Red Dot is synonymous with design excellence. Since 1955, the organization has recognized outstanding achievements in the design of everything from vacuum cleaners to motorcycles. For 2013, ABB was awarded with a Red Dot citation for product design for the newly redesigned azimuth controller found in Azipod XO marine propulsion systems.
The controller combines an ergonomic design with additional feedback mechanisms to ensure precise control and safety. This is important when you consider that this device, which fits comfortably in the hand, is what ship captains use to steer vessels more than 300 meters long and weighing hundreds of thousands of tons.Azipod units rotate 360 degrees, allowing even the largest ships to maneuver like a small boat.
The direction of the Azipod unit is controlled by rotating the lever clockwise or counterclockwise (the propulsion unit itself can turn 360 degrees), and the amount of thrust is controlled by moving the top portion forward and back. The azimuth controller is shaped such that the user can know what direction it is facing without looking, but it is also equipped with scaled lights that adjust to be more visible during daylight hours.
Red Dot reviewed hundreds of products on the basis of innovation, functionality, quality, ergonomics, durability and ecological compatibility. When you consider that the azimuth controller is part of a marine propulsion system that offers substantial fuel savings, reduced noise and vibration, and the ability to incorporate future power generation technology (e.g., solar, fuel cells), it certainly meets the criteria.