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Propelling Forwards: ZF Premiers POD Propulsion 4600 System for Large Vessels in Azimut Grande 26M

  • Marine driveline specialist ZF brings POD propulsion to vessels measuring up to 130 feet
  • Optimized design leads to better performance with lower fuel consumption
  • System hybrid-ready to comply with future emission regulations
  • Official launch in Cannes 2022 onboard the Azimut Grande 26M yacht

Padua (Italy) / Cannes (France). 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.

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Propelling Forwards: ZF Premiers POD Propulsion 4600 System for Large Vessels in Azimut Grande 26M

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.

Progress in propulsion

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.

Twice the power at lower fuel consumption

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.

More space and comfort

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.

The system comes with an integrated exhaust and clutch which avoids the need for an additional gearbox. ZF also supplies integrated controls and steering, plus the dynamic positioning feature iAnchor. The new PODs are furthermore hybrid-ready – a crucial trait in times of more stringent emission regulations in ports and other waterways.

Maiden voyage imminent

ZF is introducing its new POD Propulsion 4600 System to the public during the Cannes Yachting Festival. Installed in the Azimut Grande 26M semiplaning yacht, two PODs will transmit the power provided by a double MAN 1.650 mph engine layout. “We take great pride in collaborating with partners who share our commitment to innovation and sustainability,” says Marco Valle, CEO of Azimut|Benetti Group. “The Grande 26M fully enters our range of low emission yachts by consuming up to 20 percent less than conventional boats of the same size. This tangible result was achieved thanks to Azimut’s innovation in the use of carbon fibre to reduce the weight of the boats and to ZF’s remarkable new POD Propulsion 4600 System. We believed in this project from the start and worked closely with the knowledgeable ZF team to develop the high-performing system onboard the Grande 26M, confirming Azimut's track record as a pioneer in the industry.”


Press Release


Svenja Mayer

Head of Marketing and Communications, Marine & Special Driveline

+49 7541 77-2418

Gernot Hein

Head of Communication & Public Affairs / Press Spokesperson, Industrial Technology Division

+49 851 494-2480