AMI Blog: Engine Room Solutions
Welcome to AMI’s new blog feature, we will have a regular blog discussing all things in the world of engineering. We will take you from the inner details of heat exchanger manufacture to other engineering challenges faced day to day when trying to maintain smooth running of large diesel or gas engines.
For this first blog, we sat down with Hinne Hoekstra from Industrial & Marine Services Engineering or ‘IMSE’. They are the market leaders in engine spares and repair for the most common types of engine. They perform engine overhauls, and manufacture their own quality, and class-approved engine spares available from stock in their headquarters in Antwerp, Belgium.
Hinne has overseen countless overhauls, provided troubleshooting for clients with engine issues and has years of experience in technical roles with big names such as Wagenborg and Van Oord. With this impressive background we decided to ask him about the challenges of large engine projects and how to overcome them.
Andrew Glover: Hinne, we’ve just finished exhibiting at Europort 2017, great show and very much the glamorous side of what we do. But a lot of your time is spent in less-glamorous engine rooms. What are the common problems IMSE find when they are asked to overhaul an engine room?
Hinne Hoekstra: The common problem is often poor maintenance. During the ‘crisis-time’ we find ship owners have usually had high running hours with their engines. This results in more wear and tear resulting in higher costs for overhaul. Another problem is running the engines under-load. This means running with a load to save fuel. Fuel is of course saved because less power is consumed, which means lower fuel costs. The downside to this is less turbo pressure and thus worse combustion leading to more contamination on key parts, resulting in more wear. Another problem is poor maintenance, caused by a lack of technical knowledge or simply being on board doing nothing in terms of maintenance and simply hoping the engine keeps on running as long as possible.
AG: A lot of the time, you are called by a client with a specific engine issue, perhaps a misfiring cylinder or excessive vibration. What’s the first thing you look at to begin troubleshooting the problem?
HH: First thing I ask is that you provide me your logbook details and engine performance + maintenance done. This will show a history of the engine’s running and maintenance, and perhaps show any longer term issues that could be directly affecting or causing the issue we have been asked to troubleshoot.
AG: And are the most common types of engine problem likely to have just one solution or can you take several approaches to get the client up and running?
HH: Most engine problems have multiple solutions. Most of the time I list them all for the crew to check and discuss the most efficient method of resolution, most of the time one of them solves the problem.
AG: As heat exchanger manufacturers, we of course hear problems mostly connected to the heat exchangers; however, we do also hear of issues with cracked or damaged cylinder heads. What can IMSE do to resolve a problem like this? Is this likely to mean a repair or replacement?
HH: If a cylinder head is cracked, the head should be replaced. There are companies that perform weld repairs to cylinder heads. I am not very fond on this type of repair mainly because the head is made of cast iron which is very difficult to weld. Most of the time when a repair is done the crack appears somewhere else. For a better and longer result a new or reconditioned head is a more guaranteed long-term solution.
AG: So just to put the projects we have discussed so far into perspective, what is the largest project IMSE have taken on?
HH: The largest project was running a power plant with 9 x V16 Polar Nohab Wärtsilä engines.
The project consisted of:
- Operations of all engines.
- Maintenance of all engines.
- Trouble shooting.