Page 8: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (March 2000)
Investment in Design
Consolidation in the diesel engine building sector is partly a reflection of the sub- stantial capital expenditure required to maintain product development and techno- logical advance in a business characterized by comparatively low unit margins.
By spinning-off new technical solutions arising from the engine design program into upgrading and conversion packages for existing populations of machinery, the manufacturer and licensor can gain more from R&D endeavors. Complementing new engine sales, product releases aimed at plant already in operation represents another stream of payback on heavy investment in technology.
The companion effect of the strategy, of course, is the broader benefit it brings to the client market, enabling gains in performance to be readily harnessed in existing operations.
As part of the thorough restructure implemented in 1998, full-line engine producer Wartsila NSD
Corporation elevated after- sales service to the status of a business area in its own right, to create a growing earnings base. Not only does the sec- tor generate some 25-26 per- cent of overall group earn- ings, its activities and results provide a stabilizing influ- ence in the face of volatility Wartsila Vasa 32 in the marine and landside markets for new machinery.
Under the direction of group vice-president Tage
Blomberg, the service business area has augmented the traditional back-up activities with a dynamic approach to the development of what are termed as service prod- ^y David Tinsley, ucts. While this is reflected in an increasing range of technical editor support agreements, to meet rapidly evolving market needs, and while it is also manifested in a growing suite of maintenance and diag- nostic software, it is additionally evident in the release of technology products for modifying existing engines.
Every development of a product generates new technical solutions, improved design and optimized processes. Upgrading is an economical method of injecting new life into older engines and installations, making the advances in reliability and efficiency otherwise vested in new machinery accessible to the existing engine base.
It is a concept that is attracting increasing interest from customers.
Among the latest releases are a bevy of nitrogen oxide (NOx)-reduction measures targeted at plant already in operation. Shipowners can accordingly upgrade older
Wartsila Vasa 32 engines to the emissions-performance obtained with the success- ful Vasa 32LN design, reducing the NOx value below IMO-prescribed limits while also securing reduced specific fuel consumption. Other packages offered as retrofits are the Direct Water Injection (DWI) and Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) sec- ondary methods of treatment.
In the two-stroke domain, the company also plans to make a new standard in pis- ton-running technology available for application to existing Sulzer RTA engines.
The clutch of design modifications encapsulated by TriboPack promises significant extensions to times between overhauls (TBOs), a key element being the new chromi- investment
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