The propulsor as a noise source

On seagoing vessels, propulsor systems cause two types of noise. There’s the noise you hear onboard the ship, called onboard noise. And then there’s the kind you hear underwater, also known as underwater radiated noise (URN).

Although the former has been of concern for some time, the latter is gaining in importance. What’s being done? Well, as you’ll see, we’re designing systems and conducting research to reduce both onboard noise and URN.

A whale of a problem

Ultimately, the requirements for noise reduction hinge on the type of shipping being done. While onboard noise tends to disturb passengers on passenger ships, URN is much more harmful to delicate underwater ecosystems. Take, for example, the Arctic or the Antarctic, sensitive areas where URN might affect seagoing creatures and habitats.

In the areas surrounding the Port of Vancouver, officials implemented reduced harbor fees for ships that met certain URN criteria, due to the sensitivity of the local native whale and mammal populations.

Around the world, fishing vessels are concerned with URN causing evasive behavior of fish, and research vessels often cite this noise as degrading the quality of underwater signal measurements.

Classification societies, such as DNV-GL, have also started implementing noise limits. Currently, not many vessels are URN classified, but that’s expected to change in the near future.

Noise Illustration 1
Figure 1: Example distribution of sound pressure level near a CRP ECO unit.

What causes the noise?

To meet demand for new or modified URN classified vessels, designers and shipyards should give due attention to all major noise sources on board.

On the propulsion side, they should concentrate on mitigating the two primary sources of propulsor noise. That means designing propellers and drive trains to be more silent. Propellers cause noise through water cavitation, and drive trains make noise with mechanical power transmissions and gears.


At Steerprop, we’re addressing both problems. Our CRP solution limits propeller noise by having two separate propellers, each with a lower loading, which helps prevent cavitation and lowers both onboard noise and URN.

We’ve also worked to reduce drive train noise with our special LM unit. Integrated with a permanent magnet (PM) motor, the LM unit removes the upper gear, replacing it with a more silent electric motor.

Noise Illustration 2
Figure 2: Example distribution of sound pressure level on the structure interface of a CRP ECO unit.

Studies for deeper insight

We also continue to seek new ways of understanding and reducing noise through joint research projects. We have been collaborating with Finland-based ATA Gears to study the impact of various geometries and components on noise. Using FEM calculations, we’ve studied noise excitation and noise transmission mechanisms in our Z, L and M units.  

For a RoPax ferry and an expedition cruise vessel, we have made both structure-borne noise and URN measurements. The latter were made together with Luode Oy, which specializes in underwater measurements.

While we’ve made some strides, many issues with onboard noise and URN are still difficult to predict since there aren’t public databases on the issue, especially for URN. For example, navies around the world hold URN data dear since they can use the URN to determine a vessel’s signature and figure out what type of vessel is in the water.

Regardless, we’re intent on conducting ongoing research and doing what we can to improve our solutions. That includes researching absolute noise levels, as well as gathering data and determining methods to help design and engineer quieter and quieter vessels.

We’re proud to be carrying out measurements with reliable partners and doing what we can to address the needs of customers and the environment.

Kari Kyyrö

About the Author:

Kari Kyyrö, Consulting Naval Architect. With 25 years working at a shipyard and 4 years working for Steerprop, Kari has accumulated vast experience in the various facets of designing ship hydrodynamics. One area in particular that interests him is how to reduce the amount of noise that ships produce, creating more comfort and sustainability with shipping.

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In shipping, it’s not easy being green

In a competitive international shipping industry, it’s not easy to balance environmental concerns with business demands.

But the world is changing, and something needs to be done. After all, 97% of all research shows that climate change is caused by humans and is harmful to the earth and everyone on it. And shipowners should also be willing to change their ways. If not, there are new regulations and prohibitive fee structures in place to encourage them to do so.

Sure, there’s a lot of talk in boardrooms about the issue of climate change and what to do about it. But business is business.

When capital is tight, shipowners and financiers tailor investment strategies to address short-term budgetary constraints. Too often, they are not in thinking of the environmental benefits of making a wise large capital investment that will pay out considerable operational savings down the road.

A shipowner, for example, might consider investing in a new ship – or upgrading an existing vessel – with an energy-efficient hybrid or electric propulsion system based on a permanent magnet (PM) machine that not only delivers long-term cost savings but also helps the environment. But these high-end components are often the first to be axed if a company is looking to keep costs in line in the near term.

At Steerprop, we think this needs to change. Therefore, we encourage the industry to take a more long-term view. It might cost more up front to invest in new technologies. However, the future savings from increased efficiency coupled with more eco-friendly operations can quickly lead to a sizeable return on investment. Upgrading to newer technologies means making a difference in the short run, while also future-proofing your vessels for the long term.

At Steerprop, we design each of our propulsor systems with unrivaled reliability, energy efficiency and low maintenance requirements – helping limit overall costs. Plus, you can reach the dock quicker, because azimuth propulsors allow excellent maneuverability.

Moreover, integrating our propulsors with the latest PM machines reduces the system footprint and makes it easier to install them into the vessel. Together, these technologies lower energy consumption and deliver more added value over the vessel’s lifetime. What’s more, each of our propulsor units features a Steerprop Care condition monitoring system. This tool provides predictive maintenance oversight that enables service scheduling at future port stops to help eliminate the need for emergency repairs on the high seas. As a result, we can help maintain service intervals that are significantly longer than any other system supplier on the market.

These are just the latest capabilities of a company that has proven dedication, experience and expertise. Since 2000, we have supplied over 800 propulsors to cruise, arctic, passenger, workboat and offshore vessels, as well as outfitted more than 85 ice-class units and made deliveries to 8 icebreakers. Now, with solutions such as Steerprop propulsors integrated with PM machines, we’ve begun a green revolution in the maritime industry. Our aim is not just to save fuel and improve operational performance – but also to shape the future of the world’s environment.


About the Author:

Mika Koli heads up the Sales and Marketing for Steerprop. Since joining the company in March 2018, his vision has been to drive a lasting change for the world by enabling vessels to operate in an environmentally sustainable and future-proof way.

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Shifting focus to ship-scale CFD in the marine industry

With the recent advent of high-end computing power, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) has become an indispensable tool in the marine industry. Beyond predicting performance parameters, a detailed flow pattern study enables designers to better design products to avoid undesirable flow features, such as separation on the housing, which in addition to increased drag can also subject the propeller to significant non-uniform inflow.

Ship-scale CFD is now gaining traction in a much broader way when it comes to propulsion solutions – from the predesign stage to final tailoring of the unit’s propeller blades. These state-of-the-art computational tools have also greatly extended our design capabilities at Steerprop, enabling our designers to offer tailor-made solutions.

Below are just some of the ways that ship-scale CFD is bringing new benefits to vessel designers, shipowners and system integrators.  

Capture of a hub vortex: Identifying energy losses is essential to improving the performance of the propulsor unit.

Choice of propulsors: When shipowners select the right propulsion units for their vessels, the decision is still primarily based on comparative performance using model scale tests.

With a greater shift towards using azimuth propulsors in modern ships, however, unit performance is significantly affected by scale effects. The reliability of traditional empirical methods in scaling the performance of these units, especially ducted ones and podded propulsors, is still a great concern. Therefore, a need is opened up to supplement model scale tests with CFD tools to accurately predict the azimuth propulsor performance.

Shape your housing: An optimized gear housing is essential from the perspective of overall azimuth propulsor unit performance. CFD, coupled with 3D modeling tools, has enabled us to carry out detailed investigations by defining and optimizing the housing in terms of geometry parameters, like housing length, torpedo diameter, strut distance from propellers and more.

A better understanding of their individual and combined effects through interaction on overall propulsor performance has enabled designers at Steerprop to better design our units, even in off-design and steering conditions.

With developed accuracy and confidence in modern computational tools, our focus has nowadays been more on optimizing the housing and thus our units at ship scale, rather than defining the unit’s performance with model tests.

Design your propeller for actual flow conditions: In times when there are conflicting design requirements for minimum-to-no-cavitation, low-noise and high-efficiency propeller units, it becomes more essential for designers to ensure that the inflow conditions are properly captured.

Traditionally, the design of propeller blades considers the nominal wake data obtained from model test and couples it with not-so-reliable empirical extrapolation schemes. Today, computational tools, like BEM-RANS coupling, further improve the design process by making ship-scale effective wake available.

This has greatly improved our ability to predict behind-the-ship cavitation performance and thus avoids overly conservative designs.

A sea of new opportunities

The integration of these tools in our daily design process, with the level of detail in their prediction, is limited only by computing power. Additionally, the growing availability of on-board monitoring data on modern vessels will further extend the reliability and performance of these tools in days to come. At Steerprop, we’re always on the lookout for new ways to put our computational tools to use for improved propulsion power.

About the author:

Mahish Mohan brought his CFD knowledge to Steerprop just over one year ago. He is now driving the company’s and team’s capabilities forward in their use of computational tools for tailor-made customer solutions. After Steerprop brought this advanced capability in-house, the company now has a competitive edge when putting this special expertise into practice.

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True power train optimization is holistic

Optimizing how something as powerful as vessels use of energy is a huge endeavor. Luckily, there are ways that support your work to achieve maximum efficiency, starting with the propeller.

What exactly leads to hydrodynamic propulsion efficiency? Instead of trying to optimize the individual components within a power train, our approach at Steerprop is to consider all critical components in a holistic manner. This includes frequency converters, generators and other power consumers. We also look at the cooling and auxiliary equipment, that add to the total cost, but are often forgotten.

We start with the propeller. This is where mechanical energy is converted to thrust to propel the vessel. If the propeller is inefficient – or the best propulsion efficiency is not achieved for every type of vessel operation – the rest of the power train needs to be overdimensioned to transmit the power required for different propulsion needs.

When the power train is overdimensioned, it is constantly operating in partial load mode. This means the best possible efficiency cannot be achieved through the power train.

Figure 1 shows how power train losses are born. By increasing efficiency on the right side, the losses on the left become automatically smaller as you move from right to left.

Figure 1. The basis of Steerprop’s efficiency doctrine: fuel to thrust chart.

To help shipowners and design offices analyze the efficiency of their entire drive train and reach the best possible performance at sea, we have created an approach that considers the holistic power train.

Together with partners in our ecosystem, we can deliver a complete power train that encompasses the propulsor drive solution, our propulsor and permanent magnet generators for efficient power distribution. With this solution, the vessel’s electrical power is created with permanent magnet variable-speed generators connected via inverters to a common DC link. The generators and power battery bank continuously operate in parallel. Energy storage systems, such as a battery, can be used for peak-shaving functionality. Other power sources can also be included.

When combining these with a careful design and thoughtful decision on the choice of propulsor, the efficiency of the whole propulsion line can improve significantly.

This energy optimization balancing act, when done right provides both short- and long-term benefits that include more profitability though greater hydrodynamic efficiency, less chance of disruptions such as surges and blackouts, lower and more predictable maintenance costs.

What’s more, an optimized solution offers the flexibility to use power input from different sources. This enables vessels to be designed using alternative power sources to reduce their carbon footprint and meet the increasingly more stringent CO2 regulations. 

About the author:

Juho Rekola works as Chief Design Engineer at Steerprop. He has been involved in marine technology from the beginning of his career, focusing on high-efficiency solutions for the industry.

Today, he works closely with electrical and hybrid power to bring the marine industry the best solutions for tackling climate change and rising operational costs. He feels that optimizing the entire power train holistically is the best way to achieve maximum efficiency.

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Successful project management propels us forward

The key to successful project management is simple: we always need to deliver on time and without any extra costs. This is critical in each project.

Over the years, Steerprop has built up a solid reputation among our customers for excellent project management, specifically for these reasons. We’ve focused on setting the bar high for ourselves by choosing responsible project managers who have excellent communication skills, strong technical backgrounds and are outstanding team players.

One thing that makes our project management style unique is that we take responsibility for all aspects of our projects, including the classification process. While this means more time and responsibility for us, it also gives us better control over the projects we work with. As a result, our customers benefit considerably. That’s because of our wider commitment to ensuring each project reaches a successful completion and gives them exactly what they asked for.

We use various programs to track each project’s progress. All documentation, including any agreed-upon changes, are saved online in one unified place. This allows everyone involved in the project instant access to detailed information at any time.

We work hard to keep our projects on course and make sure that our suppliers deliver the required components both on time and up to quality standards. If any component delivery is late, there may be project delays. This is when communication with our customers is highly important.

Our style is such that we are always honest with our customers. Should anything steer our projects off course, we let them know immediately. Steerprop has highly skilled personnel who are committed to putting in additional hours to solve any problems that may arise.

For any problem we run into, I know there’s always a solution. Sometimes, it is easy to find. Other times, it can be challenging. Regardless, we just closely work with every department, supplier and customer to make sure our fast communication and flexibility result in successful project delivery.

We also make sure to ask our customers for feedback on meeting their expectations and how well they feel their expectations were met. This is how we can single out ways to improve on our delivery. At the end of the day, we want our customers to be happy. Pleasingly, our proactive management style has received good feedback. Recently, the manager of a Russian shipyard asked for a face-to-face meeting to express his satisfaction with an ongoing project. 

Another – and possibly most important – component to Steerprop’s success in project management is our highly skilled and talented personnel. We believe in motivating each other through humor and a positive attitude. This, in turn, allows us to give our best to our customers, helping them complete their projects on time and within budget.

We feel this is something we always do well – because it’s simply the Steerprop way.

About the author:

Juha Jusi has worked as Project Manager at Steerprop for nearly two years. Before starting at the company, he was involved in project management in various fields for many years. 

In his opinion, successful project management requires proactive communications, complete honesty and outstanding teamwork. These are some of the main reasons Steerprop has earned its unrivaled reputation for excellent project management among customers worldwide.

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Do you know the basic dimensioning principles for arctic propulsors?

Understanding how ice loads affect vessels is critical when designing and dimensioning propulsors that provide top performance and fuel efficiency, while not harming the fragile arctic environment.

How to best dimension every propulsor depends on the requirements of each ice class. So to ensure the best results when designing each propulsor, it is important to check all classification requirements for that vessel. The ice class rules for Arctic Vessels in most class societies follow the IACS Unified Requirements for Polar Ships, with PC 1 being the hardest ice and PC 7 being the weakest – old ice , in general, being harder than new.

The nature of the ice, and how much pressure is required to break through, affects the load, so it is vital to understand how ice load affects the propulsor under the water. The class rules dictate how to dimension the housing to break through different ice load magnitudes.

For example, the longitudinal load is factored differently than the transversal load, which is more critical with respect to the propulsor design. Still, both must account for the load of a consolidated ice sheet that slides down the hull and impacts the propulsor. Especially with azimuth thrusters, the transversal load can play a major role. Still, all directional ice loads and magnitudes need to be considered as they hit the propulsor from different sides while the vessel cuts through ice.

When dimensioning arctic propulsors, Steerprop analyzes the impact of ice loads on the slewing ring dimensioning – the hull attachment inside the ship’s hull, with bolts dimensioned to provide the strength of the housing that withstands the ice loads.

For most ice classes, Steerprop recommends stainless steel propellers, but bronze propellers are also available for lighter ice classes. Blade scantlings are calculated according to class rules. The entire propeller can be delivered as a monoblock or built with blades bolted on, which are easier to replace with a spare blade, even underwater at sea, rather than changing an entire propeller.

Pushing and pulling have traditionally been the preferred propulsor type, but recently Steerprop’s contra-rotating propulsion (CRP) technology has been gaining traction with Arctic expedition cruise vessels. Electric steering combined with CRP works well, in particular for ice classes, and is more energy efficient. In addition, it is silent.

Furthermore, our pollution-free sealing solution for the severe vibration conditions caused by operating in ice has proven effective through experience.

Each ice class affects not only the final propeller design and configuration but also its power transmission gear design and steering. Steerprop uses a unique gear transmission design with the proper and effective load-carrying contact area and pattern that can maintain the safety margin for any unexpected load.

Every Steerprop propulsor also comes with high-quality roller bearings for the very best performance. To maintain consistent quality, the company has worked with only two or three top-flight bearing manufacturers over the years.

The most important outcome is to be able to ensure that the vessel can handle even unexpected loads and safely make it through the ice, even if the propulsor is damaged.

That’s why Steerprop uses computerized ice simulations to take the entire line into consideration, including the torsional vibrations from the whole system. We then provide our complete analysis of the forces to the ship design house or shipyard to further calculate the hull strength needed.

Ultimately, the classification societies set the rules. But it is up to us to calculate, simulate and formulate how much tension and deformation would be allowable at each point in the propulsor for a safe voyage above and beyond the rules, in the actual arctic marine environment.

Our mission is to give modern-day vessels the ability to venture more efficiently and safely into the icy frontier.

About the author:

Olli Knihti, graduated as a B. Sc. of Mechanical Engineering, from the Porin Teknillinen Oppilaitos in 1985. 

Olli started his career at the maritime industry in 1986 and has worked at Steerprop Ltd. since the year 2001. His responsibilities have been in project, warranty and Sales. 

In recent years Olli has been involved in the development of Steerprop product line, including the demanding arctic units for the world´s harshest environment.

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Propulsion through the years

The propulsion business has experienced amazing innovations over the past several decades, and Aarno Niemi, Automation Manager at Steerprop, has seen it all. From design changes to business communications, technology is leading the shift. Niemi predicts one of the biggest changes is environmental friendliness.

Aarno Niemi joined the propulsion business in 1980 when technology was new in propulsion. He started with electric drives for locomotives, working on a project with the first megawatt-size frequency converter in the world.

He first worked in the marine business with deck machinery, when controls were simpler but unexploited. Niemi has seen changes in materials, calculations, knowledge and design tools, which now enable our company to design ultra-efficient propulsors for big and demanding vessels. Through technology development and new software over the past few decades, the business and design of propulsion systems have made great strides and opened up room for even more innovation in the marine market.

When Niemi first got into propulsion design in 1985, the controls were only manual, mechanical and pneumatic. There was no software. Over the years, the design tools have changed significantly. “Some time at the end of the 80s came electric controllers. They were in-house made electronic cards. At that time came the first processors to make the programs,” states Niemi.

In the late 80s, our company got its first CAD system, which Niemi explains was very straightforward to use. Since then, CAD system development has exploded onto the market, and we have seen great success in further simplifying the design process. The copying machine became another important tool to speed up design time.

Following this development was an active period of multiple changes in the marine market at the end of the 90s. We designed the first ice-breaker-class azimuth propulsor during this time, which was originally more popular for tug and workboats. As these propulsors became more reliable and efficient, cruise ships started using them. “That was the start of the new era of propulsor systems,” claims Niemi.

The next big change was the introduction of the first high-power PLCs in the early 2000s. The mathematics inside the PLC made them economically ideal for reliability and ease of use. It was simple technology and became popular because of the affordable price. Mechanical thrusters further helped the entire market to continue to thrive.

Throughout his many years in the business, Niemi has also seen big changes in the way communications have evolved in the marine market. Communication became more and more efficient throughout his career. In the beginning, all communications happened by writing letters, taking about three weeks to send and receive client requests. After telex and fax technologies were used more commonly in the late 80s, business communications started to speed up.

As the use of technology increased in propulsor design, it also helped improve communications. We now have Skype and email to communicate on a regular basis from remote locations. Personal presence is not as necessary as it was in the beginning of Niemi’s career, so communication is now much more productive.

During his decades-long career, Niemi has seen patterns of volatility within the marine market. Nearly every ten years he has noticed a market slump, with the biggest one in 2008.

What has remained constant, though, is the increase in propulsor efficiency over the years, which will also lead to big changes in the future. Niemi is convinced that the biggest thing coming is the green side of the business. Adding batteries and having vessels run on LNG is improving environmental friendliness within the marine market.

Advanced machinery, coupled with the use of electrical, hydrogen and battery-powered vessels, is encouraging the move to go green. This combination offers unmatched reliability and efficiency, as well as cuts service and fuel consumption costs.

Niemi predicts the next five to ten years will show even bigger changes, especially when it comes to the use of electric motors and permanent magnet motors within the company, which are the next thing on the horizon for us at Steerprop. These motors can be installed inside a vessel’s hull, which cuts maintenance costs.

The combination of these two technologies will propel us into the next big wave of change in the marine market and help us continue to pioneer the industry.


About the author:

Aarno Niemi is recently retired Senior Automation Manager of Steerprop. Aarno received M. Sc. degree in electrical engineering from the Helsinki University of Technology in 1981 and has worked in marine industry for over 30 years. In the recent years he has been involved in development of high power CRP (Contra-Rotating Propellers) propulsion units and superior azimuth propulsor with integrated permanent magnet (PM) motor.

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Steerprop Care – an integrated system for propulsion condition monitoring

One of the worst things that can happen to a vessel at sea is when a key component or system breaks – and help is far away.

Today, that no longer needs to be a concern. We’re delivering condition monitoring as standard with every Steerprop propulsors, enabling shipowners and crews to achieve the highest reliability for their vessels – and ultimately, attain peace of mind.

The Steerprop condition monitoring system, called Steerprop Care, consists of equipment with the latest technology in the industry, coupled with today’s cloud computing. It enables us to accurately interpret the condition of the propulsion unit and its components. It also allows crew members to follow trends in their machinery and detect in advance any deviation that could affect the propulsion system. This offers shipowners and crew the highest possible reliability, based on enhanced predictability, safety and productivity. By taking a proactive approach, costly breakdowns can be avoided.

When you can predict failure in rotating equipment before it breaks down, you save time and avoid any safety issues along with the direct and indirect costs of a breakdown at sea. Condition monitoring allows you to plan and schedule a replacement before issues occur. It gives you a better understanding of the scope and extent of service needed. Moreover, it is much cheaper when you know beforehand that a component needs to be replaced. You do not need to replace any components prematurely. You can plan your dry-docking in advance, avoiding additional costs and time pressures, for the repair work.

Safety is every vessel’s #1 priority. The reliability achieved with condition monitoring increases safety by reducing the number of lost-time incidents caused by unplanned breakdown work. Studies show that maintenance technicians are those most likely to be injured, especially when they have less than two years of experience and are doing reactive work, fixing something in a rush rather than using a proactive approach to help them repair or restore it before it breaks. Accidents happen five time more often during unplanned breakdown work. This is because everyone is in a reactive mode under pressure – correcting a fault as quickly as possible, rather than having the option of calmly planning ahead.

Also, the economic benefits of condition monitoring are substantial. By increasing predictability, it takes less time to fix problems. This lowers maintenance costs and raises productivity, driving costs down.

Steerprop now includes Steerprop Care Standalone condition monitoring system as a fully integrated part of every propulsor delivery. This gives you a view of alarms, trends, time waveforms and spectrums. Now both ship owners and crews can rest more easily, knowing they have the safety and reliability of a condition-monitored vessel.

We also offer an online monitoring service, called Steerprop Care Plus, as a second-level option at an affordable price. This transfers the work of monitoring to Steerprop engineers, who follow your propulsion system’s trends and notify the crew of any development that might cause future problems. Steerprop Care Plus monitors the complete propulsion system, including signals and alarms from the control system, along with traditional vibration measurements.

Our third level, Steerprop Care Premium, includes all features from the Plus version with additional vibration measurement points and added oil monitoring sensors that measures particles, water content, temperature, die-electricity, conductivity etc.

Steerprop Care Plus and Premium both offer an optional real-time fleet overview, with an informative view of the propulsion system condition. This enables our customers, such as fleet managers, to follow their fleet’s propulsion system condition regardless of time or place. The fleet overview is a flexible tool that can be tailor-made to fit every customer’s needs.

With this online support, we follow trends, alarms and real-time data to monitor whether any vibrational or other issues in the propulsion system are developing. We provide quick response time, and all trends and data are stored in the cloud so they can be viewed from your laptop or tablet anywhere in the world.

Steerprop Care condition monitoring gives you just the support you need. Our technicians are ISO 18436-2 certified vibration analysts and fully committed to your safety. Steerprop is taking reliability to a completely new level, by enabling you to take a proactive approach to maintenance and safety with every propulsion delivery.

About the author:

Jarkko Sirrola, Predictive Maintenance Manager at Steerprop, is passionate about condition monitoring and seeing any emerging fault before it becomes a costly challenge. For him, predictability, safety and productivity all add up to unrivaled reliability. In fact, we so strongly believe in this proactive approach, we’re adding our Steerprop Care condition monitoring system in every propulsor system delivery. We’re happy to tell you more.

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Customer satisfaction – priority one

Quality management is at the foundation of all Steerprop operations. Over the last two decades, Steerprop has built a reputation for delivering high-grade propulsors tailored to specific requirements. Our foremost priority is to ensure our customers receive the best propulsors on the market, designed for their needs. Determined and experienced in the pursuit of quality design and manufacturing, Steerprop has developed comprehensive quality policy guidelines and processes, which have been DNV-GL certified since 2010.

We strive to deliver flawless propulsors that exceed our customer expectations. This kind of consistent quality requires attention, diligence and commitment, with propulsors tailor-made to ensure next-level efficiency – regardless of the vessel profile.

Well-defined methods, standardized routines and structured policies guarantee that expectations are always met and often exceeded – despite the wide design variations. To standardize our excellence, we have developed strict quality policy guidelines and a specialized in-house quality process to regulate our product development lifecycle.

Our management is committed to continuous product and process improvement, focusing on progressive performance enhancements every step along the way.

Our customers are always our focus. We strive to understand their needs and use our expertise to develop products to fit their requirements and seamlessly fit the other systems they use. Our customers’ satisfaction is what drives our business.

Our products are at the forefront of propulsor technology, with the latest innovations to make sure our customers receive advanced, efficient and reliable propulsor solutions. We build quality in – from planning, through design and manufacture, to service planning and support throughout our products’ lifetime.

Often using independent assessment, Steerprop manages quality in all ways, at all times:

  • Regular internal audits, with special in-house quality assessment
  • Auditing of partners and suppliers, to maintain Steerprop quality
  • Annual management reviews to foster continual improvement
  • DNV-GL certified, including ISO 9001:2015, with annual inspections.

Managing quality also means handling customer complaints. Steerprop treats this, rare though it be, as a priority – with long-term satisfaction always as our ultimate goal.

About the author:

According to Maiju Tsokkinen, Quality Manager at Steerprop, managing quality means being consumer-focused in every department and operation. Maiju mentions how much she enjoys working with customers and emphasizes that one of the biggest challenges is to maintain top quality in tailor-made projects – which is how Steerprop earned its reputation and where it excels. Just ask our customers.

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New W series of propulsors

Proudly introducing Steerprop W series propulsors

Azimuth propulsors have been used successfully for years in all types of vessels worldwide. They replace a conventional propeller and rudder by using a 360° rotating propeller unit to increase a ship’s maneuverability and reduce the amount of space required inside the hull. Now, Steerprop is ready with its newly designed W series of propulsors to help today’s vessels reach the next level of efficiency.

Since the turn of the millennium, Steerprop has delivered its advanced azimuth propulsors to hundreds of vessels to enable them to operate with higher efficiency. The purpose of this latest redesign was to make the propulsors better in all aspects by using carefully chosen manufacturing methods that have evolved over time and best suit current requirements.

This has led to propulsors with outstanding performance capabilities and improved cost efficiency. Special by design, the new W series propulsors are ready to offer unmatched versatility with unrivaled potential, even for hybrid solutions.

The increased modular design flexibility of the new series of propulsors makes them ideal for all types of ships, regardless of the task at hand.

The propulsor’s high hydrodynamic efficiency is exceptional for its class due to the shape of the frame. When high bollard pull is needed, nozzles with outstanding hydrodynamics can be added.

More mechanically robust and simplified construction improves durability and leads to better flexibility, one of the key design principles from the start of the new series. This allows the propulsor to be easily adapted to all different kinds of operations. The electrical turning gear comes standard.

Better cost effectiveness has been achieved through modularity and by using carefully selected manufacturing technologies available.

Janne Martikainen

According to Janne Martikainen, Chief Design Engineer at Steerprop and project leader, the redesign was a two-year-long project, involving the input of a wide group of people from different departments, including mechanical and electrical engineering, production and sales.
Janne and the group feel the wide-ranging, yet close teamwork of this way of working enabled them to produce an unquestionably better product.



This process shortened the time to design a unit acceptable to all departments within Steerprop. It even made production smoother for the redesigned cutting-edge propulsor.
When the W series was ready for market launch, the sales team already knew it well.