A very important application, also, of this Mechanism is on an AZIMUTH THRUSTER
, replacing the speed reducer currently in use, using the "EXTREME"
, and/or transmitting power from the engine onto the hull of the vessel, to the propeller in the water, independently of the rotation of the steering bracket of the azimuth thruster with respect to the hull of the vessel, using the "ELEUTHERO"
This revealing right side section view demonstrates that the part of the mechanism which is in the water, under the hull of the vessel, remains exactly as it is in the mechanical azimuth thruster currently in use, achieving the required decoupling of the propeller drive rotation from the azimuth thruster steering rotation via the part of the mechanism which is inside the hull.
The connection with this Power Unit forms a Z-drive configuration, while the connection with the hand wheel forms an L-drive one.
With both configurations the results are the same: IMPRESSIVE ABSENCE of Reaction Torque.
There is no Reaction Torque even due to inevitable friction forces.
The most significant advantage of this application is that this mechanism transmits power from the shaft of a gearbox or even directly from the shaft of an engine, onto the hull of a vessel, to the shaft of a propeller which is supported on an ENDLESSLY ROTATING AZIMUTH THRUSTER and this takes place PURELY MECHANICALLY and INDEPENDENTLY (KINEMATICALLY and DYNAMICALLY) of the steering rotation of the azimuth thruster, inserting FOUR only additional moving parts between the gearbox and the propeller.
This process of independence, that means the absolute decoupling of the drive rotation of the propeller from the steering rotation of the azimuth thruster, TAKES PLACE INSIDE the HULL of the VESSEL and subsequently, from the vertical shaft to the propeller in the water, the configuration is exactly the same as in the mechanical transmission system (L-drive or Z-drive) currently in use.
However, there is a fundamental difference:
the way, by which the mechanical transmission system currently in use transmits power to the propeller, PRODUCES a REACTION TORQUE on the STEERING MECHANISM of the AZIMUTH THRUSTER which needs the continuous use of the azimuth orientation mechanism in order to compensate this reaction torque,
while this new mechanism allows the azimuth thruster to be oriented ABSOLUTELY NEUTRALLY to any direction without applying this reaction torque.
Additionally, there is no comparison with the hydraulic transmission system currently in use, since it is too complex and its use is environmentally unfriendly or even dangerous to cause direct hydraulic fluid pollution,
There is no comparison, also, with the electric propulsion system currently in use, since it is too complex, as well, and appears having low efficiency as there is the need of a first transformation of mechanical power from an ICE onto the hull to electric one via a generator, the problematic transmission of the electric power, via slip rings, to the endlessly rotating azimuth thruster, and a second transformation of electric power to mechanical one via a motor; additionally, the necessary use of a speed reducer renders the whole configuration irrationally bulky.
Another significant advantage is that using ONE only additional moving part, which can be incorporated within the already existing mechanism, achieves a drastic speed reduction which is required between the engine of the vessel and the propeller.
Finally, in close collaboration with the
National Technical University of Athens, a Project is running for:
- the designing (being in the last stage) and construction of a fully operational Prototype, where power is transmitted from a shaft, onto the hull of a vessel, to the shaft of a propeller, onto the endlessly rotating azimuth thruster, independently of the endless rotation of the azimuth thruster,
- the standardization of all critical parameters involved in the configuration of all the proposed azimuth thrusters, while the final goal is to render these configurations as the standard references for the azimuth thrusters of the next generation.