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Wartsila expands measurement and alignment services

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Alignment measurement of the propeller shaft using Wärtsilä's patented gyro laser technology

APRIL 25, 2016 — Wärtsilä is expanding its alignment and measurement services, which help ship operators increase operating time by measuring, analyzing and correcting alignment issues in propulsion equipment.

“Problems in alignment can lead to serious damage if not detected and remedied in time,” says René Bertelsen, Global Sales Manager, Seals & Bearings Alignment & measurement services. “As the misaligned equipment rotates, it causes vibration and stress that can result in breakdown of the shaft assembly or, in the long run, even large-scale damage to struts and hulls. Costly repairs and downtime can be easily avoided by regular alignment inspections and realignment when necessary.”

Wärtsilä uses patented gyro laser technology to measure the bending line quickly and accurately. Used together with a jack-up system, it allows the engineer to compare the measured bending curve with the actual load in the bearings. Realignment of shaft lines only takes a couple of hours once the necessary tools are in place, says Wärtsilä. Shaft realignment is also useful in case of a bearing failure: measuring and correction can help bring the ship safely to dock for repairs.

Portable condition measurement system to the rescue

When a stern tube bearing, seal or shaft fails, finding the root cause quickly is essential. To achieve this, Wärtsilä has developed a state-of-the-art portable condition measurement system. With this technology, health checks of equipment can be carried out flexibly while the vessel is in operation. Service engineers can measure the vibration, temperature, torque and position of the equipment to determine the reason for the failure and make the necessary repairs and adjustments.

“Troubleshooting is now easier than ever,” says Mr.Bertelsen. “Vessels with constant charter can have the portable measurement equipment mounted while loading or unloading cargo to avoid downtime. Monitoring can be initiated within one day, and the system logs all incoming data from the equipment while the vessel is in operation, helping to detect any abnormalities in the functioning of the equipment. “This is a significant innovation that benefits all ship operators, but cruise and ferry operators and container vessels in particular, as avoiding vibration is very important to them and unexpected interruptions can become very costly.”

Wärtsilä alignment and measurement services now cover a wide range of equipment: stern tubes, propeller shafts, intermediate shafts, engines, gearboxes, shaft generators, rudders and hulls. All work is carried out using class-approved methods and the services are offered around the globe.Alignment measurement of the propeller shaft using Wärtsilä’s patented gyro laser technology.

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