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Thrustmaster conquers the world Thrustmaster of Texas, started 2012 with an order book worth more than 200 million US dollars, an excellent start for a new year for the American designer and builder of advanced marine propulsion equipment for vessels of all types. However, as Hans Hoek and Walter Leenes of Dutch-based Thrustmaster Europe B.V. explained, there is even more news to tell.

Sales Manager Europe Hans Hoek is responsible for sales activities for Thrustmaster in the Scandinavian countries and Poland. Walter Leenes, Senior Mechanical Design Engineer & ICE Class Vessels, has the Netherlands, Germany, France, England and Belgium as his operating territory, while newcomer Johan de Graaf is responsible for the Baltic States, Ukraine and Russia. “Having a sales office in Europe is essential,” explained Hans Hoek, “because Europe is the home base for many operators and offshore companies. Although they are increasingly having their ships fabricated in China and South Korea, the decisions on which businesses are allowed to supply equipment is still always taken at the head offices in Europe. Our task is to ensure that we appear on the makers’ lists of these operators and offshore companies, and that we are then able to convince them to opt for Thrustmaster systems.” In response to the request to list a few recent successes, Walter Leenes replied: “Boskalis-Smit is currently having two cable layers built at a yard in China. We are supplying all the thrusters for those vessels – each ship requires a bow thruster in a tunnel, two retractable thrusters and two thrusters for the main propulsion. For Dredging contractors Van Oord, for which company three split barges are currently under construction in the Far East, we also supplied the propulsion systems.”

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Offshore contracts

Although Thrustmaster, established in Houston in 1984, is still a relatively young company, it has already built up an excellent reputation in the offshore industry. For example, a large contract was recently signed with the offshore contractor McDermott for the upgrade of the Derrick Barge DB 30 with dynamic positioning capabilities (DP-2). Thrustmaster will provide McDermott with a turnkey DP solution for its heavy-lift and pipelay vessel, which will include eight 2,000 hp retractable hydraulic thrusters combined with a comprehensive unit of Kongsberg DP-2 electronic control systems. At the same time, drilling contractors are increasingly calling upon the special products from Houston. As Hans Hoek described: “For the two compact drilling ships Noble Bully I and Noble Bully II operated by Noble Drilling, we again supplied the main propulsion system, and for each of the new drilling ships currently under construction in South Korea for Diamond Offshore, we will be supplying a further six thrusters.” Walter Leenes added: “The catamaran crane vessel Titan is in fact equipped with eight of our thrusters. On top of that, the offshore support vessels of the Sea Trucks Group all operate with our systems.” Portable systems

Thrustmaster has also achieved considerable success with its portable systems. Walter Leenes again: “Any vessel can be equipped with our

patented portable system. For example, within three weeks, without docking, we can convert an empty barge into a self-propelled vessel with DP, including supplying a central control room.” One remarkable test involved a US Navy transport ship and a transport vessel operated by Dockwise. “During the test, a large quantity of rolling stock, including tanks, was transferred from one ship to the other, all based on the use of DP; in other words without anchors. To make this possible, five of our units were mounted on the sides of the Dockwise vessel – three on the port side and three on the starboard side. The test was a huge success.” Innovations

“One recent innovation was the marketing of the world’s largest diesel-hydraulic thruster,” continued Hans Hoek. “This thruster, with a power output of 2.2 MW, has further expanded our range. One of the strong points of Thrustmaster is that our company can supply thrusters ranging from 35 to 10,000 hp (8 MW), something unmatched by any other manufacturer. We are also unique in that we design and fabricate everything in house. Houston is soon to be equipped with a water basin in which we can test our own thrusters. Again, no other manufacturer has an equivalent facility. We have also invested in advance 3D measuring equipment, and have recently purchased one of the largest machining lathes anywhere in the United States.”

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