Wärtsilä and ABB unite in combustion monitoring technology
Wärtsilä’s latest development in two-stroke technology is the ‘Intelligent Combustion Monitoring’ system, which employs ABB’s Cylmate technology.
The system, described in Machinery Matters, December 2010 issue, is claimed to provide ship operators and owners with significant benefits by providing optimisation data for vessel engine performance, awareness of the condition of combustion chamber components.
According to Wärtsilä, fuel cost savings of up to 2% can be achieved by operating at optimal firing pressures. Condition information ensures that maintenance is carried out at the right time, thereby avoiding off-hire costs and improving the engine’s reliability and overall performance.
The system provides a means for measuring the pressures in each cylinder during the entire combustion process, continuously, in parallel, and under all load conditions. By monitoring the exact position of the crankshaft, and in combination with advanced mathematical modelling of the engine, it provides real-time data for diagnostic analysis.
The company says that conventional cylinder pressure measurement systems, such as portable pressure indicators, or on-line systems that measure the combustion pressure cylinder by cylinder in a scanning sequence, are influenced by movements of the fuel rack, rpm variations, and sea conditions.
Wartsila’s system is said to offer the ability and real time capacity to collect combustion pressures and angle values for each cylinder, in parallel and simultaneously, stroke by stroke. The crankshaft deflection is calculated on a continuous basis, thus ensuring that the information given is accurate regardless of engine load conditions. The monitored data cover, amongst other things, the thermal overload of individual cylinders (MIP); the mechanical overload of individual cylinders (Pmax); the optimal fuel efficiency; power readings (MIP and IPOW); the condition of the cylinders (Pmax + diagram shape); load dependent monitoring of the combustion parameters (MIP, Pmax, aPmax, Pcomp, Ptdc, Pign, aPign, etc.) and comparisons between cylinders; the tracking of gas leaks due to worn liners or broken piston rings (Pcomp); the tracking of exhaust valve components (Pcomp); and the tracking of the fuel equipment (Pmax + diagram shape).
Wärtsilä says that the system integrates ABB’s Cylmate system, for which ABB and Wärtsilä signed a co-operation and distribution agreement. Under this agreement, Wärtsilä takes responsibility for global sales, installation, and lifetime service of the system for all two-stroke engines, both for upgrades to engines in operation and as an option for newbuildings.
The system can be supplied on a turnkey basis with installation and commissioning handled by a single entity; while further development of the technology will be carried out jointly by both companies, building on the combined know-how of the system developer and the engine designer.
Wartsila says that the launch of the Intelligent Combustion Monitoring system marks a milestone in its current series of Wärtsilä solutions aimed at two-stroke engines. The aim is to optimise reliability and maintenance intervals of these engines, and is in line with the company’s efforts to provide solutions that lower overall operating costs. It extends the Wärtsilä family of condition monitoring devices, and is designed to be integrated with the company’s other performance and condition monitoring technologies. This can automatically transmit data to Wärtsilä’s server for further evaluation by engine experts, and provide structured reporting to technical managers along with expert recommendations.
The next step will be the introduction of an intelligent combustion control system for Wärtsilä’s electronically controlled two-stroke RT-flex engines; expected in early 2011. This will take measured data from the engine’s control system, and automatically adjust the compression and firing pressures within the engine’s performance and NOx regulation limits. The result, says the company, will be well-balanced engine performance and optimised fuel efficiency.
“This is an important product introduction that offers significant benefits to two-stroke engine operators, both in the area of cost savings and in extending the lifecycle of the equipment. Furthermore, by ensuring that the engine is working according to its certificate and optimal performance curves, CO2 emissions are reduced, which is an increasingly important consideration today. The Intelligent Combustion Monitoring system strengthens Wärtsilä’s position as a total solutions provider,” says Peter Hug, product manager for Wärtsilä two-stroke engine service.
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