New automatic viscosity control system

16 Nov 2004

Alfa Laval has introduced its new fully automated Viscochief MKII designed to provide the right viscosity at all times. That translates into optimal engine performance, reliable operation and the opportunity to avoid unnecessary wear on vital engine parts.

Delivering fuel oil to the engine at the right viscosity is essential to engine performance. If fuel oil viscosity is too high, the engine consumes more fuel, and fouling of the pistons and exhaust valve seatings can occur. Fuel cam failure is another casualty that can result from extreme pressure due to incorrect viscosity. If viscosity is too low, coke builds up on the fuel injector and there is poor lubrication of the injector needle, which can result in jamming the injector.

Alfa Laval claims its Viscochief MKII provides optimal engine performance and protection and is ideal for upgrading existing booster systems equipped with conventional capillary viscometers. The viscosity transducer provides highly accurate measurements, between 0 and 50 cSt, based on the torsional vibration of a pendulum in the fuel oil. The damping of this electrically controlled vibration is directly related to the viscosity and achieves the most accurate viscosity measurement available.

Smart automation ensures that the actual fuel oil viscosity meets the demands specified by the engine manufacturer. The intelligence lies in the Viscochief MKII?s new EPC 50V process controller. Based on the same advanced process controller found in most other Alfa Laval equipment, the EPC 50V powers the viscosity sensor, provides vital process information and enables activation of control functions from a remote location. The process controller automatically raises or lowers the temperature in the electric, or steam, heater to correct any deviation in viscosity. This ensures efficient fuel combustion and optimum power output.

The process controller has two standard modes of operation: diesel oil (DO) mode and heavy fuel oil (HFO) mode. It easily handles the transition from one mode to the other, controlling the complete changeover function of the three-way valve. To ensure continued operation should a system problem occur, the EPC 50V has these and other self-cure functions: automatic changeover from HFO to DO at heater failure; automatic changeover to temperature control upon detection of a viscosity sensor fault; and, emergency operation of electric heaters.

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