’s leading component manufacturers, we can meet these industry challenges. For example, we work in close cooperation with companies that specialize in gears to achieve the proper hardening depths for gear sets. In this way, we can shape the lower body and get even greater results in efficiency.
We’ve developed the CRP ECO product line to focus primarily on improving efficiency. The whole propulsor is pressure lubricated to lower mechanical losses compared with the commonly used oil bath lubrication technology. To ensure reliability, our comprehensive factory tests verify system functionality.
Only the best is good enough for us. We do not make any compromises when it comes to reliability. As we are determined to create even more efficient propulsion systems for the market, we concentrate on optimizing the shape of underwater parts to minimize flow resistance and take greater advantages of the contra-rotating propellers. In our optimization studies, we use model tests and CFD calculations.
Another big development area is our Steerprop LM unit, which uses an integrated permanent magnet (PM) motor that offers much better efficiency compared to a traditional induction electric motor. Moreover, by replacing our upper gear with an LM motor, we get more room in the ship for other components and can also avoid upper gear excitations in the ship hull, which is especially important for cruise vessels. Currently, we are working in close cooperation with our partners to make LM units possible also for larger units.
Steerprop W-series propulsion unit with an integrated permanent magnet (PM) motor.
Teamwork all the way
Creating and executing a strong product vision is not a one-person process or project. Numerous internal and external factors are guiding this process. To succeed, it is important to be surrounded by visionaries and brilliant individuals.
Steerprop’s R&D department has highly motivated in-house experts from many different fields – along with external specialists – working closely together to produce outstanding propulsors. They do their best every day – bringing skills from mechanical design and analyzing, hydraulics, hydrodynamics, materials, and sealing systems to create superior products for our customers.
In this way, we can fulfill our customers’ demands for more efficient and more reliable propulsion systems with the best lifecycle costs on the market.
About the Author
Jari Vanhatalo works as R&D Design Team Manager at Steerprop. He has specialized in mechanical analysis while working in various positions on Steerprop design team.
Today as R&D Design Team Manager, he works closely on developing more efficient propulsion system with the best lifecycle cost for the Maritime industry. Since joining the company, his passion has been to design the most reliable propulsion solution for every customer.