OCTOBER 9, 2013 — Wärtsilä has launched a new Bio Seal Ring product for maritime stern tube seal applications and says that it is the first seal on the market that works with Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EAL), sometimes known as bio-degradable oils, for a lifetime of at least five years. Conventional seal rings are recommended to be changed at two and a half year intervals.
The new product enables compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Vessel General Permit 2013 legislation that comes into force on December 19, 2013. From that date all commercial vessels over 79 ft operating in U.S. waters will be required to use EALs in all oil to water interfaces unless deemed technically infeasible to do so.
Wärtsilä says that the benefits offered by the Bio Seal Ring to shipowners and operators are both environmental and economic. The extended operating life expectancy has a significantly positive impact on drydock scheduling and related costs.
The unique features of the Wärtsilä Bio Seal Ring have been achieved through improvements in the material formula by including new additives. The product has been tested extensively and proven in the Wärtsilä Seals and Bearings' R&D facility.
This solution is suited to fixed pitched propeller systems. Wärtsilä recommends that ship owners consult with the propulsion original equipment manufacturers to confirm EAL compatibility for controllable pitch propeller systems.
"The new Wärtsilä Bio Seal Ring represents the latest development in this field," says Mr. Ryu Onishi, Managing Director, Seals and Bearings Wärtsilä Japan."It conforms with the latest EPA legislation relating to the use of EALs within stern tube seals. On the global scale, the introduction of this product is fully in line with the marine sector's rapidly developing move towards greater environmental sustainability."
In addition to new shipbuilding applications, the Wärtsilä Bio Seal Ring can also be retrofitted to existing vessels. The first deliveries of the product will take place in October of this year.