SKF’s industry leading technologies and design engineering support are helping to enhance the reliability and reduce the life cycle cost of propulsion units that will drive the most powerful liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers in the world.
The Azipod® propulsion units, developed by ABB, are being installed on the 170,000-cubic metre ice-breaking LNG tankers that will be used as part of the Yamal project to open up gas from the Yamal peninsula and transport it to Asia and Europe. The project, which will see the first vessels commissioned in South Korea in 2016, is expected to produce 16.5 million metric tonnes of LNG per year. However, this does not come without its own unique set of challenges as the Yamal peninsula is located inside the Arctic Circle and is locked in ice for most of the year.
Azipod propulsion units - Image: ABB
Indeed, the remote and fragile environment will be extremely harsh and calls only for machinery and components that are rugged enough to keep going in severe operating conditions at all times throughout the year. Consequently, ABB Marine chose to work with SKF on the development of its Azipod propulsion units for 10 LNG carriers because of its application engineering expertise, particularly in demanding applications, and proven reliable innovations. Included in SKF’s offering are custom made thrust bearing arrangements, which incorporate housing and seals, and high performance self-aligning CARB toroidal roller bearings for the propeller shafts. By implementing such products, ABB was able to build in superior operating reliability with a long service life. SKF has a successful background of more than 10 years of engineering and delivering units for ice going projects which still today are in service.
In addition, SKF is providing assembly and installation supervision in the ABB Marine factory. Sami Kontturi, Project Manager at SKF, said: “We are privileged to be lending our expertise and state of the art technologies to one of the largest industrial undertakings in the Arctic. With our engineering support and products we can help ABB and its Azipod propulsion units to deliver enhanced performance and efficiency on the LNG carriers as the Yamal project takes a great step forward in the global search for natural resources.” In addition to the bearing arrangements supplied for the Yamal vessels, SKF has also delivered Turbulo Bilge water separators and SKF BlueMon, an environmental monitoring system for recording and mapping ship emissions.