New digital system maximises uptime on vessel shaft lines

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Wärtsilä has launched a new system for monitoring the condition of tail shaft equipment. The system uses digital technology to monitor shaft bearings and seals to help customers maximise uptime and lower lifecycle costs of vessel shaft lines.

The Wärtsilä Sea-Master collects real-time data from the tail shaft of the vessel, providing valuable information about the operational health of the tail shaft equipment. The system can be applied to open and closed loop water-lubricated stern tubes as well as closed loop oil-lubricated stern tubes. It uses digital technology coupled with composite components and existing seals, resulting in a combination that helps customers manage their assets, maximise uptime and lower lifecycle costs.

The Sea-Master also provides early warning for the detection of rising failure issues with system alarms for critical path components, including bearing temperatures and lubrication rates. The system is approved by relevant classification societies and is available for all vessel segments and ship types as well as for new build and retrofit applications.

“We used our existing condition monitoring technology to develop this new system and service, which applies proven data analysis methodology to deliver not only information but careful expert analysis and performance-enhancing recommendations as well. Our customers get a window into the operational health of their tail shaft and gain knowledge about, for instance, the wear rates of the equipment. This allows for more accurate maintenance planning and reduces unforeseen risks,” says Matthew Bignell, Sales Development Manager, Wärtsilä Seals & Bearings.

Certified data for tail shaft extension program approvals

For water-lubricated systems, the tail shaft of a vessel is typically removed in dry dock and inspected by a classification society in every five years. By capturing real-time data with trending, Wärtsilä Sea-Master allows vessel operators to provide reliable information about the condition of the tail shaft for classification society surveyors without having to withdraw the tail shaft extending the interval between removals and thereby reducing unnecessary downtime.

The system has already sparked the interest of many marine customers. Pilot vessels that feature Wärtsilä Sea-Master are already in operation, and a number of retrofit programs will begin in September 2016.

“Our goal is to help our customers optimise their operations by providing safe, reliable and environmentally sound solutions that ensure the health of their equipment. This goal also steers our product development and digital initiatives. Wärtsilä Sea-Master is a good example of the advances offered by digitalisation to the maintenance of propulsion technology,” Matthew Bignell says.

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