In our Turbochargers Service & Repair Forum webinar, panellists weighed in on the subjects of turbocharger wear and damage and predictive maintenance methods that can prevent both
The webinar was part of Riviera Maritime Media’s ongoing multi-week series beginning with this week’s Maritime Propulsion Webinar Week.
PT Ship Management’s Founder and Managing Director Patrick Toll, KBB Key Account Manager Florian Hermann, Tufton Asset Management Fleet Efficiency & Project Manager Paul Morgan and Simplex-Turbulo Company Director James Hogg presented and discussed ways to safeguard damage to turbochargers.
Mr Toll said a lack of maintenance records for turbochargers and the detrimental impacts of varying fuel quality were common issues. Mr Toll said it was important to run engines at higher loads especially where the fuel quality was poor.
“The lower the fuel quality, try to run at higher loads to increase the combustion quality. If this is not possible, you will end up spending money on spares and repairs,” he said.
Mr Hermann echoed the same concerns over fuel quantity. KBB has not seen a huge shift in the volume of spares due to VLSFOs, he noted. A majority of webinar attendees from around the maritime industry agreed with this assessment, indicating via a poll that turbocharger reliability has remained relatively steady even taking in the first few months of the sulphur cap.
Variance in the quality of fuel came up again when Mr Hermann said, independent of sulphur content, the difference between fuels could be “crazy” and cause higher levels of wear and tear. Where poor quality fuels had been supplied, radial turbochargers have been known to show the kind of wear after only 1,000 hours of use that is more often seen at the standard 12,000-hour inspection intervals, he said.
Mr Hermann also spoke about KBB’s Knowledge 2 Swap programme which is aimed at ensuring owners and operators have access to genuine spare parts whereby cartridges can be shipped as air freight and installed quickly by onboard crew rather than taking the vessel out of service to have new components or a new turbocharger installed.
In another poll, more than two-thirds of webinar attendees said they believed that 3D printing spare parts will be a mainstream option in the next decade or so.
Regarding the use of predictive maintenance, Mr Hogg noted the danger that damaged turbochargers could pose to crew, the prohibitive costs of unplanned failure which may be “many times more expensive than doing a planned repair” and the unnecessary human intervention that contributes to 60% of all failures.
He suggested that predictive maintenance can best be carried out by acoustic emissions analysis and monitoring lubricants, allowing problems to be identified early on and rectified. On the latter point, Mr Hogg stressed that “some 65% of all machinery failures are linked to lubricants”. The culprits include incorrect oil specifications, oil age and in particular particle contamination which accounts for a quarter of all issues, he said.
Mr Hogg also suggested monitoring bearings by way of either a permanently installed sensor with automatic analysis or handheld acoustic bearing checkers. Handheld sensors have been especially effective on container ships and are a cheaper option for owners.
Mr Morgan added a ship operator’s perspective and insights with a series of questions and a tight summation, noting that regardless of the impacts of Covid-19 or oil price troughs, "everything comes down to reliability" for a shipowner.
You can view the webinar, in full, in our webinar library.
And you can sign up to attend one of our many upcoming webinars on our events page.
Panellists from top left working clockwise
Florian Hermann, Key Account Manager, KBB
Patrick Toll, Managing Director, PT-Shipmanagement
Paul Morgan, Fleet Efficiency & Project Manager, Tufton Asset Management Cyprus
James Hogg, Director, Simplex-Turbulo Company