Steerprop, based in Rauma, Finland, was formed last September as a spin-off from Aquamaster Rauma, following the latter's takeover by Rolls-Royce. The new com-pany is developing azimuth propulsion units in the range 800kW to 6MW, with the emphasis on life-cycle economy. The units - which are targeted at traditional azimuthing applications such as small-scale work boats and larger DP drillships - are being manufactured under a partnership agreement with Koneistus Riikonen.
Although based on a traditional Z-drive mechanical principle, the Steerprop is a new generation system with improved hydrodynamics and advances in seal and lubrication technology, points out Marketing Manager Teuvo Ronkainen. "Basically, our power range is dictated by the project. Our flexibility means that we can create and develop a product very quickly and to specific requirements."
To date, the company has concentrated on 800kW, 2M, and 6MW propulsion units. Two sets have been sold to small river cruise ships incorporating contra-rotating propeller (CRP) technology, and Steerprop plans to offer the same in the offshore sector for deepwater ROVs and supply vessels. "The CRP is the most efficient propulsion system available," Ronkainen claims. "It is especially attractive for the deepwater market as it demonstrates good fuel economy with lower emission levels."
Propeller types - ducted or contra-rotating - are chosen to optimize vessel performance. Ducted propellers are equipped with a new high-performance nozzle (the HJ3) designed by Steerprop for azimuthing propulsion units. Steerprop has also paid attention to ergonomics, designing controls, levers, and buttons in a wheelhouse layout to improve users' work conditions. Steerprop has sales and servicing agreements for its products in North America with via Louisiana-based Karl Senner, and with two companies in Canada: Emar Services and Summer Equipment.