Bruntons Propellers has launched a new range of controllable pitch propellers (CPP) designed for installations up to 2,000hp. While controllable pitch has been around for a while, particularly in the field of commercial vessels, Bruntons claims its new CPP offerings differ in two ways. Firstly, the engineering aspects have been reconsidered to address issues associated with excessive blade wear and high spindle loads, and secondly the system is being offered with an intelligent control system that monitors fuel consumption – or battery use in the case of hybrid or electrical installations – along with speed, load, weather conditions and sea state and automatically adjusts propeller pitch to maintain speed at maximum fuel efficiency.
“It’s a conventional system that’s based on a previous design, and we got some development funds to basically redesign it and play around both with the configuration of the hub and also the blade design,” explains David Sheppard, manager at Bruntons Propellers. “We also worked in conjunction with another company to develop the control system – it maps into the engine and can monitor the fuel consumption and adjust the pitch setting of the propeller accordingly.” Moreover, the control system has additional benefits when used on a hybrid system, including the ability not only to optimise battery usage but also to optimise the regeneration of electricity.
“The control system is an option that is available,” Sheppard says, “but its not a prerequisite for every unit – it depends on what the client wants to achieve. But I think modern, larger yachts things are getting a bit more technical and complex and they are looking for more efficient ways of doing things. So this is a control system that can keep the fuel costs down. We can supply the entire package – the propeller, the shafts, whether you have an hydraulic system or a CPP gearbox on the back of the engine, and also the controls although you can use a number of companies’ control systems with our CPP.”
Sheppard says that on top of its existing Varfifold option – currently available in sizes up to 45 inches – the new CPP system will be targeted in particular at larger sailing yachts who can benefit from the ability to feather the prop and reduce drag while sailing. “It’s quite a niche market, but it’s one of the avenues – as well as the commercial sector – that we’re looking to supply this product to,” he adds.
That Bruntons is targeting the superyacht market becomes even more clear when Sheppard hints at future products that could soon be announced. “We already have larger versions of the CPP produced by our sister company Stone Marine Propulsions for installations in excess of 2,000hp,” he explains, “and a colleague of mine is currently in the Far East about to sign a contract for thruster systems and larger CPP systems for the commercial market and the superyacht sector, so watch this space…”