After successfully establishing its inboard and outboard propulsion technology for all ranges boats and yachts in the market, marine driveline specialist ZF is now bringing unrivalled performance and efficiency to large recreational and professional vessels. The new POD Propulsion 4600 system provides speed and unmatched manoeuvrability to vessels measuring from 80 up to 130 feet. It will first “set sail” in the Grande 26M yacht by Azimut and be presented to the public at this year’s Cannes Yachting Festival in September.Combining engineering expertise with decades-long market experience, ZF continues its track record in high-performing marine driveline solutions with the new POD Propulsion 4600 system. Designed for vessels with planing and semi-displacement hulls measuring up to 130 feet and compatible with all main OEM engines up to 1.700 hp at a maximum of 2.450 rpm, the new drive technology is suitable for a wide range of recreational and professional applications. “We know that shipbuilders around the world count on ZF to bring power, performance, and reliability to an expanding variety of vessels. And that’s exactly what we accomplished with the new POD Propulsion 4600 system for larger crafts,” states Federico Decio, Managing Director of ZF in Padua and Head of the Pleasure Craft Product Line.The POD Propulsion 4600 system can be configurated in a two-unit (for vessels measuring 80 to 100 feet) and three-unit layout (for ships measuring up to 130 feet), depending on the application. For recreational vessels, this includes both planing and semi-displacement yachts; professional purposes include pilot boats, supply vessels, small ferries as well as patrol and rescue boats. “In short, everything where both fuel-efficiency and manoeuvrability are key,” Decio summarizes.To achieve these goals, ZF relied on its strengths in innovation and know-how in state-of-the-art engineering. The PODs possess an optimized hydrodynamic shape which significantly reduces the drag of the submerged parts. This supports the counter-rotating propellers and improves the overall horizontal thrust of the propulsion.Inside the PODs, ZF has leveraged its automotive and off-highway experience for a newly designed gearing. Its reduction ratio allows for larger propellers, boosting efficiency even further. Compared to other pod systems on the market, the 4600 System is up to twice as powerful while still consuming up to 15 percent less fuel than a traditional shaftline propulsion. The 4600 system allows, on large vessels, to reduce the number of POD units necessary to reach the desired speed, which reduces the onboard systems complexity and reduces the vessel’s wet area, further improving propulsion efficiency. All in all, the design and propellers of the system are optimized for maximum speeds between 20 and 32 knots.Besides better performance and precise manoeuvrability, the new POD Propulsion 4600 System gives ship builders more freedom during the design phase. The engines can be mounted further aft, reducing the engine room and thus increasing available space for accommodations on recreational vessels and larger working areas on professional vessels. Compared to shaft line setups, the PODs’ mounting solution with larger rubber sealings reduces structural vibrations and, consequently, structural noise. The engine can also be installed on softer elastic mounts since it does not have to resist in terms of propeller thrust.