ABB has secured a long-term maintenance contract from Carnival to maintain and upgrade Azipod equipment for its fleet of 20 ships over the next 15 years.

The service agreement is expected to improve the energy efficiency for the ships Azipod units by 2.5% to 4%, cutting costs by as much as $1m a year per ship.

Azipods are powered by high voltage electricity and the motors that turn the propeller which are located outside the hull and integrated directly with the propeller itself.

ABB head of process automation division Veli-Matti Reinikkala said customers in all industries are looking at ways to reduce overall lifecycle costs and make such costs more predictable, while continuing to improve equipment performance.

"We provide a full portfolio of services, including ongoing technology upgrades and dependable maintenance support to help extend the life of equipment, and ensure that it runs at the highest energy efficiency levels possible," Reinikkala said.

The deal also covers technology upgrades such as the newly designed Azipod optimi sed fin shape, which receives water flow from the propeller at a new, less acute angle that redirects the flow more efficiently.

For large vessels the company had also developed a new software tool to control the pod toe angle called Azipod Dynamic Optimizer, which provides even better fuel savings for the ships.

Currently, Carnival has 20 cruise vessels with Azipod propulsion systems, which uses less fuel than traditional systems.

ABB’s Azipods provide better manoeuvrability in all operating conditions and also deliver fuel efficiency, with savings of about 10-15% compared to conventional shaft-line propulsion systems, which helps reduce fuel costs and cuts greenhouse gas emissions.

Image: ABB will be responsible for technology and energy efficiency upgrades for all Azipod systems in Carnival ships. Photo: ABB