An azimuth thruster is a configuration of marine propellers placed in pods that can be rotated to any horizontal angle (azimuth), making a rudder unnecessary. These give ships better maneuverability than a fixed propeller and rudder system.
360 degree Azimuth thrusters are for main propulsion and steering of displacement vessels. They are available from 45kW to 2205kW to replace conventional propulsion and rudder steering systems to perform both the propulsion and steering functions.
Azimuth thrusters are used when enhanced maneuverability is required in applications such as dynamic positioning, ship escort and ship docking services.
Azimuth thrusters are available in Z-drive configuration with direct diesel engine drive or in L-drive configuration for electric or hydraulic drive from overhead.
The propeller rotates 360 degrees around the vertical axis so that the thruster can perform both the propulsion and steering duties for a vessel, or positioning for a semi-submersible rig, drillship or FPSO.
Types of azimuth thrusters
1.Mechanical transmission, which connects a motor inside the ship to the outboard unit by gearing. The motor may be diesel or diesel-electric. Depending on the shaft arrangement, mechanical azimuth thrusters are divided into L-drive and Z-drive. An L-drive thruster has a vertical input shaft and a horizontal output shaft with one right-angle gear. A Z-drive thruster has a horizontal input shaft, a vertical shaft in the rotating column and a horizontal output shaft, with two right-angle gears
2.Electrical transmission, more commonly called pods, where an electric motor is fitted in the pod itself, connected directly to the propeller without gears. The electricity is produced by an onboard engine, usually diesel or gas turbine.
3.Mechanical azimuth thrusters can be fixed installed, retractable or underwater-mountable. They may have fixed pitch propellers or controllable pitch propellers. Fixed installed thrusters are used for tugboats, ferries and supply-boats. Retractable thrusters are used as auxiliary propulsion for dynamically positioned vessels and take-home propulsion for military vessels. Underwater-mountable thrusters are used as dynamic positioning propulsion for very large vessels such as semi-submersible drilling rigs and drillships.
Primary advantages are electrical efficiency, better use of ship space, and lower maintenance costs. Ships with azimuth thrusters do not need tugboats to dock, though they still require tugs to maneuver in difficult places
Drive type of the Azimuth propeller:Electric motor drive,Engine drive,Hydraulic motor drive.
Installation:Deck installation,well installation,Transom installation.