THE MARINE LOG FEATURES CALENDAR FOR 2003
April 16 2003
RT-flex engines break into post-Panamax sector
The first Sulzer RT-flex common-rail engines to power large container liners have been ordered.
Four 7,500 TEU Post-Panamax container liners recently contracted by Blue Star Reederei, a subsidiary of P&O Nedlloyd BV, with the Japanese group IHI Marine United Inc. will each be propelled by a 12-cylinder Sulzer RT-flex96C engine of 68,640 kW.
The engines will be built under license from Wärtsilä Corporation by Diesel United Ltd in Aioi, Japan. The first of these ships is due for delivery towards the end of 2004, with the others being delivered in 2005.
In addition, 8-cylinder Sulzer RT-flex96C engines, each of 45,760 kW, will be installed in two 5,040 TEU vessels ordered by Herm Dauelsberg GmbH & Co at Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd in Korea. These engines will be built under license from Wärtsilä Corporation by Hyundai. The first ship is due for delivery in May 2005.
The engines for the Blue Star Reederei ships are the most powerful diesels so far announced with electronically-controlled common-rail fuel injection. This contract marks a major step forward for the fully-integrated electronic control and common-rail technologies incorporated in Sulzer RT-flex engines.
Sulzer RT-flex engines are have electronically-controlled common-rail systems for fuel injection and valve actuation. This gives great flexibility in the way the engines operate, to deliver benefits such as smokeless operation at all operating speeds, much lower steady running speeds (useful for canal passages and harbor approaches), reduced maintenance requirements, greater reliability, and lower fuel consumption.
The first series-built Sulzer RT-flex production engine in operation is the Sulzer 6RT-flex58T-B in the bulk carrier "Gypsum Centennial" which entered service in September 2001. It has now accumulated more than 7,500 running hours. More recently further Sulzer RT-flex engines have been built at Wärtsilä's Trieste factory in Italy, and by licensees in
Korea and Japan.
The Sulzer RT-flex96C is adapted from the well-established Sulzer RTA96C engine, the most powerful Sulzer low-speed marine engine type. This is a popular prime mover for the world's largest types of container liners. Recent orders for Sulzer RTA96C engines have taken the number of engines in service or on order to a total of 139 engines with an aggregate power output of 7,954 MW (10.82 million
Introduced in 1994, the Sulzer RTA96C engine has successfully made its mark in the propulsion of large container ships. All the engines are employed in this application, in ships with container capacities from 3,700 to more than 8,000 TEU. The first engines entered service in October 1997 and the longest-running engines have exceeded 36,000 running hours.
Initially there was an emphasis on engines with 10, 11 and 12 cylinders in-line, giving up to 65,880 kW in one engine to suit the newer generation of large Post-Panamax container liners. Some 91 of the engines delivered or on order have 10, 11 or 12 cylinders. In 2001, the RTA96C power range was extended to 80,080 kW by the addition of a 14-cylinder model and an increase in cylinder power to 5,720 kW for all cylinder numbers. This raised the maximum continuous power of the 12-cylinder engine to 68,640 kW. More recently, advantage has been taken of the high cylinder output to provide compact engines with down to seven cylinders for Panamax vessels.
In addition to the orders for Sulzer RT-flex versions, there have been orders for 23 ships equipped with Sulzer RTA96C main engines in recent months. They include five 8,030 TEU vessels contracted by the German shipowner Reederei Claus-Peter Offen at Hanjin Heavy Industries in Korea, each having a 12-cylinder engine of 68,640 kW output. Eight-cylinder engines, each of 45,760 kW will be installed in six 5600 TEU ships contracted by the German shipowner Hamburg Süd at Daewoo Heavy Industries Ltd in Korea. Twelve containerships ordered from Hyundai's Ulsan and Samho yards by another German shipowner Nordcapital (E. Rickmers) will also be powered by Sulzer RTA96C engines. They comprise five 7800 TEU vessels with 12-cylinder engines, four 5040 TEU vessels with 9-cylinder engines and three 5040 TEU vessels with 8-cylinder engines.