Rolls-Royce unveils marine thruster with permanent magnet technology

4 June 2015 (Last Updated June 4th, 2015 18:30)

Rolls-Royce has launched a new azimuth thruster using permanent magnet (PM) technology, a new addition to its marine thrusters range.

PM azimuth thruster

Rolls-Royce has launched a new azimuth thruster using permanent magnet (PM) technology, a new addition to its marine thrusters range.

The PM azimuth thruster features three main assemblies, including the PM motor / propeller / nozzle underwater unit, hull mounting system and inboard power unit.

The PM motor comprises two main parts, a stator with various electrical coil windings and a rotor equipped with strong permanent magnets.

Rolls-Royce has recently completed sea trials using a pair of thrusters that showed efficiency of up to 13%, compared to diesel-electric systems.

The trials were carried out onboard the RV Gunnerus, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s (NTNU) research ship.

"We are delighted to broaden our range of permanent magnet technology with the launch of a new azimuth thruster."

Rolls-Royce propulsion commercial marine senior vice-president Helge Gjerde said: "Following a programme of successful sea trials, which exceed our expectations in terms of efficiency, we are delighted to broaden our range of permanent magnet technology with the launch of a new azimuth thruster.

"The sea trials are continuing but initial findings have significant implications for future ship sustainability in both the marine and offshore sectors, as PM thrusters become a valuable supplement to traditional thruster technology."

The thruster offers more power through a propeller of the same diameter, less noise and vibration, and eliminates the need for a dry-docking for maintenance, the company said.

Rolls-Royce’s first commercial permanent magnet tunnel thruster is currently in operation on-board the multifunctional anchor-handling vessel (AHTS), Olympic Octopus. The vessel is owned by Norwegian offshore vessel operator Olympic Shipping.


Image: The new azimuth thruster allows to remove and maintain PM thrusters without the need for a dry-docking. Photo: courtesy of Rolls-Royce plc.