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ZF Launches Hybrid Version of its New Azimuth Thruster

Azimuth Thruster - ZF

At this year’s marine trade convention SMM, ZF is unveiling the hybrid version of its ZF AT 80 thruster system.

At this year’s marine trade convention SMM, ZF is unveiling the hybrid version of its ZF AT 80 thruster system. The new propulsion system fits into the company claim of “Next Generation Propulsion. Now.”, and the strategy to electrify ZF’s broad portfolio of marine technology. The hybrid solution is suitable for a wide range of professional vessel types with a performance range of approximately 900 kW to 1.600 kW.

For a while now, more sustainable propulsion solutions on the seas have not been a question of “if,” but “when.” For ZF, the answer is clear. Under the claim “Next Generation Propulsion. Now.”, the marine propulsion specialist is accelerating the electrification of its broad portfolio of seafaring technology. A key part in this strategy is the newly introduced hybrid version of the ZF AT 80 series for thrusters, which will be first unveiled to the public during the marine trade convention SMM in Hamburg this September. “Providing green driveline solutions is a core goal and competence across our whole group, from automotive to marine technology and everything in between. The new hybrid AT 80 thruster closes the performance gap in more sustainable propulsion for a wide array of vessels,” says Andre Körner, Head of Product Line Commercial & Fast Craft. ZF positions itself thus ideally as a propulsion system supplier for ship designers, shipbuilders, shipping companies and fleet operators – not only for e- and hybrid drives and transmissions, but also for propellers, shafts, power electronics and control levers.

The hybrid setup of the ZF AT 80

The new hybrid ZF AT 80 is available as an azimuth thruster. ZF uses an electric motor placed at the upper gearbox’s Power-Take-In (PTI) whose performance is tailored to the individual vessel type and application. Said applications include professional vessels ranging from tugs and pushers, ferries, research vessels, supply boats and others. It allows for full electric sailing and manoeuvring, which is especially useful in ports or waterways with strict emission and noise regulations. It can also be used as an additional booster, for instance when evading obstacles or increasing the top speed with the additional electric power. When used in firefighting purposes, the hybrid setup eliminates the necessity for a more expensive controlled pitch propeller. Here, the diesel engine and electric motor will separately drive the firefighting pump and thruster, respectively.

Further adding to its sustainability scorecard: the ZF AT 80 is equipped with a special seal arrangement designed for biodegradable oil (EAL). Set up in a L-drive configuration such as a retractable or tunnel thruster, the ZF AT 80 is also available as a purely electrically driven solution. Additionally, extra features – like an integrated brake or a Power-Take-Off (PTO) – make the ZF AT 80 the perfect solution for a variety of use cases.

ZF: Quality and innovation you can rely on

Of course, the new hybrid ZF AT 80 provides all the benefits of its conventionally powered twin. Among others, standouts include the hydrodynamically optimized design and easy install, the tried-and-true build quality and efficiency ZF is known for, a worldwide availability of maintenance and service points as well as a variety of innovative optional features. For instance, the condition monitoring system ProVID offers intelligent diagnostics to ensure the safety and operational excellence of the ship, whereas AutoTroll allows for manoeuvring under the engines idle speed without risking damage to the clutch and transmission.

Moreover, ZF is listening to customer requirements: The company will update its entire AT series of marine propulsion systems, with thruster sizes and performance ranging from 100 kW up to 2.500 kW. The hybrid version of the ZF AT 80 is a preview of these completely new systems – not only in terms of quality, but also regarding which features will be offered.

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