October 16, 2020, Russian Chamber of Shipping
The Krylov State Research Center, on the instructions of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia, has developed a 6.5 MW electric rudder / thruster column drive (Z-drive, hereinafter – ERTC) , which is a possible replacement for the widely used Azipod rudder / thrusters manufactured by the Swiss-Swedish ABB company. In the context of anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the EU states, supplies of foreign ERTCs used on most large-tonnage ships were under threat.
Rudder/thruster drives are an alternative to traditional straight shaft drives, and the scale of their use in world shipbuilding is rapidly increasing due to a number of economic and technical advantages provided by its use. That is, for example, up to 15% increase in cargo capacity, better vessel safety and simplified maintenance. ERTCs are absolutely indispensable on icebreakers, ice-class ships, gas carriers and tankers, drilling ships and platforms, research vessels and other types of ships requiring precise dynamic positioning in the water areas.
In the context of a tenfold increase in the volume of cargo transportation along the Northern Sea Route in the next 5 years, the creation of domestic ERTCs become a strategically important task in terms of implementing state programs for the development of the Arctic. The Krrylov’s ERTC is designed to provide maneuvering and all running modes for ships up to Arc5 ice class inclusive in an unlimited navigation area. One of its main advantages over the ABB Azipod is a combined (water-air) cooling system with reduced weight and dimensions.
“Krylov State Research Center is the first entity in Russia that has developed a technology for creating an electromotive propulsion and steering column in wide cooperation with Russian enterprises. The work done will make it possible to create a standard range of ERTCs of various power in a short time “- said Mr. Oleg Petrovichev, the chief designer of the project.”Creating a technological chain of Russian manufacturing enterprises made it possible not to construct specialized production facilities, which led to financial savings and was one of the main tasks set by the Customer,” added Mr. Anatoly Popov, the head of special projects management service. The mock-up of the developed ERTC has passed a full range of tests in the pools of the Krylov Center, including the unique ice pool. In September of this year, bench tests of the manufactured prototype were successfully completed, which confirmed the calculated characteristics of the system. “In conditions of significant uncertainty in terms of the required characteristics of the promising column, it was decided to develop a sample with the widest possible range of applications due to the implementation of the ice resistance requirements of at least Arc5. In the course of the design, during research in the ice pool, the independent movement of the vessel from the continuous ice field developed by EDRK with an equivalent thickness of up to 1.6 m and movement in the channel in the ice field up to 2.2 m thick were modeled. Arc5 requirements provide for independent navigation in rarefied one-year Arctic ice up to 0.8 m thick during spring navigation and up to 1.0 m during summer and autumn navigation. At the same time, the designed ERTC provides for both the Arctic and standard versions with the highest possible level of unification between them, “added Mr. Dmitrii Novikov, Deputy General Director for Special Projects.