Turbocharger technology and service developments form part of Wärtsilä’s collaborative strategy
Although market-leading equipment is important for new installations, the ability to offer combined engine and turbocharger service expertise is seen as a major benefit for operators. Wärtsilä has a history of collaborative work with suppliers and the field of turbocharging is no exception. This work has encompassed both technological areas and operational and service activities but always with the common aim of products and services being of market-leading capability and quality.
In 2010, Wärtsilä joined forces with ABB Turbo Systems to develop practical two-stage turbocharging designs for its large diesel engines. That relationship continues to deliver results and this year it contributed to an announcement of Wärtsilä’s latest gas-fuelled version of its successful Wärtsilä 31 engine, the 31SG; the diesel version of the engine has proved highly popular in marine sector applications.
Its fuel efficiency is the result of a range of new technologies, including two-stage turbocharging, high-pressure fuel injection and adjustable valve actuation. The 31SG now continues this trend, being able to deliver simple-cycle efficiency levels in excess of 50%. These figures are achievable both as a result of engine technology and two-stage turbocharging
The spark-ignited Wärtsilä 31SG, which in its 20-cylinder form produces 12 MW of power, operates at a brake mean effective pressure of 30 bar, which allows it to take full advantage of the significantly higher pressure ratios delivered by its two-stage turbocharging. Further benefits of the combination are increased flexibility and rapid response to changing load demands. The engine can operate continuously at load factors as low as 10% but can also step up to full load within two minutes.
“The Wärtsilä 31SG is now available and represents a new-generation answer to the rapidly evolving need for greater flexibility and better efficiency in power generation,” said Wärtsilä Energy Solutions director, technology and product management, Niklas Wägar. “It is the world’s most efficient four-stroke combustion engine and … with efficiency, flexibility, and the environment playing such prominent roles in today’s energy market considerations, the Wärtsilä 31SG is the right engine at the right time.”
In addition to engine developments, Wärtsilä and ABB Turbocharging have continued to work closely on turbocharger service support. In 2017 they signed an agreement to expand the scope of this cooperation and ABB granted Wärtsilä ‘authorised service provider’ status for routine maintenance work on all ABB turbochargers fitted to Wärtsilä four-stroke engines.
Under this arrangement customers will see benefits from high levels of optimised engine performance over product lifecycles. In addition, turbocharger upgrade packages will be developed delivering opportunities for efficiency improvements and reduction in engine downtimes, with associated operation cost savings.
The agreement is a development of the cooperation arrangements between the companies, originally put in place in 2005, and currently in place for a six-year period. It applies to all ABB turbochargers on Wärtsilä four-stroke engines and covers approximately 27,000 ABB units. To ensure optimum management of these installations, Wärtsilä and ABB will share specific service data and maintenance information and ABB turbochargers are now included in Wärtsilä’s online services.
Wärtsilä sees this strategy as an important step in developing an analytical approach to turbocharger lifecycle performance optimisation. “Being able to look at the whole installation increases its availability and efficiency, optimising service speed and agility,” said Wärtsilä Services vice president, four-stroke engine services, Tomas Hakala. “Customers can reduce their operational risk, ensure optimal tuning and save time by being able to overhaul their ABB turbocharger at the same time as the engine,” he said.
Wärtsilä’s perspective is based on the importance of expanding its capabilities as a global provider. It can now improve its customer service by offering ABB turbocharger maintenance, in addition to engine expertise, from 25 global locations.