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Meticulous manufacturing process for the enormous propellers that propel the largest ships around the world, highlighting the ingenuity and precision involved from conception to installation

15 May 2024 to 14: 34
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Meticulous manufacturing process for the enormous propellers that propel the largest ships around the world, highlighting the ingenuity and precision involved from conception to installation
Photo: IA/Representation

The manufacture of ship propellers longer than 20 meters is a complex process that involves everything from hydrodynamic testing on scale models to the casting of advanced metallic alloys. The meticulous production process includes detailed design, rigorous towing tank testing, high-temperature casting, and meticulous manual finishing, ensuring that each propeller not only meets stringent technical requirements, but also improves the efficiency and economy of the marine giants.

The first step in manufacturing a marine propeller is creating a scale model. This model is tested on a trailer tank to analyze the flow of water and collect crucial data for the final design of the propeller.

With the data in hand, experts design the propeller, defining its dimensions, weight and number of blades. A reduced model is then created and tested again to ensure its effectiveness. Once approved, the design is turned into a cement and quartz sand mold, which is key to the next step.

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The heart of the process for making a ship propeller is casting.

Metals such as copper, aluminum, nickel and iron are melted at high temperatures to form a bronze alloy. Before being poured into the mold, the metal is tested to ensure it is free of impurities that could compromise the quality of the propeller.

After casting, the mold is left to cool for two weeks. Then follows the step of extracting the propeller, which is carefully removed so as not to damage the mold. It then goes through a grinding process to improve its profile and is manually polished. This step is crucial to ensure the quality of the propeller surface and to add the finish that identifies the company's products.

Importance and complexity of manufacturing ship propellers

The last step is technical inspection, where specialized tools are used to ensure the propeller meets the required technical specifications. Only after passing this rigorous inspection, the propeller is ready to be sent to the shipyard that ordered it.

Ship propellers are not only monuments of modern engineering but also vital components that directly impact the fuel economy and efficiency of ships around the world. Over the years, the evolution of materials and manufacturing techniques has allowed these propellers to become increasingly efficient and reliable.

This fascinating journey from conception to final product highlights the importance and complexity of manufacturing ship propellers, a component that, despite being below the waterline, is crucial to the viability and efficiency of sea giants.

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