A year-long trial of a sensor used to detect moisture levels in engine lubricant oils has convinced one of the world’s largest shipping companies to develop the technology further.
NYK Group developed and is patenting what it calls an ‘advance alarm system’ following initial trials for the system on its Haramachi Maru vessel.
NYK said the system “can detect anomalies on a real-time basis” from water ingress into lubricating oils in engines.
“Controlling the quality and properties of lubricating oil is very important for vessel engines to operate stably,” NYK said in a statement.
“Water can contaminate lubricating oil when cooling water for the engine leaks or the oil purifier fails, during which time the bearings and other components can be seriously damaged.”
The trial on board Haramachi Maru collected sensor data over the course of a year concerning moisture content for lubricating oil in the vessel’s main engine using a proprietary shipboard information management system (SIMS).
Following development of the SIMS and the new alarm system, NYK intends to develop another alarm system for generators.
Describing how the system operates, NYK said “The advance alarm provides early warning signals when the permissible range between the actual relative moisture content of lubrication oil exceeds the proper moisture content for the surrounding environment based on the temperature and humidity in the engineroom. After detection, immediate action can be taken at an early stage.”
The sensor-led system is part of a fleet-wide sustainable growth strategy, according to NYK, that is focused on digital technology. The company’s medium-term management plan calls for the use of condition-based maintenance (CBM) to cut costs.