Engine management for 150-year-old ship

29 Jun 2011
‘Hjejlen’ sailing on the Silkeborg Lakes

‘Hjejlen’ sailing on the Silkeborg Lakes

MAN Diesel & Turbo says that recently it returned to its roots when it signed a remarkable EMC (engine management concept) contract covering a historic Danish ship, the 150-year-old paddle steamer ‘Hjejlen’ .

The contract is for maintenance and upkeep of the steam engine that has powered the Hjejlen (Golden Plover) on the Silkeborg Lakes in central Jutland since its launch. MAN says that the EMC is less a contract and more a partnership, with emphasis placed on building a long-term relationship with customers. Essentially, the EMC fixes customers’ maintenance costs at a set level that facilitates the advance setting of budgets with any excessive maintenance costs covered by MAN Diesel & Turbo.

As Hjejlen’s tourist season is relatively short, keeping the steamer operational is vital. Ultimately, the EMC provides a predictability and stability that gives Hjejlen’s owners – the Hjejle Company – peace of mind.

On behalf of MAN Diesel & Turbo, Thomas Knudsen, head of low-speed, signed the EMC contract with Hjejlen’s owners on June 24th, the very day that the ship celebrated its 150th anniversary at a series of events in the city of Silkeborg. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark played a prominent role in the celebrations as guest of honour, her predecessor – King Frederik VII – having inaugurated Hjejlen exactly 150 years previously.

Originally built by Baumgarten & Burmeister, the original predecessor of MAN Diesel & Turbo’s Danish operation, Hjejlen’s engine was built in Copenhagen along with the actual boat in 1861. After its maiden voyage from Copenhagen to Silkeborg, the boat has plied its trade ferrying tourists about the famous lakes. Its original steam engine comprises two oscillating cylinders 26cm in diameter and with a stroke length of 42cm that give an output of 18kW/24hp at 8 atmospheres. On a typical day, the stoker shovels 3/4 tons of coal into the furnace with temperatures often reaching 40° C or more. Firing is started 3 to 5 hours before departure and Hjejlen can reach a top speed of some 8 knots.

In his speech, delivered at a gala dinner celebrating the anniversary, Thomas Knudsen said: “It was wonderful to experience sailing on Hjejlen and it has given me the greatest of pleasure to sign a maintenance contract that will ensure that this gem of a boat keeps sailing into the distant future. MAN Diesel & Turbo takes pride in its reputation and, in agreeing to look after the world’s oldest paddle steamer, we are demonstrating that we always stand by our products, even when they are as venerable as Hjejlen’s.”

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