Revolutionary Rudder Force Detection System for Dynamic Positioning Operation

Dynamic positioning ship maintains a correct position and path with the help of its rudder and propeller unit which is controlled by an auto pilot unit. To achieve this, different inputs are feed to the control unit from motion sensor, position sensor, gyrocompass, wind sensor etc.

The most affected systems on DP vessels are rudder and propeller systems, together known as azimuth type system, are subjected to continuous loading and working conditions. Different forces and stresses acting on this unit may damage the system in the long run.

Kongsberg and Becker Marine Systems have launched a system to measure the forces acting on the rudder. The system also gives the flexibility to use conventional rudder propeller unit in place of azimuth unit on DP vessels.

Representation Image – Credits:

What’s the need of such system?

As the Autopilot or AP of the ship takes input from different sensors, they are all subjected to inertia which results in over shooting or high rudder angle correction.

If such operation continues, unnecessary high forces will act on rudder and steering operation will increase, thus reducing efficiency due to hysteresis. This also increases power intake and hence fuel consumption which results in higher emission from ships.

If a measuring system is provided to measure forces on the rudder, the hysteresis can be eliminated or reduced, which will increase the efficiency of the system and life of the system.

What does the system do?

The sensors of the computer control unit senses resistance, rudder lift, rudder drag and forces on the rudder and feeds this data back to the unit.

The computer control unit Auto pilot, after calculation of received data, gives a better manoeuvrability and reduces forces on rudder.

Advantage of the system

  • Conventional rudder propeller can be used.
  • No limitation for installed power.
  • Usage of the rudder reduces.
  • Quieter and efficient rudder operation.
  • Response time of rudder reduces.
  • Better efficiency of the system.
  • Less maintenance cost.
  • The most important of all, it reduces fuel consumption and hence emission from ship.

References: kongsberg

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  1. Very nicely explained, I have recently done the DP Vessels Technical maintenance course, this is an valuable information in this field and of academic interest.

  2. A very informative article. One of the disadvantages of the azipod system that is not mentioned in the article, is: because the pods have to be below the hull (as shown in the photograph), you need additional depth of water in which to operate with this propulsion systems. Unless there is way in which it can be made retractable (which would be complicated and costly). So it is not suited for shallow water operations. Thanks.

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