Kongsberg Maritime launches new rudder system

Written by Nick Blenkey
rudder system

Kongsberg Maritime’s new Direct Trunk Support rudder system reduces the forces from maneuvering impacting the steering system

A new Direct Trunk Support (DTS) system for rudders launched by Kongsberg Maritime transfers the maneuvering forces from the rudder through the headbox and the steering gear deck directly into the hull structure. This promises to improve maneuvering and propulsion performance and deliver weight savings that can ultimately save fuel and help cut emissions.

Kongsberg says the DTS rudder has no upper size limit and works for vessels of any size, from container ships to fishing vessels, and in any segment, from naval ships to superyachts. It eliminates the radial forces and bending moment transferred from the rudder blade to the steering gear. This is accomplished with an extended pipe integrated into the rudder trunk. This means that the rudder stock (torque shaft) in the DTS system only transfers torque and axial loads.

Some of the most important benefits of the new DTS system come in the design phase of a ship. The improved load distribution gives the ship designer more flexibility in the aft ship design, which enables a lower positioned steering gear deck. This gives greater storage capacity to any vessel. The DTS system also gives ship owners the option to choose smaller steering gear, since the DTS system only transfers torque load.

The improvement in load distribution allows more freedom in the design of the rudder blade. Higher aspect ratios and slimmer, full-spade rudder designs are possible, which improves the overall performance of the vessel. When combined with Kongsberg’s PROMAS system, which integrates the propeller and rudder into a single system to improve hydrodynamic efficiency, the potential for DTS technology is even greater.

Kongsberg says the new design freedom for rudders and propellers allows for “remarkable improvements” in propulsion efficiency and fuel savings.

Adoption of the DTS system means heavy cast items are no longer needed, which makes larger rudders more competitive through weight savings and reduced lead time. Additionally, the split rudder design reduces the weight of individual components and makes them safer to handle during manufacturing and installation.

“Today, replacement and modernization of propulsion and maneuvering systems are key drivers for newbuilds and aftermarket sales,” said Andreas Malmkvist, SVP propeller & shaftline systems at Kongsberg Maritime. “From 2023, EEXI and EEDI will set new minimum requirements for the energy efficiency of existing and new ships. Ship owners will start to look for new solutions to meet the accelerating regulations and improve fuel consumptions and operating cost,” he added. “For Kongsberg, DTS is a significant opportunity to cover a larger market and provide customers with a long-term solution to help them meet their goals.”

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