MZ Electronic acquires Progetto Elica, a historic Italian company specialized in the production of fully submerged and surface piercing propellers. The International Yachting Media has witnessed the construction process live
MZ Electronic-Italwinch broadens its horizons in the field of boat propellers. While the acquisition of the Orvea brand had led the Italian company to become a leader in the production of anchor winches, the partnership with Progetto Elica is destined to further strengthen the offer of MZ Electronic (distributor for Italy of Craftsman Marine bow thrusters) in the propulsion segment.
The International Yachting Media has visited the Progetto Elica laboratory in Concorezzo, near Monza, to witness live the design and construction processes carried out by the historic company which, born in 1963, has a very long tradition and renowned prestige: Ferretti, Azimut-Benetti and Aprea are just some of the shipyards that have chosen Progetto Elica, to which must also be added the fleets of both Italian Financial Police and Carabinieri.
Progetto Elica designs and produces submerged and surface piercing propellers from 3 to 6 blades, up to a maximum diameter of 1,500 mm, made of bronze-aluminum or brass-manganese and equipped with shaft line drive systems and rudders. The production, deriving from Italian raw materials and suppliers, is standard but, also and above all, 100% custom. Full customization is, in fact, Progetto Elica’s main strength.
“Our laboratory is like a tailor’s shop: we made custom propellers, designed like a suit for the boat – explains Francesco Deponti, Engineering Department Manager at Progetto Elica – The design of our propellers often goes hand in hand with the design of the boat itself. This is the true challenge and the reason why our products are fully custom: we interface with the designer from the very beginning of the boat, so that we can define thrusts, weights, engines and reductions, and then adapt to the needs of the owner in terms of performance: flexibility is our strength. We are also the absolute leader in Italy in the production of surface propellers“.
Progetto Elica customers are therefore shipyards and owners of boats up to 150 feet in length, who look for ad hoc propellers or a solution to replicate those already present on their boat. Duplication makes use of a three-dimensional scanner, which represents a real breakthrough in the reproduction of propellers.
Following an accurate technological calculation, the propellers are printed in 3D and transferred to the foundry, where they are subjected to lathe mechanical processing, handcrafted finishing and heat treatment. These are then measured on the computer with a passometer, which checks the tolerances.
The final step is dynamic balancing (as happens with car tires), which is finally certified.
Furthermore, Progetto Elica manufacturers bronze or steel rudders complete with connecting bar, propeller shafts, shaft-left coupling flanges, brass shaft supports, hydrolubricated bushings and mechanical sliding seals.
“ The goal was to broaden our product range. Now, with Progetto Elica, we can expand our offer by providing a fully custom sales service – explains Alessandro Fossati, CEO of MZ Electronic – We place special trust in this takeover because Progetto Elica is a well-established and long-experienced company. It is said that, if you want to make a boat propeller well, you should know the boat well: Progetto Elica has known a multitude of boats over years and from the very beginning: that’s why it’s a brand of absolute guarantee which we are extremely proud to rely on”.
(photos by Martino Motti)