In 2007, ZF Marine blazed new trails when it developed the first-ever azimuth thrusters for inland waterways. Southern Towing Co. adopted these innovative products, which offered revolutionary 360-degree control, for their new-build program – a decision that proved to not only be safer and more efficient, but also more cost effective. Today, ZF Marine continues to set the industry standard by developing marine thrusters for commercial and fast vessels that are tailored to each customer and application.
Here are the Top 5 reasons why ZF Marine continues to lead the way in the marine thruster market:
- Adaptability to many types of propeller systems
ZF Marine offers a comprehensive range of azimuth and tunnel thruster solutions for commercial and fast vessels. The company’s line of thrusters boast a power range from 100 to 2,500 kW, which can be matched with diesel, electric or hydraulic prime movers. These thrusters can also be paired with an open propeller, counter-rotating propellers or with a nozzle. Each thruster is typically equipped with a control system that enables both steering and propulsion control of the ship.
- Better safety and maneuverability
As demonstrated with Southern Towing Company, ZF Marine’s thrusters helped their vessels achieve better maneuverability and handling compared to traditional shaftline vessels. This improved performance reduces operational risk by offering 100-percent thrust in all directions.
- Reduced fuel consumption
The optimized performance that ZF Marine thrusters provide also translates to reduced fuel consumption. Many customers report saving between 10 to 20 percent in fuel costs, as compared a traditional shaft line vessel.
- Innovation that continuously improves efficiency
In February 2022, ZF launched a new thruster product, the ZF AT 80. This innovative thruster is now available as a 360-degree steerable thruster, as a retractable propulsion system or as a bow thruster. Its hydrodynamically optimized shaped underwater housing reduces drag and improves cavitation behavior. This increases the overall efficiency of the propulsion system. Further, the lean and flat design helps save valuable installation space in the hull.Because this propulsion system’s efficiency is higher, operators tangibly can reduce CO2 emissions. Leakages are detected early with a future-oriented, double-chamber sealing system. As a result, the model range meets current and future stricter environmental regulations.
In combination with a resistance-optimized nozzle, the achievable speed is improved – a feature particularly useful for passenger ships, such as ferries. ZF also offers a thrust-optimized nozzle, which impresses with its improved bollard pull, useful for tugs and work boats. In every way this propulsion system meets the highest requirements for robustness, efficiency and availability.
- Future proof and electrification ready
The marine industry is rapidly evolving, and today’s generation of captains are embracing new technologies. As a wave of electrification enters, the ZF Marine thruster portfolio is well positioned to meet the new coming requirements. Already available and on the market, ZF Marine offers thruster solutions that integrate with electric systems, especially those in the ferry and workboat market. ZF Marine thrusters are one tool vessel owners can use to help bridge the gap to zero emissions or net-zero emissions now and in the future.
In addition to the above advantages, customers also benefit from the worldwide availability of spare parts through all the ZF service points in the global ZF Marine network. Thanks to the ZF Service Readiness Program with selected and qualified service partners, spare parts and service expertise are 24/7 available worldwide. Click here for more information or find a dealer closest to you on ZF Marine’s Commercial Thruster Dealer Map.