Nor-Shipping sees ABB building on $60 million order haul

Despite turbulent economic conditions, ABB arrives at this year’s Nor-Shipping having secured orders worth US$60 million in the first five months of 2009, built on the resilient offshore market and the high value cruise sector. The power and automation group is now looking to consolidate this success through new partnerships and the launch of its generation Azipod.

ABB reckons to have supplied systems on board around 50 per cent of the global deepwater drilling rig projects that have commenced since 2005. Again, some 150 offshore support vessels featuring electrical propulsion system from ABB Marine are due delivery before the end of 2010.

ABB has tended to participate in contracts as a sub-supplier to vessel designers, but the last 18 months have seen a significant strategic shift, with the company developing direct ties with yards themselves, as a new generation of shipbuilders tap into the energy saving electrical propulsion that was previously the preserve of European yards. Already, around 50 offshore support vessels that will feature ABB systems are now on order in China alone.

Strengthening its position, ABB comes to Nor-Shipping having signed a new contract with crane and steel structure builder Shanghai Zhenhua Port Machinery Co.Ltd (ZPMC) to jointly develop electric propulsion solutions for deep sea offshore vessels. The partners intend to offer ABB’s Compact Azipod capability for manouevring and station keeping to the untapped deep draught offshore vessel market, including heavy carriers and drilling platforms.

At the same time, ABB has been ramping up its Azipod unit power offering to the cruise ship market. Its largest 20.5MW podded propulsors, on board the first of class ship Celebrity Solstice, are already in operation. Azipull pods to the same design are being installed onboard the largest and most expensive cruise ships of them all – the 360m long Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.

Nor-Shipping 2009 will provide the platform for the formal launch of ABB’s ‘next generation’ large Azipod unit. The breakthrough product features a revised bearing and sealing arrangement, involving the complete separation of the oil and water seals, and a void space factored into the hull design to accommodate possible seal leakages or ingress from the sea. The hull has also been optimized, to allow greater access for internal sealing and bearing maintenance at sea.

Coinciding with the launch, all ABB’s Azipod units are being rebranded by size, product and usage. Large units will be denoted by ‘V’, while compact units will be denoted ‘C’. Next generation units will be denoted by ‘X’. Open water units will be further described ‘O’, while ice application units will be described as ‘I’, while units with a nozzle are described with ‘Z’.

During this week’s Nor Shipping event, ABB staff will be available to discuss developments across the full range of cruise ship, LNG carrier, OSV, drill ship & rig, and ice going ship applications. ABB will also be exhibiting its full range of drive, control and turbocharger technology.

Visit ABB at Nor Shipping, Stand E03-11.