A delayed aircraft sparked an idea that would turn out to be nothing short of ingenious. A Volvo Penta engineer was looking out across Newark Airport’s lively traffic as he waited for his flight to be called, and he became fascinated with the variety of aircraft on the tarmac. Some had two engines, others three and still others had four engines. So why shouldn’t boats also adopt this varied approach?
The idea of two, three or four IPS units was taken up during a lunch with colleagues at Volvo Penta. Quick sketches were produced and a formal project was authorised.
The development team at Volvo Penta got down to some serious work and started making advanced calculations on the concept. The results seemed so promising that the engineers wondered if it really could be true.
Project Quad 75
Time to conduct tests in a physical project. Lazzara Yachts, an American boatbuilder with experience of motor yachts and with keen interest in trying out new solutions, is very active on the US market. The company’s president is Dick Lazzara:
“We were contacted by Volvo Penta who presented the plan – the installation of four IPS units instead of the usual two engines with straight shafts. We realised straightaway that this would be ideal for the new model we wanted to include in our range, a 75-foot express cruiser. The data we received was mighty impressive. In one single solution we’d get better performance from less engine power, far lower fuel consumption and, what is more, much more interior space.”
Far simpler installation
A few facts: the new boat is called the LSX 75 Quad, it is just over 23 metres long and weighs about 37 tonnes. With straight shafts Lazzara would have chosen twin marine diesels with a total power output of 2060 hp. With four Volvo Penta IPS units the number of horsepower is actually less, but the performance nonetheless corresponds to an installation producing 2400 hp. The entire engine installation weighs 2.5 tonnes less than a corresponding package with straight shafts.
The installation process itself is also far simpler. Previously, the boatyard would have had to order a wide variety of parts from several suppliers and still need to make a number of adjustments itself. Now the yard simply orders everything it needs under one single part number. Volvo Penta delivers a complete system including everything from steering wheel and controls to propellers.
There is also a minimum of post-engineering work and adjustments. A boat such as the LSX 75 Quad with straight shafts requires at least one week’s work for final adjustments of engine installation, exhaust back-pressure, shaft adjustment and so on. With Volvo Penta IPS, the boat is ready as soon as the last component is installed.
More interior space
A twin installation consisting of 18-litre diesels and straight shafts takes up a lot of space. By instead choosing four Volvo Penta IPS units Lazzara saves a lot of space.
“One important ingredient in the success we’ve had with the LSX 75 Quad is that the boat is so spacious. When we bring prospective buyers on board, they can’t understand that this is a 75-footer – the boat feels far larger,” explains Dick Lazzara.
The space that the engineers gained has been used to create an additional cabin on board. Where there would normally be an engine compartment there is now a twin-berth cabin with en-suite bathroom!
Fuel consumption is halved
A boat of this size usually uses a whole lot of fuel. With Volvo Penta IPS fuel consumption is halved compared with a traditional installation featuring a straight shaft. Lazzara has exploited this to reduce the size of the fuel tanks and instead utilise the freed-up space for cabin accommodation.
There are many reasons for the considerable reduction in consumption: the engines for the Volvo Penta IPS600 are high-efficiency marine diesels with electronic common rail and other advanced features. The drive units have forward-facing propellers that operate in undisturbed waters and the propeller thrust is parallel with the bottom of the boat – all the power propels the boat forward. Instead of two single propellers, the LSX 75 has eight propellers that work in counter-rotating pairs.
The efficient diesel engines produce low emissions and meet the European RCD and American EPA tier 2 exhaust standards. Together with the low fuel consumption, this helps halve exhaust emissions.
More engines mean more safety. Volvo Penta has in addition improved safety still further by installing additional control units that can take over if one should stop functioning. In this way, the boat has a unique safety level. It can be driven and operated with three, two or even just one functioning engine!
30 to 80 feet
With the new IPS range and the choice of two- three- and four-unit installations, the boatbuilder can now install Volvo Penta IPS in all types of planing boats from 30 to 80 feet.
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