History

100 years of SCHOTTEL

1920
1921
"He had no money, but he had courage"
On 21 November 1921, Josef Becker lays the foundation stone for the present-day company SCHOTTEL GmbH. In his home town of Niederspay, Germany, where he learned the locksmith’s trade in his father’s smithy, he sets up his own fitter’s business in an old barn at the age of 24.
"He had no money, but he had courage"
On the day the company is founded, he makes another life-changing decision. In nearby Boppard, Josef Becker marries Magdalena Karbach, an innkeeper’s daughter from a neighbouring village, whose commercial skills will make a major contribution to the success of the future SCHOTTEL shipyard.
1920
1922
Fascinated by technological advancement
Right from the outset, Josef Becker makes use of the technological opportunities of his day. He uses a car engine as a generator to power his drill, he produces cast parts for his customers' agricultural implements using a cupola furnace and works with a new type of welding machine.
1920
1925
Initial introduction to shipbuilding
Even before going into business himself, Josef Becker trained in shipbuilding at a shipyard in Koblenz, Germany. In 1925 he is able to put this knowledge into practice: He develops an agile boat for a local baker, which soon attracts the attention of a boatman on the Rhine. The SCHOTTEL sloop success story begins.
1920
1928
Construction of the first motorboat
Again, it is a local company that pushes forward the development. A ferryman orders the first motor boat from Josef Becker – still a rarity on the Rhine at that time. During that same year, the company, now composed of five people, works on its first large passenger boat for the Vomfell shipping company from nearby Braubach.
1930
1931
New approaches to sloop construction
Josef Becker continuously develops the sloop, an essential component in the fitter's operation. In 1931 he starts to weld iron parts instead of riveting them, as was common in the industry at that time. Taking this step puts him far ahead of his time.
New approaches to sloop construction
Josef Becker also leaves behind the classic frame construction. With no cross-planks, the boats are now fashioned overhead in shell construction, cross-vaulted and self-supporting with no additional bracing. The result is an extremely resistant boat which is unsinkable due to the built-in air boxes.
New approaches to sloop construction
Once the SCHOTTEL shipyard increasingly specialized in the manufacture of ship propulsion systems, the sloop division is sold to a shipyard on the Moselle in 1973. In all, more than 16,000 sloops are produced in just under 50 years. The design and features later become the model for two DIN standards.
1930
1935
Move to the Schottel section of the Rhine
Production of the shipyard range, which is now diverse, is still located in the narrow streets of Niederspay. In 1934, Josef Becker therefore decides to build a new shipyard right on the banks of the Rhine, about 500 metres upstream.
Move to the Schottel section of the Rhine
Construction of spacious assembly halls and a slipway with an electric hoist, as well as a home for the Becker family, which now consists of five people. They move into this home in 1935. Since the new yard is located on the Schottel section of the river, Josef Becker renames his company SCHOTTEL Werft.
1930
1936
SCHOTTEL tractors: Every product is a one-off
In 1936, the first SCHOTTEL tractor is built on the new shipyard premises. Josef Becker will manufacture around 20 tractors to order well into the early war years, each one unique, tailored to the engine currently available.
1930
1939
Production comes to a halt
With the start of the war, one by one the predominantly young workforce is called up. Despite the lack of personnel, Josef Becker does not resort to forced labour, as historical documents and eyewitnesses confirm. Since materials are also becoming scarce, boat production eventually has to cease.
Production comes to a halt
By the end of the war, only "old men, very young apprentices and three women from Spay assigned to the company were still working in the shipyard to produce simple spare parts", Josef Becker's eldest daughter, Anne Krautkremer said, recalling the war years at the SCHOTTEL shipyard.
1940
1944
Inventor, even in the most adverse of conditions
Although everyday life is now impacted by constant air-raid and bomb sirens, Josef Becker remains an inventor and innovator. Since gasoline is no longer available, during the mid-war years he develops a "firing hearth for vehicle generators", for which he applies for a patent in July 1944.
1940
1945
Work under French occupation
Josef Becker tries to re-establish regular operations with the employees who returned home from the war. In the first year post-war, the workforce numbers 18 men. Among other things, they are occupied with ship repairs and construction of the wood gasifier developed during the war.
1940
1948
New start with 45 employees
In the year of currency reform, confiscation of the shipyard is lifted.
New start with 45 employees
Two years later, 45 employees are once again already producing motorboats in addition to sloops, …
New start with 45 employees
… including the first three police boats for the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.
1950
1950
The rudder propeller (SRP, SCHOTTEL RudderPropeller): the first combination of propulsion unit and steering system
In 1950, Josef Becker finds success with the rudder propeller, a development that will significantly shape the company and becomes a classic in ship propulsion systems. With its 360 degree propeller, which can be steered around its own axis without restriction, the rudder propeller combines propulsion unit and steering system for the very first time.
The rudder propeller (SRP, SCHOTTEL RudderPropeller): the first combination of propulsion unit and steering system
After lots of model experiments, the breakthrough comes in 1950: The waterway police of Rhineland-Palatinate awards the shipyard the contract for four police boats fitted with the novel type of propulsion unit. This is followed by orders from the Dutch customs, the "Rijkspolitie te Water" and the French Rhine Army just three years later.
The rudder propeller (SRP, SCHOTTEL RudderPropeller): the first combination of propulsion unit and steering system
The rudder propeller gives the ships completely new sailing and manoeuvring capabilities. At full speed, they have a slewing radius of just 1.5 boat lengths, while at low speed they can turn almost on the spot, and a propeller spin of 180 degrees is enough to go almost seamlessly from "full ahead" to "full astern".
1950
1952
Franz Krautkremer joins the top management
With the arrival of Franz Krautkremer, a son-in-law of Josef Becker, internationalization of the company begins. He establishes the first subsidiary in the Netherlands as early as 1958. Following Josef Becker’s death in 1973, he takes over the sole management of the company, a position he holds until 1990.
1950
1955
The Navigator (NAV) – the all-in-one propulsion unit
In the early 1950s, Josef Becker develops a self-sufficient propulsion system based on the rudder propeller, which can turn virtually any floating device into a self-propelled unit: the SCHOTTEL Navigator, which quickly becomes the second key component of the shipyard alongside the sloop.
The Navigator (NAV) – the all-in-one propulsion unit
The Navigator can be easily mounted on any marine vessel and combines all the necessary components of a propulsion system: engine, fuel tank, clutch, shaft, the SCHOTTEL RudderPropeller and all auxiliary units.
The Navigator (NAV) – the all-in-one propulsion unit
In addition to Rhine ferries, tugboats and pusher craft, the SCHOTTEL shipyard also equips crane ships, supply vessels for oil platforms, dredgers, pontoon ferries, tankers, research vessels and weather vessels as well as fishing fleets with Navigators, in Europe as well as in the Middle East, Asia and South America.
1950
1957
70 percent of boats are exported
Based on the first police boats, Josef Becker and his team develop a variety of "type boats", which become the preferred authority vehicles for police, customs and waterway police around the world. As early as 1957, 70 percent of boats are exported.
1950
1958
First subsidiary in the Netherlands
With the establishment of SCHOTTEL Nederland, SCHOTTEL lays the foundation for its internationalization. Initially, rudder propellers and Navigators are produced in The Hague for the domestic and global market, plus from 1962 onwards, the production of sloops and type boots at a shipyard purchased in Warmond is also added.
First subsidiary in the Netherlands
In the 1960s, the site specializes in the production of larger rudder propellers for the offshore industry, thus making a significant contribution to their worldwide distribution. In 1989, production is relocated back to Spay, and SCHOTTEL Netherlands has focused on sales and service ever since.
1960
1961
SCHOTTEL in the USA
In order to ensure sales and customer service in North and Central America, the North American subsidiary is founded in 1961, providing crucial impetus for larger rudder propellers. Since October 2013, SCHOTTEL Inc. has operated a facility for its customers in Houma, Louisiana.
1960
1963
Getting a foothold in the offshore industry
In 1963, SCHOTTEL equips the first vessel fitted with a dynamic positioning system with rudder propellers. Through the subsequent close collaboration with the offshore industry, SCHOTTEL propulsion units gradually become established in almost all offshore applications.
Getting a foothold in the offshore industry
During the offshore boom, which will continue until 2015, SCHOTTEL is able to secure a 20 percent market share in the platform supply vessel segment. Today, offshore wind farms are a growing market in which SCHOTTEL is successfully asserting itself.
1960
1965
Transverse thrusters (STT, SCHOTTEL TransverseThrusters) – the second force
In the mid-1960s, SCHOTTEL adds transverse thrusters to its range. The auxiliary propulsion units, which provide thrust either to port or starboard, further enhance manoeuvrability and over the decades have been continuously refined in the areas of design, noise generation and installation.
Transverse thrusters (STT, SCHOTTEL TransverseThrusters) – the second force
These days, SCHOTTEL TransverseThrusters improve the manoeuvrability of ships in many areas of operation. In 2020, for example, a low-noise propeller design is being developed for Germany’s cutting-edge research vessel, the Atair, which will create optimum research conditions and protect the marine environment.
1960
1967
The first harbour tug with a rudder propeller
Together with the shipping company Ulrich Harms of Hamburg, Germany, SCHOTTEL develops the first harbour tug equipped with a rudder propeller. The JANUS, which is still in service today under the name Jan Leenheer, carries out manoeuvres with two SRP 300s, which open up completely new manoeuvring capabilities and applications for the tug.
The first harbour tug with a rudder propeller
SCHOTTEL responds to the rapid increase in performance in the tugboat market, caused by ever larger container ships, by developing increasingly more powerful propulsion units, including the SRP 1515 in 1998. It is renamed the SRP 460 in 2016 and becomes the most successful model in the company’s product history.
The first harbour tug with a rudder propeller
Despite numerous crises in the shipping industry, SCHOTTEL is continuously expanding its leading position in the tugboat market worldwide. By 2021, more than 2,000 azimuth tugs with bollard pull capacities of up to 120 tonnes will be used all over the world with SCHOTTEL propulsion units, including Europe’s first hybrid tug.
1970
1971
SCHOTTEL pushes ahead with internationalization
With three new subsidiaries, SCHOTTEL succeeds in expanding its international presence during the 1970s. In 1971, the SCHOTTEL France branch opens in Paris, followed by SCHOTTEL Far East in Singapore in 1972 and SCHOTTEL do Brasil in Rio de Janeiro in 1975.
1970
1972
SCHOTTEL PumpJet (SPJ) for extremely shallow water
At the suggestion of a bargeman, the development of a bow propulsion unit, which can also be used in extremely shallow water, begins in 1972. The 360° steerable water jet propulsion unit, which is flush with the vessel’s bottom, opens up completely new manoeuvring options for ferries, pioneer boats and amphibious vehicles.
SCHOTTEL PumpJet (SPJ) for extremely shallow water
In 2019, it will be possible to further improve thrust and drive efficiency through flow simulations (CFD, computational fluid dynamics). Today, the drive system power ranges from 50 to 3,500 kW with a minimum immersion depth of 150 to 750 mm, which means that it can also be used in vessels with very low draught.
1970
1973
Death of company founder Josef Becker
When Josef Becker dies in 1973, the SCHOTTEL shipyard has a worldwide workforce of 500 people. In 2004, the developer of the RudderPropeller was posthumously presented with the Elmer A. Sperry Award for a "groundbreaking propulsion and steering system, whereby Josef Becker and his team carried out truly pioneering work for the shipping industry."
1980
1980
CAD/CAM – the beginning of digitalization
With the introduction of CAD software in design, the era of pen, paper and drawing board comes to an end after 60 years. Automation in production also begins in 1980. The use of CAM software now makes computerized set-up of lathes and milling machines possible for the very first time.
1980
1981
Master Pilot for propulsion and steering – always in unison
In parallel with the development of the rudder propeller, SCHOTTEL begins to develop steering systems that enable 360° deflection. 1981 sees the launch of the Master Pilot, followed by the Masterstick in 2001. The tailor-made joystick system enables up to eight propulsion units to be controlled with just one lever.
1980
1986
The most powerful rudder propeller in the world
In 1986, the SRP 4500, the largest rudder propeller ever built, is installed in the crane ship MICOPERI 7000. The SRP 4500 has a propeller diameter of 4.20 metres and generates a thrust of around 80 tonnes. To this day, the MICOPERI is still in service as the SAIPEM 7000 together with its SRP 4500, which is regularly serviced by SCHOTTEL.
1980
1987
1000 pioneer boats for the German armed forces
The SCHOTTEL shipyard has been designing and building pusher and tug boats for the German armed forces since the late 1960s. In 1987, the first M3 pioneer boats with PumpJet propulsion go into production, with a draught of just 39 centimetres. In total, almost 1000 M-boats leave the SCHOTTEL shipyard.
1990
1995
Foundation of SCHOTTEL China (SSPC)
In 1995, SCHOTTEL establishes its sixth subsidiary in the Chinese city of Suzhou, 95 km from Shanghai. With an investment volume of six million DM (3 million euros), the Chinese production facility is built within just one year.
Foundation of SCHOTTEL China (SSPC)
Its main focus is the production of transverse thrusters. In 2007, the 1,000th transverse thruster leaves the factory premises, and around a third of these went to Chinese shipyards. In 2019, production will be relocated to Germany as part of necessary restructuring measures
1990
1996
Twin propeller (STP, SCHOTTEL TwinPropeller) – more power with two propellers
To enable ferries to operate at the same capacity even at low water, the idea of the twin propeller was born in the mid-1990s. For the first time, this ensured combined thrust and 360° manoeuvring capability with two propellers rotating in the same direction, thus reducing the required installation space.
Twin propeller (STP, SCHOTTEL TwinPropeller) – more power with two propellers
Due to its efficiency, the twin propeller quickly achieves a breakthrough. It is used in offshore applications, ferries and river cruise ships, where its compact design makes it the preferred propulsion system. By 2020, SCHOTTEL will equip more than 60 Viking River Cruises vessels with a twin propeller.
1990
1997
Pod drives – extremely high outputs up to 30 MW
In 1997, Siemens and the SCHOTTEL shipyard establish the Siemens-SCHOTTEL Propulsor (SSP) consortium and develop a new type of propulsion unit, characterized by the type of electric motor used in an underwater pod. The SSP is used in the cruise ferries "Peter Pan" and "Nils Holgersson", among others.
Pod drives – extremely high outputs up to 30 MW
SCHOTTEL responds to the demand for smaller pod drives from 2002 onwards with the development of the SCHOTTEL Electric Propulsor (SEP), which is available in five sizes ranging from 1 to 5 MW. Multi-purpose vessels, icebreakers, research vessels and landing platform dock vessels, among others, will be fitted with an SEP.
1990
1998
New high-tech site in Wismar
In 1999, SCHOTTEL takes over WPM Wismarer Propeller- und Maschinenbau GmbH in northern Germany and invests DM 30 million (15 million euros) in the construction of a new production and assembly facility. Controllable-pitch propulsion systems are manufactured in Wismar, in addition to the largest rudder propellers and all retractable propulsion systems.
New high-tech site in Wismar
The exceptionally propulsion-efficient controllable pitch propellers (SCP, SCHOTTEL ControllablePropellers) combine maximum thrust force and excellent manoeuvrability. To further increase efficiency, SCHOTTEL engineers would develop a new five-bladed hub with an optimized propeller design for fast vessels in 2012.
New high-tech site in Wismar
Based on the new design, 5-bladed high-speed hubs for even more power would be produced from 2019 onwards. Today, production at the state-of-the-art plant in Wismar includes controllable-pitch propulsion systems from 600 kW to 30,000 kW with propeller sizes between 1.5 and 8 metres.
2000
2003
Combi drive (SCD, SCHOTTEL CombiDrive) – solution for customized installations
In 2003, SCHOTTEL presents a high-torque L-type propulsion system, whose electric motor is, in part, vertically integrated into the propulsion unit’s supporting tube. This results in an extremely compact design and low installation height – ideal for ships with limited space.
Combi drive (SCD, SCHOTTEL CombiDrive) – solution for customized installations
In 2006, the twin propeller version is launched on the market. Its lower propeller load makes it an exceptionally low-noise means of propulsion. It is used wherever there is a requirement for more power with less fuel consumption.
2000
2005
Reinvention of the toothed wheel
With the aim of increasing the load-bearing capacity of SCHOTTEL toothed wheels to the extent that each tooth can be subjected to 15 percent more stress, SCHOTTEL engineers develop the HTG® high-performance gearbox. This enables SCHOTTEL to design propulsion units that are more compact as well as more efficient.
2000
2007
SCHOTTEL strengthens its brand in Norway
In 2007, the collaboration with Frydenbø Industri, which has existed since 1954, is further intensified. The Norwegian company acquires 15.4% of the shares in SCHOTTEL GmbH. At the same time, a Supervisory Board is installed with Knut Herman Gjøvaag, the owner of Frydenbø Industri, as Chairman of the Supervisory Board.
2000
2008
Expansion of Spay to become the center of gearbox production
Over the decades, the company’s headquarters in Spay has seen a continuous expansion of the existing buildings and production facilities. An investment sum of 4.5 million euros enables production capacities to be doubled in 2008 and the site is expanded to become the center of machining and gearbox production.
2000
2009
Prof. Gerhard Jensen takes over sole management
In 2009, Prof. Dr.-Dipl. Gerhard Jensen becomes sole CEO, replacing the dual management team that has existed since 1999. Under his aegis, SCHOTTEL is able to more than double its turnover. This is attributable to the growing market share in the offshore sector and the expansion of the stable market leadership in harbour tugs.
2010
2011
Smooth operation due to preventive maintenance service
Since knowledge of the condition of a vessel's propulsion systems is essential for safe operation, SCHOTTEL launches the Condition Monitoring System (CMS) in 2011. With the aid of numerous sensors, CMS ensures preventive monitoring of all relevant propulsion components.
A decade of internationalization begins
From 2011 onwards, SCHOTTEL presses ahead with internationalization. A total of nine new subsidiaries will be established: SCHOTTEL China (SSTS), SCHOTTEL Russia and SCHOTTEL Middle East in 2011, SCHOTTEL Australia in 2013, SCHOTTEL Canada in 2014, SCHOTTEL de Colombia in 2015, SCHOTTEL Nordic in 2016, SCHOTTEL Turkey in 2018 and SCHOTTEL Italy in 2020
2010
2012
Rim thruster (SRT, SCHOTTEL RimThruster) – low-noise and low-vibration propulsion unit
In 2012, SCHOTTEL expands its product range to include an electric propulsion system without a gearbox or a drive shaft. Thanks to its design, the SRT boasts low noise and vibration levels and is used primarily in vessels carrying passengers.
2010
2015
Opening of the new production site in Dörth
Following a construction period of around two years, the new production site in Dörth in the Hunsrück region is completed in 2015. An investment of 45 million euros has created an ultra-modern rudder propeller factory, enabling SCHOTTEL to manufacture on premises that are optimally adapted to the production processes for the very first time.
2010
2015
EcoPeller (SRE) – efficient and ecologically clean
What does the rudder propeller of the future look like? An innovation workshop in 2015 results in the development of the EcoPeller, an ecologically clean propulsion unit with the same design principle as the Combi Drive: The electric motor is vertically integrated into the supporting tube, with omission of the upper gear set.
EcoPeller (SRE) – efficient and ecologically clean
With its powerful propeller thrust and rudder fin, the SRE meets all the requirements of a modern high-performance propulsion unit. It reduces fuel consumption, emissions and operating costs. In 2016, it is awarded the "Fuel Efficiency Award" by the magazine "Marine Propulsion".
EcoPeller (SRE) – efficient and ecologically clean
From the RudderPropeller, PumpJet and TwinPropeller through to the EcoPeller: Time and again, SCHOTTEL provides the solution to the latest requirements in the ferry industry. This has enabled the company to become the propulsion expert for "floating bridges" and is now the world leader in double-ended ferries.
2010
2017
New corrosion protection with lots of advantages
In 2017, the patented ProAnode, which for the first time is seated in the front cross-section of the nozzle and is flush with it, results in a new standard in corrosion protection. This improves both the corrosion protection and also the hydrodynamic flow characteristics, which in turn results in reduced fuel consumption.
2020
2020
Automation solutions for intelligent ship management
To enable optimized ship operation, SCHOTTEL 2020 develops a modular software system into which numerous automation solutions for monitoring can be integrated. This is complemented by the data acquisition and transmission system MariHub and the IoT analysis platform MariNet.
New branch in Italy
SCHOTTEL Italia opens on 1 October 2020 as the youngest member of the global SCHOTTEL family. The Bolzano-based subsidiary focuses on the prospering sub-segments of mega-yachts and passenger shipping in southern Europe, where SCHOTTEL has been operating successfully for more than 60 years.
2020
2021
SCHOTTEL celebrates its 100th anniversary
Founded in 1921 by Josef Becker, SCHOTTEL GmbH celebrates its centenary in 2021. 100 years of SCHOTTEL – also 100 years of economic and shipping history, which SCHOTTEL has played a major part in shaping thanks to its invention of the RudderPropeller and its innovative advancements.
  • 1920
  • 1930
  • 1940
  • 1950
  • 1960
  • 1970
  • 1980
  • 1990
  • 2000
  • 2010
  • 2020