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Precise Geometries for Manufacturing

Propeller builders require design tools that serve all stages of the design process – from concept to 3D CAD. That’s a tough order but one that HydroComp fills for propeller builders around the world.

Worry-Free Propeller Design

Our tools – NavCad, PropElements, PropCad, and PropExpert – provide the critical capabilities necessary for a viable and cost-effective propeller design solution. Spreadsheets, utilities and general-purpose CAD software cannot compete.

The design of propeller blades for manufacture follows a step-by-step process with an increasing level of detail: 1. Identification of suitable propeller characteristics. 2. Design for performance and optimized blade shape. 3. Design for manufacture with drawings and 3D CAD.

The propeller’s principal design characteristics are established initially with NavCad or PropExpert. Utilizing the Vessel-Propulsor-Drive system model, each of these tools can solve for the most-effective propeller characteristics that achieve a ship’s performance objectives, such as meeting speed for a transit craft or generating towpull thrust for vessels like tugs and trawlers.

If you are building a traditional propeller style, such as B-Series, Gawn, or Kaplan, you can immediately begin developing design documents in PropCad. The package of PropExpert+PropCad is very popular with builders of these propeller types.

However, if you require a customized or more contemporary design, utilize PropElements for an optimized wake-adapted design of your propeller. Building upon the propeller parameters determined with NavCad or PropExpert, designs are optimized to vary radial loading for noise and vibration suppression, utilize contemporary foil profiles for highest efficiency, or evaluate the propeller within its entire wakefield. Propeller specialists frequently use 3D output and predicted body forces from PropElements as the input geometry for CFD or FEA analysis.

Once the propeller has been fully defined, the geometry is made production-ready in the design-for-manufacture stage with PropCad. This includes up-to-date class society thickness reports and propeller CAD drawings that are correct and worry-free.

Incorporate Your Legacy Designs

PropCad is the industry-standard tool for the geometric design of marine propellers. Use PropCad to develop a design from a library of popular standard styles, such as B-Series, Gawn, Kaplan, and even advanced cleaver-wedge styles. The Premium Edition of PropCad includes utilities that can help you migrate existing legacy designs and manufacturing patterns to a full PropCad design project from scan data or even a suitable CAD file.

Propeller Sizing for Different Craft

Propeller builders and sales staff look to PropExpert for sizing of workboat and pleasure craft propellers. Or to HydroComp NavCad when in-depth system analysis is required due to the nature of the application or the value of the propellers to be manufactured. Both programs help builders ensure that the match between ship, engine, transmission, and their propeller is correct and optimized.

Expertise for Smaller Craft

PropExpert is ideal for the design and sizing of propellers and other propulsion machinery for smaller crafts, which have propellers between 450 mm and 2500 mm (18 in to 100 in). It generates propeller reports in multiple languages and allows for quick sizing and performance analysis for a given application.

Hydrodynamic and Propulsion System Design Tools

NavCad by Hydrocomp


The flagship framework for entire resistance, propulsion, mission profile, and optimized performance design tasks

PropElements by HydroComp


HydroComp’s “design for performance” propeller tool to customize and optimize a propeller for a specific ship or vessel type

PropCad by HydroComp


The industry’s most popular commercial tool for propeller “design for manufacture”

PropExpert by Hydrocomp


This “propeller application sizing” tool is the favorite of marine propeller, engine, and drive companies from main-office OEMs through their distribution pipeline