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ForSea Ferries Opens the Door for Thordon's ThorPlas-Blue Bearings

TPB 18

Thordon Bearings is to retrofit its grease-free ThorPlas-Blue bearings to ForSea Ferries’ Tycho Brahe, one of the world’s most environmentally friendly ships, at its next scheduled drydocking.

The decision follows the success of the bearing installation to the bow doors of Aurora, the first of two high-intensity battery-operated ferries converted by Sweden’s Oresund Drydocks and delivered in 2016.

It was the first ever installation of a Thordon self-lubricating bearing to the bow doors of a ro-ro ferry.

Christian Andersson, Senior Chief Engineer, Aurora, said: “Aurora and her sister ship Tycho Brahe are the first ferries of this size running on 100% battery power. This is a huge sustainable benefit as we save about 23,000t of CO2, 13t of NOx and 5t of SOx being emitted to the atmosphere each year. As a customer focused ferry operator striving for zero emissions, we are interested in any solution proven to reduce our environmental footprint.”

Tommy Holmgren, Sales Director with Thordon’s authorized distributor Duwel Sweden AB, introduced Andersson to the Thordon product portfolio when he was working as a shipyard project manager.

“Through Tommy, I gained a very positive experience with the Thordon products and took my learnings with me when I joined the ForSea family. ThorPlas-Blue bushings are now installed on the bow visor of Aurora and will soon be retrofitted to Tycho Brahe.

“We are very happy with the installation. We operate the 32t bow doors 48 times a day.  But we found with frequent opening and closing the bronze-type bushings seized and often cracked. We don’t have this problem with ThorPlas-Blue. We have a much better operational experience. We are now looking at Thordon’s water-lubricated and grease-free bearings for more applications in other vessels in the fleet.”

Since sustainability is one of ForSea’s most important values, a bearing that mitigated the risk of pollution was a key factor in the decision-making process, said Andersson

Vessel Aurora - ForSea“Environmental sustainability is a very important factor in meeting our commercial goals but from a technical perspective, we have found ThorPlas-Blue significantly extends the life of the bow visor’s bearing, reducing maintenance requirement and associated costs. Since 2016, when Oresund DryDocks (ODD) installed the bearing, bow door reliability has improved and Aurora off-hire time has decreased.”

Mats Holst, Production Manager, Oresund Drydocks, concurred. “As a repair yard we find the Thordon material much easier to handle, easier to machine, and causes less wear and tear our machines and tools. The main difference we can see is that neither the shaft nor rotating parts show any wear when ThorPlas-Blue is installed, which saves the owner time and money during drydock repairs.”

While Oresund DryDocks does not as yet specify Thordon products as standard, Holst said the yard does have a consignment of Thordon stock and is able to calculate and machine the bearing to the correct tolerances. “We are also in contact with Duwel Sweden which provides 24/7 support to the yard,” he said.

Holmgren said: ForSea Ferries and Oresund DryDocks are long standing customers for Thordon and Duwel, so we are immensely proud to have been involved in the development of these ground-breaking vessels – a first for Thordon!

“We do find that once a customer installs its first Thordon bearing, they tend to find other applications for the technology. We do anticipate further orders as more owners follow ForSea’s lead and convert vessels for greater environmental sustainability and zero pollution.”

Built in 1991 and 1992 respectively, the 111m long sisters Tycho Brahe and Aurora operate fully on battery power on the route between Helsingborg, Sweden, and Helsingør Denmark.  The vessels plug into a battery recharging point at each port for five minutes to provide enough power for the twenty-minute crossing.