september 2010

SCHOTTEL on course for success

At its presentation at this year’s SMM, the SCHOTTEL Group will be stronger than ever before. With impressive facts and figures, the renowned manufacturer of propulsion and steering systems for ships and offshore applications is a shining beacon of positive development in a sector still hit by the effects of the crisis.

The business year 2009 closed with a record: With €270 million the turnover represented a €5 million increase compared with 2008. Employment figures also increased by around 4.3%: at the end of the year, the SCHOTTEL workforce totalled 820.


The first six months of 2010 have confirmed this trend, with sales of €120 million. This is slightly below the company target, but SCHOTTEL is still well on the way to building on the success of 2009.

The balance of completed systems is also looking very positive. Production figures for smaller azimuth thrusters have remained at an almost constant high level in comparison to the previous year. Increases of around 6% have been recorded for the larger azimuth propulsion systems. The controllable-pitch propeller systems produced at the Wismar plant have experienced a slump. After the continual positive development seen in previous years, it proved impossible to avert a downturn of 35%. This is attributable to the lack of demand following severe declines in the merchant shipbuilding sector as a result of the crisis.

SCHOTTEL reacted to the reduced production at the Wismar location by making personnel adjustments. However, the company was able to avoid laying off staff, as 22 fixed-term contracts expired.

SCHOTTEL is also confident of achieving a turnaround in the field of controllable-pitch propellers by strengthening development and sales activities amongst other measures. Simultaneously with SMM new five-blade units with high power density and small hubs are being introduced.

Strong growth in the offshore market
In addition to its regular lines of business with the classic products such as thrusters for tugboats, double-ended ferries and passenger ships, over the past few years SCHOTTEL has also successfully established itself in the offshore ship market. A large proportion of the SCHOTTEL Group’s overall turnover came from the special thrusters for Platform Supply Vessels (PSV), Offshore Support Vessels (OSV), Anchor-handling Tugs (AHTS), Jack-up Platforms and other special-purpose vessels.

Besides the high demands placed on these thrusters with regard to economic efficiency, availability and robustness, this market segment is also characterized by requirements relating to the emission values of the propulsion system, high operational reliability with prevention of oil leakages and the resulting damage to the environment, and the criteria of the classification societies for clean design and high comfort.

Due to the high complexity of these special vessels, diesel-electric drive concepts are the main players in this market segment.
With the SCHOTTEL Combi Drive (SCD), SCHOTTEL offers a high-efficiency, compact, extremely robust thruster which completely fulfils all of these new requirements.

After a successful 2009, various measures were implemented in 2010 in order to secure a leading position for SCHOTTEL in highly competitive markets over the long term.

SMM builds up steam for new corporate design
The success of the SCHOTTEL Group is also outwardly evident. The SMM exhibition sees the launch of the propulsion specialist’s new image. With its new logo and slogan “Your propulsion experts”, SCHOTTEL aims to fulfil its role as a globally operating specialist propulsion partner to its customers.
A modern two-storey booth will greet visitors at the familiar location in Hall A4, Booth 310. The blue, grey and white colour scheme, which can be seen consistently in all areas such as print, web and corporate architecture, shows the new SCHOTTEL look & feel, and guarantees a high level of recognition. A recurring theme of colours and images encompasses all areas, and guides the customer to the products: atmospheric maritime pictures encourage visitors to “step into the world of SCHOTTEL”. The products are clearly represented by means of cutaway diagrams in the new SCHOTTEL colours, while the applications are highlighted as before using relevant photos.

Expansion for even greater customer focus and new ideas
The year 2010 also marks the founding of the SCHOTTEL Academy and the Josef Becker Research Centre as well as the opening of the new spare parts logistics centre close to the group’s headquarters in Spay/Rhine, Germany.

With the new warehouse facility, SCHOTTEL is separating the spare parts logistics for customer support from the production logistics for the manufacture of new systems. This enables all customer orders to be handled with top priority – from order picking to shipping, the process remains the responsibility of Customer Support. Furthermore, the facility also has its own purchasing unit with exclusive responsibility for the spare parts service, which can give particular attention to fast procurement in especially urgent cases.

For both institutions, the SCHOTTEL Academy and the Josef Becker Research Centre a modern training and office building is currently under construction at the group’s headquarters in Spay/Rhine, the shell of which should be completed by the end of this year. The building will contain offices with 60 state-of-the-art work places, and will also meet high environmental protection standards as the entire heating and air conditioning is accomplished with air-source heating pumps.

SCHOTTEL founds Josef Becker Research Centre
Part of the new building will house the Josef Becker Research Centre.
The centre is named after the founder of the present-day SCHOTTEL Group, whose inventive talents laid the foundations for the company’s lasting success around 90 years ago. One of Josef Becker’s most significant inventions was the Rudderpropeller, which revolutionized the world of shipping. In the future, too, there will be a need for creative solutions – not only in the modern shipping industry, but also in related fields. The aim of the research centre is to foster the development of further innovative power in order to satisfy this need.
Engineers from a wide range of disciplines are working on new solutions in this think-tank. The research centre is staffed by SCHOTTEL’s experienced, regular personnel, supplemented with new technicians who have already acquired knowledge in the field of shipbuilding.

SCHOTTEL Academy founded
In founding the SCHOTTEL Academy, the renowned manufacturer of propulsion systems is underscoring its commitment to further educating and training all target groups.
With the ever-growing demands on ship propulsion and steering systems and their ability to communicate with other on-board systems, and as shipyard tasks become more and more complex, it is becoming increasingly vital that staff are properly instructed and trained. After all, each system is only as good as the staff who install, operate and maintain it.

In the SCHOTTEL Academy, customers, masters, on-board personnel, external service engineers, sales partners and SCHOTTEL employees receive specific training from around 30 instructors in how to operate and service SCHOTTEL products. Approximately 150 training modules have been developed. These can be customized according to the level of knowledge of the target groups and used for individual or group training courses. In addition to continuing the current product training courses, the SCHOTTEL Academy will be particularly orientated towards the continuous professional development of in-house staff. In this way, SCHOTTEL is ensuring that new employees and personnel from areas such as administration systematically acquire more in-depth product expertise, thus allowing them to obtain the technical qualification required to perform their role in a short time.

Qualification at SCHOTTEL is thus built on three pillars:

  • Service training for international customers
  • Technical training for technical employees and fitters
  • Training as an instrument for staff development

The SCHOTTEL Group, with its headquarters in Spay/Rhine, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of propulsion and steering systems for ships and offshore applications. Founded in 1921, the company has been developing and manufacturing for almost 60 years azimuth propulsion and manoeuvring systems, complete propulsion systems with power ratings of up to 30 MW, and steering systems for vessels of all sizes and types. Around 100 sales and service locations worldwide ensure customer proximity.