As part of it's ongoing research and development program SMM has investigated the potential for improvements in efficiency by means of unconventional propeller designs. In particular, the Company has entered into an agreement with the Danish consultants J. J. Kappel Marine Concept, to develop and market a new propeller type which incorporates a form of winglet integrated into the blade geometry by means of an adaptation of rake at the blade tips.
Extensive research into the KAPPEL propeller has been carried out under the European Union funded KAPRICCIO project. The Partners involved in this multi-national co-operative venture comprise of Stone Manganese Marine Ltd (UK), Hamburgische Schiffbau Versuchsanstalt GmbH (Germany), J. J. Kappel Marine Concept (Denmark), Danish Maritime Institute, Technical University of Denmark, Dampskibsselskabet NORDEN A/S (Denmark).
The KAPRICCIO project has involved an extensive programme of numerical and physical modelling of the Kappel propeller. Design and analysis procedures have been refined, propeller definition and production procedures addressed enabling the energy saving device to be confidently launched onto the market for both new buildings and retrofit applicationsDue to its particular feature of a curved rake at the blade tips the Kappel propeller is more easily manufactured than similar propellers involving plates connected normal to the blade tips. As a result, the increased manufacturing costs are only marginally more than that for the equivalent conventional propeller.