Ask the Expert – Condition monitoring - data drives savings on opex and positions you well for the future
Sachin Gupta, Business Manager, Water and Oil Solutions
What is the impact of fuel impurities on marine engines?
It leads to higher maintenance cost and higher operating expenditure for a vessel but the larger question which we want to address as an industry is - what does bad fuel quality do for marine engineers on board? What does it do for ship operators and ship managers?
How can fuel quality be better managed?
All these quality issues can be managed much more effectively and efficiently. The complexity of running ships in today's marine environment is increasing: you've got regulations of IMO 2020 which are the sulphur caps; you've got regulations on ballast water; and we have all this technological revolution in all these complex environments. How can we manage these problems much more effectively and efficiently? What tools can we use to make smarter decisions?
What is the importance of condition monitoring?
It's a pre-emptive way of carrying out maintenance. To put a simple analogy - in my world, condition monitoring is like going to a gym regularly. You know your body, you feel the problems are coming in advance. Similarly, condition monitoring is carrying out quick spot checks regularly: daily or weekly, to understand your machine so that we, as ship operators, managers or crew, understand the machines so well that before the problems come in machines, we understand them.
What’s WSS’ recommendation on pre-emptive measures that can provide early detection of fuel impurities?
We can test fuels for different problems and we can test lubricants for different problems. Catalytic fines is a hot topic right now - everybody's talking about it and it troubles the industry. So, what do we do about it? Wilhelmsen has got many easy to use test kits: you can carry out a quick spot check on the fuel for cat fines whilst you are bunkering and you have a quick answer - it takes 15 minutes, it gives you a quick reply.