Testing for excellence: Volvo Penta IPS Professional Platform proves its strength

Testing for excellence: Volvo Penta IPS Professional Platform proves its strength

Press release 27/05/2024


Volvo Penta is subjecting its all-new Volvo Penta IPS Professional Platform to thousands of hours of virtual and on-water tests to secure its launch in 2025. The goal is to ensure the platform exceeds expectations with an unparalleled, high-performance experience.

On the Swedish waters of Volvo Penta’s Krossholmen Test Center, the company is extensively testing the Volvo Penta IPS Professional Platform and setting new standards to examine and refine the offer. The goal is to ensure the system is market ready and delivers the ultimate experience at sea through flexibility, reliability, and performance.

A crucial element of this rigorous approach to on-water testing is a vessel called Penta 40. This 37 m, 199-passenger ferry navigated the challenging waters of the Norwegian seas for nearly two decades before it was retired. Volvo Penta brought the ferry back to life by repowering it with the Volvo Penta IPS Professional Platform.

Volvo Penta is testing the system to a level that marine platforms seldom see with thousands of hours logged so far. This includes stringent trials of the system’s fully integrated helm-to-prop experience, such as its intelligent dual power drive system, smart power sources, and integrated technologies.

Engineered with efficiency at its core, the Volvo Penta IPS Professional Platform sets a new standard in the industry. Its intelligent Eco Mode feature is being tested extensively – a feature that automatically starts/stops individual engines based on the power needed, optimizing engine performance and fuel consumption.

Volvo Penta has tested the system aboard the Penta 40 vessel for more than 10,000 hours. This includes on-water tests, endurance rig trials, component fatigue tests, and computer aided simulations that scrutinize every aspect of the system’s efficiency, flexibility, and intelligent features.

In line with the platform’s innovation, Volvo Penta has expanded its testing approach to include a digital dimension. “We are conducting extensive virtual testing of the Volvo Penta IPS Professional Platform, utilizing a unique digital twin of the system,” said Petter Andolf, chief project manager at Volvo Penta. “This virtual testing has enabled us to achieve 9,000 hours of computer aided testing so far, supporting our efforts to enhance product quality and features, and provide greater flexibility for engineers during the test and development phase. Ultimately, this will shorten our time to market.”

Volvo Penta also invited the vessel’s former captain, Roar Johansen, to test drive the revamped ferry and experience the Volvo Penta IPS Professional Platform firsthand.

“With the Volvo Penta IPS Professional Platform, the vessel is delivering better acceleration, improved manoeuvrability, and reduced emissions,” said Johan Inden, president of the marine business unit at Volvo Penta. “And Captain Johansen’s insight reinforces that the intelligent features of the Volvo Penta IPS professional platform reflect a new era in piloting ease, passenger comfort and an enhanced experience.”

Reunion ride

Captain Johansen piloted the passenger ferry for years (back when it was called the Helgeland). Piloting the revamped Penta 40, he said, was a revelation.

“I absolutely recognize the boat, it’s the instruments that have changed,” he explained. “The manoeuvrability is incomparable to the old system and the acceleration is amazing – and with such little noise and even more comfort!”

“The system is now so much easier to use. The system is taking care of us – it watches over us as we navigate the water,” he said, “It was an absolutely amazing day.”

Data-driven insights

Historic data was taken from the ferry’s former propulsion system – a 2018 controllable pitch system – which was known to perform well. Three years of load data was also taken from a similar vessel operating off the Italian Amalfi Coast. Volvo Penta compared the data to the Penta 40 under comparable load conditions.

Findings showed that the Volvo Penta IPS professional platform decreased the turning radius by 20% compared to the previous system. For a 37 m-long passenger ferry this delivers immediate advantages, bringing more ease and speed to docking and manoeuvres in narrow waters. Testing also shows a notable uptick in the vessel’s acceleration, reaching 30 knots in 28 seconds, compared to more than 50 seconds before the repower.

In terms of installation, the Volvo Penta IPS Professional system weighs 2,000 kg less and takes up 4,000 mm less hull space than the previous system. These weight savings are achieved even with the addition of an exhaust after-treatment system to comply with IMO III regulations.

The results from the Penta 40 showed that the Volvo Penta IPS professional platform delivers outstanding acceleration and manoeuvrability, as well as a lower total cost of ownership.

“Extensive on-water tests of the Penta 40 will continue throughout 2024.  The experience so far proves that the system’s intelligence is unmatched and smart features like Eco Mode enable new levels of efficiency,” Inden said, “We’re looking forward to integrating the learnings into our final development as we move closer to delivering the system in 2025.”

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