No matter if shipping the seven seas or rivers and lakes: Voith Schneider propellers (VSP) steer ships safely and precisely. VSPs are particularly useful in ferries which often have to ensure maximum accuracy in manoeuvring.
Owing to the close cooperation between the seal and lubricant specialist from the Freudenberg Group, Freudenberg Sealing Technologies and Klüber Lubrication, the safety aspect also addresses environmental issues. "Voith Schneider Propulsion contacted Klüber Lubrication requesting a rapidly degradable lubricant", describes Horst Mögel, sales engineer General Industry, Segment Power Transmission, the beginnings of the project. As the lubricant and the seal has to be a matching combination, the two Freudenberg companies teamed up to design the suitable "Lube&Seal" package.
Klüberbio EG 2-150 is a rapidly biodegradable lubricant which is based on synthetic ester oil and contains a high percentage of renewable raw materials. Klüberbio EG 2 oils are non-toxic to marine organisms, bear the European Ecolabel and comply with the requirements of the 2013 Vessel General Permit defined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for classification as an Environmentally Acceptable Lubricant (EAL). Therefore, the new lubricant does not pose any danger to aquatic life in the event of a leakage. To prevent such an eventuality and ensure reliable operation, the rotary shaft seals (Simmerring) are made of a special FKM material which is resistant to ester. Extensive screening tests and analysis in the test bay at Weinheim confirmed the suitability of the environmentally safe seal/lubricant combination in the field.
A one-year field test provided the final proof:
The ferry "Michael" crossing the Rhine between Ingelheim and Oestrich-Winkel transports passengers and cars every 20 to 30 minutes. "After one year of operation, the oil seals still look as new", says Horst Mögel.
A couple of hundred kilometres upstream, on the Lake Constance, the combination of material and bio-lubricant also proves to be successful. The only difference is that it is not a synthetic ester oil but an ester-based bio-grease that is used for this ferry. The readily biodegradable special grease Klüberbio M 72-82 was developed by Klüber Lubrication especially for the eco-friendly lubrication of rolling bearings and other components operating under extreme maritime conditions. Klüberbio M 72-82 is highly resistant to water, protects components against corrosion, and due to its good adhesion enables long relubrication intervals. Another ferry will start using an eco-friendly lubricant on the North Sea in spring this year.