EPS thruster, developed by Van der Velden™ Marine Systems, is an electrically operated thruster system without gear and propeller shaft. Blades are connected to an outer ring, rather than to a hub. Having no clearance between the propeller and tube removes a likely source of cavitation. As a result, an extremely quiet and comfortable operation is assured. The company has recently announced that it has optimised the EPS production process to apply the latest electrical control techniques and design innovations.
The development of the EPS as a bow thruster unit has now entered into its first full-scale testing phase. The initial engineering of the EPS 800 has evolved around the system with seven-blade propeller to create a large blade surface to reduce cavitation, provide more balance, and develop final mounting design inside the yachts’ bow tunnel (including the necessary streamline bodies). Typical EPS installation will come as standard with a frequency converter, control stick and alarm panel for the wheelhouse position. The EPS will be available in the following power ratings:
- EPS 800 - 110,132, 160 kW (mid 2005)
- EPS 650 - 75, 90 kW (end 2005)
- EPS 550 - 55, 75 kW (2006)
- EPS 450 - 22, 37 kW (2006)
The first EPS has already been ordered by a yard in Taiwan. The system will be installed on a 70-metre motor yacht, due to be launched in the summer of 2005. Apart from tunnel thrusters the company is also working on retractable systems. This development has just started and it is expected that a new model EPS-R will be ready approximately six months after the standard EPS range of thrusters has been launched.