In heavy use, as the Megastar will be experiencing, the ship’s engines will run for about 6000 hours every year. In comparison, a passenger car with a mileage of 300 000 kilometres would have accumulated approximately the same amount of operating hours. During that time, a car would have been serviced 10 – 20 times.
The first scheduled maintenance of the ship’s engine will take place after 6000 operating hours. The majority of the scheduled maintenance of engine parts takes place at about 36 000 operating hours,” said Mika Ojutkangas.
Training at Turku
Wärtsilä has a training centre in Turku, where it’s possible to learn how to repair and service engines. For the editor, it’s also a great opportunity to see the engines in their entirety. Once the engines will be fitted on the Megastar, it’s not really possible to fathom the overall set-up.
In an old industrial hall, there are several engines manufactured by Wärtsilä. Three Wärtsila 12V50DF motors have been fitted on the Megastar. The product name indicates that this is an engine with a cylinder diameter of 50 centimetres, a total of 12 cylinders, and they are positioned in a V-shape. DF or Dual Fuel means that the engine can run on gas, LNG, in addition to the traditional diesel. The Megastar will also have two 6-cylinder 50DF engines, so the ship will have a total of five engines.
We have a four-cylinder version of that engine here, to learn settings on. The actual engines fitted on the Megastar will have two to eight extra cylinders.
The engine is enormous. The height from the oil pump to the valve head cover is about five metres. It is more than three metres in width, and 8 – 10 metres in length. These measurements correspond to a modern two-storey bus.
The valve mechanism weighs about 1000 kilogrammes, so one important aspect in training sessions is work safety. As the Megastar is at sea, it’s possible to do small maintenance and repair works on one engine. Larger maintenance works are done at night, when the ship is at port.
Modern ship engines have many sensors collecting information about engine performance. This information can be used for planning preventive maintenance, thus ensuring the smooth operation of the engines.
The basic principle of marine engines is that no single malfunction will interrupt the journey. The ship has several different back-up systems.
Constant oil change
Although the engine maintenance intervals are long, the engines are constantly looked after. The oil change doesn’t take place as it does in cars; instead, oil is changed constantly, in small batches. According to Ojutkangas, the strength of Wärtsilä’s engines lies in their long life-span and low fuel consumption. And the environment will be grateful too, as the emissions are reduced thanks to decreased fuel consumption.
Interview with: Mika Ojutkangas, Wärtsilä Marine Solutions, General Manager