ABB is one of the maritime industry’s most diversified supplier of power, automation and propulsion systems and is currently looking to China to further market its cruise ship technology.
One of the areas that technology group ABB is engaged in is providing the technology that delivers safety, comfort, efficiency and sustainability to cruise shipping. As a result, the group claimed to be well prepared for the emergence of Chinese-built cruise ships.
For example, the first two 4,980-pax-capacity Chinese-built luxury cruise ships for Carnival Corp, to be constructed by the Fincantieri China State Shipbuilding Corp (CSSC) joint venture, serves notice of a shift in the cruise shipbuilding industry that has been dominated by Europe.
Both ships will be delivered under a new Carnival brand for the Chinese market from a new Shanghai Waigaoqiao yard cruise shipbuilding zone.
Claiming to be the leading power distribution and automation technology provider to the cruise ship market, ABB said is was taking a close interest in this development.
“Chinese shipbuilding is one of the most significant markets for ABB’s power and automation systems, Azipod propulsion units and turbochargers,” explained Alf Kåre Ådnanes, head of ABB’s Marine and Ports business in China. “Chinese shipyards are diversifying their portfolios and ABB’s long history in the icebreaking and cruise sectors is particularly relevant to China’s shipbuilders. We are part of the existing shipping cluster and can support Chinese shipyards in their strategy to build cruise vessels for China and for global customers.”
Ådnanes suggested that ABB finds itself in a unique position. “As well as being the leading supplier of electrical propulsion systems for passenger vessels, we have made deliveries for over 200 vessels to yards in China, many of which are highly advanced – such as research vessels, icebreakers and offshore vessels. We also have production up and running in China that supplies generators, motors and switchboards – many of the key components that are already being used by the European yards.”
As a group, ABB has been present in China for over 110 years. Today, the company has R&D activities, manufacturing, sales and services across 80 cities in China. “I think all of this makes ABB the perfect partner for power distribution, automation and propulsion systems for cruise ships in China,” Ådnanes says.
ABB Turbocharging has also been in China for decades, establishing long-lasting relationships and a joint venture in 2006 between ABB China and CSIC-Chongqing Jiangjin Turbo & Charger Machinery Co, Ltd. The Centre of Excellence for production of ABB turbochargers, plus six turbocharger service stations and three service points across the country contributes strongly to ABB’s position in the Chinese marine sector.
ABB recently secured contracts to supply electrical power generation and distribution solutions, Azipod propulsion system and turbochargers for the new Viking Line cruise-ferry to be built in China. The 13-deck, 63,000 gt, 2,800 pax vessel, being built at Xiamen Shipbuilding Industry, is scheduled to be delivered in 2020. There is also an option to build a second cruise ferry at the yard.
This is especially notable for ABB, as it represents the first application of Azipod propulsion in a cruise-ferry. The Azipod units will be delivered from Helsinki. Classed by DNV GL, the ship will feature Azipod XO units designed to match the ship’s Ice Class 1A Super notation. The newly developed two-stage turbocharging Power2 800-M will also be fitted on board this vessel.
“The Viking cruise ferry is a very advanced project,” said Marcus Högblom, Vice President of Global Sales, Passenger vessels and Azipod propulsion. “Although the ship will have a car deck, it will be as technologically advanced as a cruise ship, if not more. We are applying the very same standards as we would to a European-built cruise ship in terms of the complete power and electrical distribution systems and the propulsion plant. In this case, our organisation in China will fully benefit from our knowledge and experience in Europe, which in the end will benefit our customers.”
ABB’s service organisation is also global, Högblom said, undertaking scheduled service and maintenance of Azipod units and electrical systems for cruise vessels in China.
Globally, ABB Turbocharging also has a strong position in the cruise ship market that is highly relevant to the emergent Chinese luxury vessel market, claimed Paolo Tremuli, Senior Application Manager, ABB Turbocharging.
Power density and engine efficiency are key demands for cruise vessels, he explained, and these are applications that contribute to new generation engine technology. To support these developments, the ABB turbocharger portfolio has been extended, through competitive one-stage and two-stage solutions. The A100-M and the Power2 800-M series, respectively, are excellent examples of such solutions applied in this important and growing market segment, the company claimed.
“Keeping cruise ships at high occupancy and operating on tight schedules, will remain the number one requirement for cruise ship owners and operators,” Tremuli stressed, adding that ABB will continue developing lifecycle solutions, harnessing digital technologies to meet the specific needs of customers in this important segment.
“For our turbocharging solutions, this means no compromise on safety and reliability while maintaining uptime and performance in operations,” he said.
Högblom agreed, and believed ABB’s worldwide service capability will be a key contributor to the rise of ABB’s cruise ship business in China. “The global nature of ABB is beneficial from an installation, commissioning, operational and service point of view, and that is something that cruise ships benefit from as much as any other type of vessel,” he said. “The customer can take advantage of the benefits of digitalisation, such as remote monitoring, remote and predictive diagnostics, supported through ABB Ability Collaboration Operation Centres that are already connected to hundreds of vessels.”