Van der Velden Marine Systems has introduced a new version of its award-winning EPS™ thruster. The new EPS™ Azimuthing Retractable thruster performs both propulsion and steering duties, making it is the ideal solution for superyacht dynamic positioning, station keeping and mooring. Compact, silent and easy to install, the EPS™ Azimuthing Retractable thruster offers phenomenal manoeuvrability and can turn 360o degrees in its own length. Capable of continuous use, it can also serve as the primary propulsion source on smaller yachts.
The first EPS™ was introduced in 2005 as a side tunnel thruster, offering a wealth of benefits above and beyond a traditional stern- and bowthruster. Its revolutionary construction without gear and propeller shaft means the blades are connected to an outer ring rather than a hub. Having no clearance between propeller and tube ensures an exceptionally quiet and comfortable operation.
As the electromotor driving the thrusters is integrated within the outer ring, the EPS™ has an ultra compact design and takes up very little space. Use of sophisticated bearings and other high-tech materials further enhance its reliability and low weight.
The EPS™ Side Tunnel thruster, which is also available in a retractable version, won the METS DAME award and the HME Dutch Innovation Award. It has become one of the first items on many owner specifications list when commissioning a new superyacht. Top yards to have already ordered the EPS™ include Royal Huisman Shipyard, Benetti, Fincantieri and Feadship.
The success of the EPS™ Side Tunnel thruster led to the development of a propulsion variant, with the blades designed for one direction rather than the two needed for a side thruster (port and starboard). Launched at the Monaco Yacht Show 2007, the EPS™ Azimuthing Retractable thruster can be freely rotated over 360 degrees, allowing for optimum operational freedom.
When used as part of a dynamic positioning or station keeping system, it enables the vessel’s main engines to be turned off. The results in terms of noise levels and comfort are exceptional and the absence of grease and oil makes the EPS™ very environmentally friendly.
The compact design of the EPS™ Azimuthing Retractable thruster means it can be placed in the skeg or stored below a swim platform when cruising. The unit is equally as robust as the EPS™ Side Tunnel thruster. Blades and bearings have been enhanced and the ring motor housing shaped into an efficiency improving nozzle. With a hydrodynamic stator providing extra propulsive power, the EPS™ Azimuthing Retractable thruster has enormous mechanical strength.
The first orders for the EPS™ Azimuthing Retractable thruster have already been placed. Feadship will install the unit aft on two new projects, combined with two EPS™ Side Tunnel thrusters in the forward part of each yacht.
With the capability of continuous use, the EPS™ Azimuthing Retractable thruster can also be deployed as a main propeller on smaller yachts. A non-retractable azimuthing version is under development.