ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, has been named a winner of the prestigious “red dot award” 2013 for product design in recognition of its innovative Azimuth lever that steers its Azipod XO marine propulsion unit.
An international panel of 37 experts assessed products submitted by more than 1,800 manufacturers, designers and architects from 54 countries, evaluating the degree of innovation, functionality, quality, ergonomics, durability and ecological compatibility.
“The new lever design was conceived in order to improve usability and ergonomics and thereby enhance safety levels,” said Heikki Soljama, head of ABB’s Marine and Cranes business. “Winning the red dot award shows we met our goal of creating a distinctive unit as well as a clear and simple human-versus-machine navigational interface that offers precise and predictable control for different vessel types.”
The Azimuth lever is the key part used in Azipod-powered ships to control propulsion speed and steering angle and forms part of the ABB Intelligent Maneuvering Interface (IMI) system. Propeller speed is controlled by moving the horizontal axis of the lever while the steering angle is controlled by rotating the lever around its vertical axis. The Azimuth lever can easily steer mega large vessels which is more than 200,000 GRT(gross register tonnage) and over 300 meters long, and it will be an important feature of the steering equipment in the future cruise vessels.
One of the features of the latest Azimuth lever is the use of programmable detents – or “feeling” points – in the lever. The shape of the Azimuth lever is designed to fit easily into the hand and the lever direction can always be determined by its shape, providing tactile feedback. The award-winning design also features scale lamps that can be adjusted to maximize visibility during the night or in bright sunshine.
The product design competition has existed since 1955. Its award is an internationally recognized quality seal.