SKF has significantly upgraded its marine stabiliser production facilities in Hamburg, Germany, in response to growing demand from the cruise liner, large ferry and exploration vessel sectors. The new investments include a 130-tonne capacity heavy duty overhead crane, two new assembly stations for large stabilisers and additional production space dedicated to the manufacture of smaller units. The expanded facilities will allow SKF to increase production of its largest S800 stabiliser system from eight to 16 sets a year.
These stabilisers, which can be up to 12m long, 4m wide and weigh 120 tonnes, are used on the world’s largest cruise vessels to improve passenger comfort and safety in rough seas.
SKF has produced stabiliser fins for the maritime industry since the early 1960s and its products are in service today with more than 550 vessels around the world. The company has continually developed its portfolio of stabiliser technologies over that time, maintaining their position at the forefront of performance and efficiency. SKF’s latest innovation, entering production in 2017, is the Dynamic Stabiliser Cover, a flexible, inflatable Kevlar and neoprene fairing that reduces drag at the fin box opening by up to 90%, allowing vessel operators to achieve overall fuel savings of around one percent.
In addition to improving comfort on passenger vessels, stabilisers are used for safety reasons on cargo ships, and to help exploration vessels maintain a steady position while work is under way. SKF’s range of stabilisers includes both retractable and non-retractable models. The advanced hydraulic control systems employed across the range provide improved reliability and ease of use for crews, while reducing energy consumption by up to 20% in comparison with conventional systems.