ZF Marine Launches New 4600 POD Propulsion System During FLIBS

Posted on November 7, 2022 at 2:18 PM by

The Maritime Executive

[By: ZF Marine]


  • Marine drive specialist ZF brings large POD propulsion to vessels up to 130ft
  • Optimized design leads to better performance with reduced fuel consumption
  • North American launch follows European debut aboard an Azimut Grande 26M yacht


Having successfully established its inboard and outboard propulsion technology for all ranges of boats and yachts in the recreational boating market, marine drivetrain specialist ZF now brings unparalleled technology performance and efficiency to large recreational and commercial vessels throughout North America. The 4600 POD propulsion system provides unparalleled speed and maneuverability for vessels between 80 and 130 feet. He first sailed on Azimut’s Grande 26M motor yacht last fallbut was not available outside of European markets until now.


Combining engineering expertise with decades of experience in the market, ZF continues its experience in high-performance marine drivetrain solutions with the 4600 POD propulsion system. Designed for planing hull and semi-displacement vessels up to 130ft and compatible with all major OEM engines up to 1700hp at a maximum of 2450rpm, the new drive technology is suitable for a wide range of recreational and commercial applications.


“We know that shipbuilders around the world rely on ZF to bring power, performance and reliability to a growing variety of vessels. And that’s exactly what we’ve achieved with the 4600 POD propulsion system for large boats,” says FEderico Decio, general manager of ZF in Padua and responsible for the yachting product line.


Progress in propulsion
The 4600 POD propulsion system can be configured in a two-unit (for vessels 80-100ft) and three-unit (for vessels up to 130ft) installation, depending on the application. For pleasure craft, this includes both planing and semi-displacement yachts; commercial applications include pilot boats, supply vessels, small ferries as well as patrol and rescue boats.


Twice the power for reduced fuel consumption
To achieve these goals, ZF has drawn on its strengths in innovation and its know-how in cutting-edge engineering. The 4600 POD has an optimized hydrodynamic shape that significantly reduces drag from submerged parts. This supports contra-rotating propellers and improves the overall horizontal thrust of the propulsion system.


Inside the 4600 POD, ZF has leveraged its automotive and off-road experience with newly designed gearing. Its 2.434:1 gear ratio allows for larger propellers (up to 38.5 inches in diameter), further increasing efficiency. Compared to other pod systems on the market, the 4600 POD system is up to twice as powerful while consuming up to 15% less fuel than a traditional shaft line propulsion system. On larger vessels, the 4600 POD system allows designers to reduce the number of POD units typically needed to achieve the desired speed. This reduces the complexity of on-board systems and reduces ship drag, further improving propulsion efficiency. Overall, the system’s streamlined design and contra-rotating propellers are optimized for top speeds between 20 and 32 knots.


More space and comfort
Along with better performance and precise handling, the 4600 POD propulsion system gives shipbuilders more freedom during the design phase. Engines can be mounted further aft, reducing the length of the engine room and thus increasing the space available for accommodation on pleasure craft and providing larger working areas on commercial vessels. Compared to conventional shaft line systems, the 4600 POD’s mounting solution with large rubber seals reduces structural vibration and therefore structural noise. The engine can also be installed on more flexible elastic supports since it does not have to absorb the thrust of the propeller.


The system comes with an integrated exhaust and clutch which eliminates the need for an additional gearbox. ZF also provides integrated hydraulic steering and state-of-the-art TotalCommand controls that include the iAnchor dynamic positioning feature. Plus, the PODs are hybrid-ready – a much-sought-after feature in an era of stricter emissions regulations in ports and other waterways.


Progress in propulsion
The 4600 POD propulsion system can be configured in a two-unit (for vessels 80-100ft) and three-unit (for vessels up to 130ft) installation, depending on the application. For pleasure craft, this includes both planing and semi-displacement yachts; commercial applications include pilot boats, supply vessels, small ferries as well as patrol and rescue boats.


Twice the power for reduced fuel consumption
To achieve these goals, ZF has drawn on its strengths in innovation and its know-how in cutting-edge engineering. The 4600 POD has an optimized hydrodynamic shape that significantly reduces drag from submerged parts. This supports contra-rotating propellers and improves the overall horizontal thrust of the propulsion system.


Inside the 4600 POD, ZF has leveraged its automotive and off-road experience with newly designed gearing. Its 2.434:1 gear ratio allows for larger propellers (up to 38.5 inches in diameter), further increasing efficiency. Compared to other pod systems on the market, the 4600 POD system is up to twice as powerful while consuming up to 15% less fuel than a traditional shaft line propulsion system. On larger vessels, the 4600 POD system allows designers to reduce the number of POD units typically needed to achieve the desired speed. This reduces the complexity of on-board systems and reduces ship drag, further improving propulsion efficiency. Overall, the system’s streamlined design and contra-rotating propellers are optimized for top speeds between 20 and 32 knots.


More space and comfort
Along with better performance and precise handling, the 4600 POD propulsion system gives shipbuilders more freedom during the design phase. Engines can be mounted further aft, reducing the length of the engine room and thus increasing the space available for accommodation on pleasure craft and providing larger working areas on commercial vessels. Compared to conventional shaft line systems, the 4600 POD’s mounting solution with large rubber seals reduces structural vibration and therefore structural noise. The engine can also be installed on more flexible elastic supports since it does not have to absorb the thrust of the propeller.


The system comes with an integrated exhaust and clutch which eliminates the need for an additional gearbox. ZF also provides integrated hydraulic steering and state-of-the-art TotalCommand controls that include the iAnchor dynamic positioning feature. Plus, the PODs are hybrid-ready – a much-sought-after feature in an era of stricter emissions regulations in ports and other waterways.

The products and services described in this press release are not endorsed by The Maritime Executive.

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