Following the recent opening of Damen North America – the company’s branch office located in Houston, Texas – Damen Shipyards Group is highlighting the advantages to be gained from the Damen Optima Nozzle to the North American inland shipping sector. The Optima is a propeller nozzle developed and manufactured by subsidiary Damen Marine Components (DMC).

While DMC produces various types of propeller nozzle suited for a wide spectrum of maritime uses, it is the Damen Optima that yields the most benefits for inland shipping operators. “Using the Damen Optima has many advantages,” says DMC Managing Director Steef Staal. “And it’s these that we want to pass on to our North American customers.

One of the main reasons of the dominance of nozzles is the use of skew-type propellers, whose rounded profile successfully addresses the historical problem of sediment and debris blockage.

DMC designed the Damen Optima – a nozzle with a slightly longer and higher intake and a propeller positioned just aft of the centre line – to increase performance even further. Real-life results from the first launching customers confirmed what model testing had predicted: “The feedback we heard from operators on the subject of thrust, both forward and reverse, was very positive. This is a very important factor for inland vessel and push boat captains: they need to be able to count on optimum stopping distances. In fact, when you consider performance and stopping distance, the Optima is a world leader. It is better in other aspects too: Fuel use and exhaust emissions are decreased; thus reducing fuel costs and improving air quality.”

DMC tailors the propeller frequency specifically for each vessel, thus reducing sound and vibration levels. This makes life more pleasant for the crew and is also important when inland waterways pass through urban areas.