Dec 15, 2022 | Marine propulsion & machinery news

Kongsberg Maritime (KM) has launched a new series of retractable azimuth thrusters, the ULE PM type, which are smaller than competing units while maintaining thrust power, being the result of a long design process that focused on reducing size and boosting efficiency.

The compact size makes it applicable to modern offshore wind, fishing, and naval vessel designs in which onboard space is limited. The ULE PM type thruster has an integrated electric prime mover mounted very low between the steering gear. This saves more than 1m in vertical space in an engineering compartment. The ULE PM Type is believed to be the smallest retractable unit on the market for any given power requirement. Kongsberg’s designers also focused on making the new thruster series easy to install and maintain.

Pasi Villanen, KM product manager retractable thrusters, said: “We took a hard look at our thruster design after seeing the challenges our customers face finding the right equipment with optimal size-to-performance ratios and that work with their vessel designs and operating profiles. Thanks to thorough testing, these new ULE PM type thrusters are now the best performing units in their size, which makes them a perfect choice for auxiliary propulsion.”

All ULE PM type thrusters are available as a Combi unit, which functions as an azimuth for manoeuvring and dynamic positioning, or as a tunnel thruster when retracted into a tunnel. The ULE PM Combi units have optimised drivetrains and hydrodynamics for high thrust and fast response time, which allows the number and size of propulsion units in a vessel to be reduced. KM’s Hydrodynamic Research Centre conducted many simulations and tests on the new thruster series, leading to patent-pending innovations for the ULE PM Combi thrusters, including optimised unit-to-hull interaction and a new nozzle profile.

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