Wärtsilä has introduced a new high-performance thruster and propulsion control solution package for dynamic positioning.

The system uses a combination of Wärtsilä’s WST-E embedded electric steerable thruster and WST-R retractable thrusters, together with an updated remote propulsion control system featuring an enhanced user interface ProTouch, “to bring greater accuracy and reliability to dynamic positioning operations,” according to a company statement.

The solution’s retractable thrusters feature an 8-degree tilted propeller shaft, which can also be offered as an option for the main steerable thruster, depending on vessel layout.

This significantly reduces losses in the interaction between the thrusters and hull, and between thrusters, thus delivering the highest effective thrust. The effective thrust is increased by up to 15 to 20% compared to non-tilted thrusters, meaning less installed power is needed for the same DP capability.

The tilting unit is more efficient, reducing emissions and fuel consumption. Because rapid thrust response is of utmost importance,  the main thrusters can deliver faster steering speed and power ramping to ensure a quick response, should the DP capability require it.

“For offshore vessel operators, safe and reliable station keeping is essential. With this optimised thruster and control solution, Wärtsilä offers a DP capability solution that meets all required standards with a marked improvement in efficiency. This saves time, reduces costs, and enables an important contribution to decarbonising vessel operations,” said Lauri Tiainen, director of thrusters & propulsion control systems at Wärtsilä Marine.

This introduction comprises three elements: the new Wärtsilä WST-E embedded electric steerable thruster, the introduction of three new Wärtsilä WST-R retractable thrusters – WST-09R, WST-14R and WST-18R –, and the updated Wärtsilä ProTouch Remote Propulsion Control System user interface. Wärtsilä also has its transverse thrusters available for inclusion in the package.

The main thrusters have a compact design with an embedded electric motor in an L-drive configuration. This requires less space than regular L-drive thrusters, allowing these units to be fitted below a working or car deck. More generally, the new units fit into a space where typically Z-drive thrusters have been used. With the new WST-E solution, energy efficiency is enhanced, and the system is simplified.  

The three new Wärtsilä retractable thrusters are based on technology which has proven itself in the market in the already available, larger retractable thruster sizes. Wärtsilä is a market leader in providing thrusters with an 8-degree tilted gearbox technology, having introduced the concept in 2013. 

Instead of multiple small displays, the updated Wärtsilä ProTouch Remote Propulsion Control System further simplifies and improves the concept, which was originally introduced in 2013. It does this by first streamlining the number of screens used, and secondly through the use of larger screens. This enhances the ease of use and improves the situational awareness for navigators and chiefs, as well as reduces the installation efforts for the yards.