Page 11: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (December 2000)

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Investment in Design

A Pointer to the Future

Developments in vessel powering, propulsion and related systems over the past decade, in particular, have had a fundamental bearing both on maritime technological advance as a whole, and on the ultimate efficiency and competi- tiveness of shipping in its manifold forms.

Marine engine designers and produc- ers devote considerable resources to dri- ving the technology forward, marrying the client markets' ever-more pressing expectations as to economy and reliabil- ity with new environmental standards.

The process demands not only a certain scale and the requisite know-how and long-term strategic vision, but also pure industrial will.

Through the endeavors of MAN B&W

Diesel's Danish subsidiary, one of the fountainheads of two-stroke technology, a new chapter in ship powering is unfolding with the application of elec- tronic control to a large propulsion plant already in deep-sea service. A true milestone in marine engineering was reached on November 9 when formal

Class approval was obtained to run the 14,200-bhp MAN B&W engine of the modern chemical tanker, Bow Cecil, in full electronic mode. By officially sanc- tioning the switchover from convention- al camshaft to a microprocessor-based system of fuel injection and valve actua- tion, Det Norske Veritas cleared the way for the world's first electronically-con- trolled two-stroke diesel engine to show its mettle.

The 37,500-dwt Norwegian vessel has accordingly provided a platform for wholesale electronic operation on quay- to-quay basis, under the highly demand- ing trading profile characteristic of a parcel tanker, with its intensive and var- ied loading and discharge patterns. The potential long-term implications of the 10,000-hour evaluation period that has been signaled by the approval are immense.

Scrutiny of the computer-controlled running functions will help shape future product policy by MAN B&W, which has by far the biggest share of the glob- al market for low-speed propulsion engines. The results will have a signal bearing on whether or not to implement the technology as an option or as a stan- dard feature in the future engine pro- gram. For shipowners and operators, the arrangements ultimately promise through-life benefits in terms of engine reliability, flexibility, environmental performance and overall running costs.

The implementation of the 10,000- hour test schedule at sea, to confirm the efficiency and reliability of the engine and systems, is the new highpoint of an initiative launched by MAN B&W back in 1991. Originally dubbed the 'Intelli- gent Engine' program, its course has included equipping and extensive testing of the licensor's Copenhagen research engine, the 4T50MX, with electronic controls for fuel injection and exhaust valve operation. The systems have been used continually by the test machine in its wider role as a tool of engine devel- opment. Bow Cecil, one of the Odtjell fleet, was commissioned from the for- mer Kvaerner Floro yard in western

Norway during 1998. It had been fitted by David Tinsley, technical editor with a 6L60MC main engine delivered with an ordinary camshaft system, but prepared for retrofitting with the neces- sary electronic elements. MAN B&W has developed both the hardware and the software which has effectively trans- formed the MC prime mover into an ME engine, the term now favored by MAN

B&W over the original IE (Intelligent

Engine) designation.

The systems are fitted on the engine's upper gallery, in parallel with the camshaft, facilitating full changeover from a conventional mechanical system to electronic mode, or vice-versa, within three hours.

The twin engines specified for Con- cordia Maritime's mould-breaking new class of VLCC under construction in

South Korea will also be equipped for subsequent switchover to electronic control. The pair of 314,500-dwt, V-Max newbuilds entrusted to Hyundai Heavy

Industries are each to be fitted with two

MAN B&W seven-cylinder prime movers based on the S60MC-C type, driving two shaft lines and propellers.


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