Widely applicable POD propulsion system by ZF

To gain more insight on the ZF POD 4600 we asked Sander Snoek, Business Development Manager, to answer a few questions.

What kind of drive is the POD 4600?

The POD 4600 is designed by ZF for use on large recreational and professional vessels. The system provides unrivalled performance, efficiency and maneuverability to vessels measuring up to 40 meters at maximum speeds of up to 34 knots.

This POD is twice as powerful as its closest competitors on the market. Compatible with all main OEM engines up to 1.700 hp at a maximum of 2.450 rpm. To optimize the POD for the application, different specifications are available.

What are the envisaged applications of the Pod 4600 system?

Yachts, pilot boats, supply vessels, small ferries as well as patrol and rescue boats are a few examples where maneuverability plays an important part. “In short, everything where both fuel-efficiency and maneuverability are key,” Federico Decio, Managing Director of ZF in Padua, summarizes.

Could you tell more about the technique involved?

The optimized hydrodynamic shape of the POD significantly reduces drag of submerged parts, boosting the efficiency of the counter-rotating propellers, resulting in an overall improved horizontal thrust of the propulsion system.

The POD units are independently rotatable up to ±30 ° making rudders unnecessary which further reduces the drag of submerged parts. The upper gearbox is equipped with all familiar ZF gearbox techniques and thus makes it possible to reverse the direction of rotation of the propellers and to troll the unit.

Because the 4600 system is relatively powerful, less POD units are required to achieve similar performance. This not only simplifies the propulsion system but also further reduces the wet area of the vessel.

Are these POD’s built for the future?

Yes. The new POD propulsion units are optimized for hybrid drives which are becoming crucial in times of stricter emission requirements in e.g. ports. In combination with the reduced fuel consumption and optimized hydrodynamic shape, this system will be fully compatible with the requirements for the foreseeable future.