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Live From Nor-Shipping 2017

ExxonMobil cylinder monitoring programme reveals unexpected issues

ExxonMobil’s cylinder monitoring programme has revealed a host of engine operating issues owners are unaware of, some which at their most extreme could cause catastrophic failure.

The ExxonMobil MobilGard Cylinder Condition Monitoring programme has been running for 15 years, but has recently shifted to fully automated reporting with computer based algorithms generating reports. Iain White, global marketing manager, ExxonMobil Marine said that with standardized data and analysis they have been able to see trends in operational factors that they have not in the past.

White told Seatrade Maritime News in an interview at Nor-Shipping 2017 that in some cases it confirmed things ExxonMobil had thought would be the case but it others it showed up widespread issues it had not expected.

“So what its done is its confirmed some of the things that we thought, for example about half the ships we see the ships have actually got the wrong feed rate in the engine, that could be in either direction,” he explained.

If owners are using too much lubrication, the most common scenario they are basically wasting money, and too much oil can also cause deposits resulting in wear.

“Or alternatively they're not using enough oil and there's the possibility for catastrophic wear to take place and there's potential for significant damage,” he said.

While the results in terms of feed rates were expected the results from analysing data from the previous 12 months in terms of cat fines contamination were not.

Some 43% of samples were found to have cat fines contamination, which can cause catastrophic engine failure, a far higher level than would have been expected from fuel testing results.

“What we've found is that the individual batches of fuel they are testing are not actually high but over time the (cat fines) can settle out in the tanks on the ship and then ships goes through some bad weather suddenly that slug of cat fines comes through. It’s been unexpectedly thrown up physically,” White explained.

“We're not actually measuring the fuel, we are picking up the consequences of having it in the fuel and the wear, so we're picking up essentially the damage that is happening.”

In the case of cold corrosion this was found in 15% of cases reflecting that it was an issue that only really affects newer engines.

“Probably one of the other surprises is that 25% of the samples show evidence of a water washing problem,” White said.

The presence of water in the engine removes cylinder oil from the liners and can cause high wear.

ExxonMobil plans much more analysis of the data it is getting across different engine and vessel types. “But just in the early stages we've realised we've got the ability to get at these insights and discuss them, and what the priorities are to talk to shipowners about,” White said.

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