Damen Shipyards commissioned Veth Propulsion to produce aluminium tunnel bow thrusters for the FSC 3307 series of ships.
The material combination of aluminium and steel is potentially problematic as corrosion occurs when aluminium and steel come into contact, unless they are properly insulated. The challenge was therefore to find a solution to keep these two materials separate from each other. The solution also had to be powerful enough to handle all of the power that a bevel transmission generates.
"We did considerable research and preparations in advance before a suitable solution was found. A tension test was for example conducted to properly test the electrical insulation resistance (Megger test). We even produced a prototype to demonstrate the final result to Damen Shipyards," said Bianca Hiati, Offshore Account Manager, Dredging & Coasters. "The Veth Aluminium tunnel bow thruster offers the benefits of existing and reliable technology."
Aluminium vs. steel
Compared to steel, aluminium is 65% lighter. In some places material thicker than steel had to be used due to the strength or resistance against bending of aluminium over steel. As a result a hull made from aluminium is about 40% lighter than when it is made from steel.
The cost of aluminium is about twice as high as steel, however, the corrosion resistance of aluminium is much better than steel and the ultimate savings on maintenance is therefore much more beneficial than the initial higher price of the material. Aluminium scrap also has a higher residual value as it can be recycled over and over again, while still maintaining its quality. Resmelting only requires 5% of the energy required to produce new aluminium, so in short, this is a very sustainable solution!|
Fast Crew Suppliers (FSC)
The first series of Aluminium Tunnel Bow Thrusters are intended for various Fast Crew Suppliers of Damen Shipyards. Fast Crew Suppliers are used as transport for crews and for the supply of material on rivers, in harbours, on the open sea and offshore. The ship is economical, safe and fast, which is exactly what is needed to complete all of these tasks.