Hydraulic Thruster System

1. Hydraulic Thruster System

After repeated call outs to an old and failing bow thruster system on a Dutch barge, Kilworth Marine Services were asked to design, install and commission a replacement.

The existing omnidirectional thruster consisted of a 3 cylinder air cooled Deutz engine coupled directly to the thruster propeller. This meant that the hatches had to be opened if the thruster was to be used for any period, and that the engine had to be started and stopped even if only a small push was required. The high number of start/stop cycles resulted in many different failures usually as a result of excessive vibration.

The new system consisted of a modern water cooled engine driving a hydraulic motor via a pump and electrically controlled valve. The engine is now started some time before it is required and thrust is only generated when a switch in the wheelhouse is operated.

Because the system is water cooled no hatches need to be opened even if the system is run continuously. In addition the design chosen for the hydraulic valve allows future use of the hydraulic power to operate the anchor windlass or a deck mounted crane.

The new system has operated trouble free for over 10 years.