Changes in fuel composition, cat fines and over-lubrication were some of the issues tackled by experts during Riviera’s Oil condition monitoring: the answer to marine lubricant stress? webinar
The premier sponsor of the oil conditioning webinar was Gazprom Neft’s marine lubricants division, Gazpromneft Ocean, which in 2017 launched a product portfolio that includes 15 cutting-edge branded lubricants, for use on vessels including icebreakers, tankers, bulk cargo ships, container vessels, ferries and cruise ships.
C C Jensen of Denmark was the other sponsor of the webinar and is recognised as among the first companies in the world to develop and implement the concept of off-line oil filtration in combination with very fine filtering.
Examining how oil condition monitoring can minimise lubricant stress were C C Jensen head of innovation and validation Morten Henneberg; Chevron Marine Lubricants technical field specialist, marine lubricants, Rik Truijens; ExxonMobil global aviation and marine offer advisor, Joseph Star; and Maersk Supply Service head of drydocking and maintenance strategies Steen Lykke Pedersen.
Oil condition monitoring is a hot topic in the shipping industry with 63% of those surveyed responding that they will fit condition monitoring sensors in 2021. Of this group, 42% were contemplating fitting between one and 10 monitors in 2021.
Mr Truijens noted that oil condition monitoring sensors are part of a wider group of sensors being fitted to ships. “It will be more important than ever to understand the capabilities of this equipment and the sensors,” he said.
“Different (testing) methods will give different results,” he said, “and you really need to understand what is behind the tests.” It is for this reason Chevron Marine Lubricants provides total iron content in its DOT.FAST onboard iron test kit.
Mr Star presented key insights from the MobilServ database of lubricant testing, which has over 100,000 data points from 2020 alone. “What we have found is that following the industry switch (IMO 2020 sulphur fuel cap) is that over half (54%) of vessels were not operating at an optimal (cylinder oil) feed rate,” he said.
“We very rarely find cases where the customer is under-lubricating to the point of metal-to-metal contact. Typically, we find there is an ongoing drive to over-lubricate the engine.”
Not only is this a waste of money, but it also risks a build-up of sludge in the engine, reported Mr Star. On the fuel change, he noted that nearly half (43%) of vessels in the MobilServ database had evidence of cat fine contamination. This is after the fuel has gone through the purifiers and the engine. “We are finding some intense levels of cat fine contamination in the lubricating oil,” he said.
Mr Star noted that being able to monitor that situation is a key requisite. By working closely with a partner and embedding in its technical procurement department, ExxonMobil’s MobilServ was able to reduce the client’s cylinder oil consumption by 19% and extend some of its overhauls by 53%.
Mr Henneberg described the journey his company took when challenged by Maersk Supply Service to examine which sensors to install on cranes and thrusters on a sample of the OSV fleet. “The goal of the installation was to measure particles, water and oil degradation to enable condition monitoring and the value gained by that,” he said.
The aim was to test sensors to find those that could accurately measure oil degradation (oxidation), component degradation (wear) and water ingress (cavitation / rust). The project was wrapped around a university-based PhD project, giving access to academic and research experts, which led to the formulation of data modelled to alarms by control theory.
“The (sensor) package is installed around the kidney loop filter, where there is good quality data flow 24/7,” said Mr Henneberg. “And a cloud solution to filter and model the data and support direct alarms, with visualisation or API expert systems at the customer’s site.”
He noted that the data flow provides the condition monitoring required by the client and also provides data for discussions with class, rather than based on fixed time periods.
As might be expected, the majority of those surveyed regarded machinery condition monitoring as the primary goal (36%), but oil condition monitoring (27%) and breakdown warning were also highly favoured (26%).
Mr Pedersen was closely involved in the project with C C Jensen. He said, “Our mission and drive has been to break the traditional time between one overhaul and another of components so that we can run them to their best utilisation and profitability.”
“What we realised very early on was the key was oil quality,” he said. The result is that utilising the oil monitoring and vibration monitoring data now available from the systems, Maersk Supply Service believes drydocking can be extended beyond the traditional five-year period.
“To us, the early warning is important. It is much earlier than any engineer would be able to detect. We may not know what the problem is, but we can start to investigate the system and find the fault before it becomes severe,” said Mr Pedersen.
That is a fine endorsement of condition monitoring from an early mover. A survey showed that oil condition monitoring is still in its early days of adoption. Only one third of those surveyed had tested one or more oil condition monitoring sensors. The other two-thirds remain to be convinced, but maybe this webinar will have provided the impetus to investigate oil condition monitoring further.
You can view the webinar, in full, in our webinar library.
And you can sign up to attend our upcoming webinars on our events page.
From left to right: Morten Henneberg (C.C. Jensen), Rik Truijens (Chevron Marine Lubricants), Joseph Star (ExxonMobil), Steen Lykke Pedersen (Maersk Supply Service)