January 15, 2004

One million hours of Azipod operation

On January 14th, 2004, the total cumulative "mileage" of Azipod propulsion units in operation reached the one million hours milestone. The accumulated on-hire time of vessels operating with Azipod propulsion is recorded as 99.75 %.

The first 1 MW Azipod installation was made in 1990 on a buoy service vessel, followed by a number of offshore supply ships, and two 11.5 MW units on a pair of arctic tankers. A major breakthrough was reached in 1997 with the installation of two 14 MW units on Carnival's cruise liner Elation. As of today, a total of 122 Azipod units have been contracted.

The Azipod concept was originally developed by ABB in cooperation with Kvaerner Masa-Yards. ABB Azipod, the jointly owned limited company (where Kvaerner Masa and Fincantieri each held a 22.5% share) was acquired by ABB in 1997 and currently forms the Propulsion Units division within ABB's Marine operations. System development and hydrodynamic, mechanical, power plant and control engineering, as well as sales, manufacturing, project management and customer support are all performed within one legal entity. Thus having full responsibility for the concept and all functions, ABB is able to avoid the interference problems that commonly occur when components are delivered between separate companies.

In the last five years, ABB has launched two new Azipod concepts: the modular "Compact Azipod" for a lower power range and the "CRP Azipod" for larger, high-power vessels.

There are already 38 contracted units of the Compact Azipod concept (launched in the year 2000) already sees 38 contracted units for a variety of vessels, including megayachts, offshore supply ships, survey vessels and drilling semisubmersibles. Two CRP Azipod propulsion units will be delivered in 2004 to a pair of Japanese RoPax ferries.

Constant development of the Azipod system ensures that the latest aspects of safety and reliability are applied in the design. ABB has used 3D modeling technologies and FEM (Finite Element Method) since the birth of the product. The constructions are verified by FEM and model tests. A large number of field measurements have been performed for several Azipod units in operation and a full FMEA (Failure Mode Effect Analysis) for the propulsion system has been performed in cooperation with Lloyd's Register. The results of these tests are used as a benchmark for present development projects.