The bow doors of Tycho Brahe — one of the two battery-powered RO/RO ferries operated on the 20-minute Helsingør, Denmark-Helsingborg, Sweden route by ForSeas Ferries —are to be retrofitted with grease-free ThorPlas-Blue bearings from Thordon Bearings.
The decision follows the success of the installation in 2016 of the Thordon bearings on the bow doors of sister vessel Aurora, the first of the two 111-meter sister ferries to be converted to battery operation by Sweden’s Oresund Drydocks (see earlier story).
The Aurora retrofit was the first ever installation of a Thordon self-lubricating bearing to the bow doors of a RO/RO ferry.
“Aurora and her sister ship Tycho Brahe are the first ferries of this size running on 100% battery power,” says Christian Andersson, Senior Chief Engineer, Aurora. “This is a huge sustainable benefit as we save about 23,000 tonnes of CO2, 13 tonnes of NOx and 5 tonnes of SOx from being emitted to the atmosphere each year. As a customer focused ferry operator striving for zero emissions, we are interested in any solution proven to reduce our environmental footprint.”
Tommy Holmgren, Sales Director at Thordon’s authorized distributor, Duwel Sweden AB, introduced Andersson to the Thordon product portfolio when he was working as a shipyard project manager.
“Through Tommy, I gained a very positive experience with the Thordon products and took my learnings with me when I joined the ForSea family. ThorPlas-Blue bushings are now installed on the bow visor of Aurora and will soon be retrofitted to Tycho Brahe,” says Andersson. “We are very happy with the installation. We operate the 32 tonne bow doors 48 times a day. But we found with frequent opening and closing the bronze-type bushings seized and often cracked. We don’t have this problem with ThorPlas-Blue. We have a much better operational experience. We are now looking at Thordon’s water-lubricated and grease-free bearings for more applications in other vessels in the fleet.”
Since sustainability is one of ForSea’s most important values, a bearing that mitigated the risk of pollution was a key factor in the decision-making process, says Andersson.
“Environmental sustainability is a very important factor in meeting our commercial goals but from a technical perspective, we have found ThorPlas-Blue significantly extends the life of the bow visor’s bearing, reducing maintenance requirements and associated costs,” says Andersson.
Since 2016, when Oresund Drydocks installed the bearing, bow door reliability has improved and Aurora off-hire time has decreased.”
“As a repair yard we find the Thordon material much easier to handle, easier to machine, and causes less wear and tear our machines and tools,” says Mats Holst, Production Manager, Oresund Drydocks. “The main difference we can see is that neither the shaft nor rotating parts show any wear when ThorPlas-Blue is installed, which saves the owner time and money during drydock repairs.”
While Oresund Drydocks does not as yet specify Thordon products as standard, Holst says that the shipyard does have a consignment of Thordon stock and is able to calculate and machine the bearing to the correct tolerances.
“We are also in contact with Duwel Sweden which provides 24/7 support to the yard,” he notes.
“We do find that once a customer installs its first Thordon bearing, they tend to find other applications for the technology,” says Duwel’s Tommy Holmgren.