Thruster project to improve efficiency

Wärtsilä propulsion test centre Wärtsilä and VTT's three-year ArTEco project saw the development of damping solutions for torsional vibrations. Credit: Wärtsilä
Industry Database

A project to develop innovative technologies for thruster solutions in extreme conditions will enable better use of ships and the predictability of loading and failure.

The three-year ArTEco (Arctic Thruster Ecosystem) project, led by VTT and Wärtsilä, involved VTT developing and measuring damping solutions for torsional vibrations, caused by issues such as the impact of propeller blades on ice. The project could lead to further possibilities to optimise the design of equipment more effectively and secure the full capabilities of vessels in difficult ice conditions.

Project coordinator, Jari Halme of VTT, said: "The results of the project can be applied on various vessels, icebreakers and the autonomous ships of the future, which will be able to operate in both non-Arctic and Arctic sea areas.

“The smart products and services of the future and new, competitiveness-boosting business opportunities will be created via the ecosystem projects.”

Research focus

The project also involved the development of cutting-edge propeller simulation and load-specification methods, vibration damping solutions, environmentally friendly lubricants, measurement technology and the improvement of the gear unit’s load carrying capacity.

These led to the creation of innovative, tested and reliable solutions. For example, changing external hubcap shapes reduced the maximum ice impact load by 30%, while a damper reduced vibration in the transmission by more than 20%.

The results have been achieved in a full-scale testing environment. Similar measurements and testing have earlier never been done in this size and scale, stated VTT and Wärtsilä.

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