ZF Marine Transmissions and Thrusters Deliver Greater Operational Confidence Offshore

Photo credit: ZF Marine Propulsion Systems Miramar, LLC
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When it comes to working in offshore environments, the reliability and performance of vessels is of the utmost importance. Offshore vessels – which can include high-speed support craft, crew Transfer Vessels (CTV), patrol craft, survey boats, Service Operational Vessels (SOVs), tugboats, and others – are exposed to harsh conditions on a regular basis, and any downtime can be costly and dangerous. Additionally, offshore vessels are often used in critical operations. They may transport personnel or equipment to offshore oil rigs or perform security functions to protect a high-risk offshore border. If a component fails during one of these operations, it can have a major impact on the safety of those on board and the success of the operation. For these reasons and more, it is essential that the machinery used in offshore vessels is reliable and high performing.

Ensuring Reliability & Performance

Photo credit: ZF Marine Propulsion Systems Miramar, LLC

To ensure the reliability and performance of two of the most important pieces of machinery, transmissions and thrusters, vessel owners should incorporate only high-quality components. Additionally, vessel owners and crew should routinely inspect vessels for wear and tear, making any necessary repairs.

For offshore operators seeking transmissions and thrusters for their offshore fleets, know that ZF Marine’s transmissions and thrusters have a long history of proven durability and performance, even in challenging conditions with varying operational profiles. ZF Marine’s transmissions were one of the first to meet the demands for DP technology in Fast-Support Vessels (FSVs), in the early 2000s – the company has had a stronghold on the market ever since.

“It’s not uncommon for ZF’s offshore customers to put 30,000 to 40,000 hours on our transmissions undergoing only normal rebuild cycles,” explained ZF’s George Lewis, head of product line commercial-fast craft, North/Central America and the Caribbean. “Our products are designed to handle harsh environments and perform highly with continued durability. We back this up with industry-leading service and support.”

That service and support includes access to a customer care team that supports clients across maintenance, repowers, rebuilds and new construction projects. ZF offers a toll-free hotline, +1 833-ZFWRENCH, which customers can call 24/7 for technical support. Their knowledgeable service team has more than a century of combined marine experience. Additionally, ZF’s Service Readiness Program with selected and qualified service partners, spare parts and service expertise are available 24/7 worldwide. Customers can also download ZF Marine’s new service app from the Apple Store and Google Play.

Photo credit: ZF Marine Propulsion Systems Miramar, LLC

Future-Proofing Offshore Vessels

For offshore vessel operators planning for the future, ZF Marine is ahead of the game. Commercially available hybrid-capable transmission models include the ZF 3000, 5000, 8000, 9000, 11000, 24000 and 40000 series, with more to come. Among other benefits, installing hybrid transmissions enables vessels to operate with reduced emissions.

The company recently commercially launched its 4600 POD propulsion system. Designed for vessels with planing and semi-displacement hulls measuring up to 130 feet and compatible with all main OEM engines up to 2000 hp at a maximum of 2,450 rpm. This new drive technology is suitable for a wide range of commercial applications, including pilot boats, supply vessels, small ferries, and patrol and rescue boats. Compared to other PODs on the market, the 4600 POD system is up to twice as powerful while consuming up to 15 percent less fuel than a traditional shaftline propulsion system. On larger vessels, the 4600 POD system also allows designers to reduce the number of POD units typically required to reach desired speeds. This reduces the complexity of onboard systems and the vessel’s drag, further improving propulsion efficiency.

Photo credit: ZF Marine Propulsion Systems Miramar, LLC

ZF offers Conditioning Monitoring technology, and this is available for transmissions and thrusters series products. The system provides regular reports, real-time data, and alerts when attention is required.

Finally, as more and more autonomous vessels enter service each year, it’s critical that all reduced-crew or unmanned offshore missions execute with a higher level of mechanical reliability. ZF provides this assurance and recently supplied four well-mounted, electric-driven ZF ATL 4014 WM-FP azimuth thrusters for two unmanned offshore surface vehicles (USV) for use in Reach Subsea's Reach Remote project.

“The compact and efficient design of our thrusters will help to reduce life cycle costs for Reach Subsea’s USVs, while providing unmatched and reliable maneuverability,” said Lewis. “Most of the systems we’re designing now are being approached with the goals of helping operators reduce both emissions and operational costs.”

ZF Marine stands behind their products and is now offering an extended warranty program, covering the company’s full portfolio of transmissions and controls products. Lengthening ZF’s standard warranty window by up to six years, the program is fully customizable. To learn more, customers should contact their account managers or call the 1-833-ZFMarine customer care hotline.

October 2023