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ZF Marine Propulsion Systems Power Cutting Edge Research Vessel

By MarEx 2012-04-03 16:26:39

ZF Marine – a leader in marine propulsion systems, is proud to be a systems supplier to the newly launched R/V Sea Scout.

The Sea Scout, built by All American Marine in Bellingham, WA, is believed to be the first catamaran featuring quad propeller propulsion.  Sea Scout will be used for various shallow and deep water survey activities as well as autonomous underwater vehicle operations.  The vessel is owned and operated by C&C Technologies, Inc. of Lafayette, LA.

The catamaran hull design was a departure for this traditionally monohulled vessel operator. Teknicraft Design Ltd. was charged with designing a vessel that could run efficiently at both high and low speeds for extended periods of time. As a result, a unique propulsion system was specified for the vessel, one that would enable the vessel to transit to site more quickly and stay on site longer. 

All American Marine turned to ZF Marine to help make this unique and complex propulsion system a reality.  The vessel is equipped with Two ZF 3055A transmissions mated to the two specified Caterpillar C32 main engines and two ZF 550V transmissions mated to two smaller Caterpillar C18s.  The four power packages are completed with shafting, Shaft Brakes (on the C18 systems), bearings, and custom propellers all supplied by ZF Marine.

All four propulsion systems are controlled by two sets of ZF SmartCommand™ control systems, one set for each of the vessel’s propulsion systems.  To minimize transit time to the research site, the power of all four engines is employed, giving the vessel a top service speed of 26 knots. 

When the vessel arrives on site, the large engines are shut down, and the vessel runs on the two smaller power packages that employ trolling valves. The trolling valves combined with SmartCommand’s AutoTroll™ functionality enables the crew to set exact vessel speeds - down to individual shaft rotations. Autotroll™ can be used for extended periods of time during survey operations without risk of damage to the transmissions.  This feature will be extremely useful in helping perform research activities on board the vessel.

“We’ve been excited to be a part of this unique project, it’s a great demonstration of our ability to partner with builders to help design and supply robust dependable solutions. The teams at Teknicraft and All American worked hand in hand with our in house naval architects to insure a reliable solution that meets the performance requirements of the owners.” Said Keith Sparks, Propulsion Manager, ZF Marine LLC.