Page 8: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (February 2001)
Investment in Design
Two-Stroke Milestones by David Tinsley, technical editor
Eastern seaboard operator Gypsum
Transportation provided a beacon for the industry when it nominated a camshaft- less, electronically controlled Sulzer diesel engine for its 50,000-dwt-bulker newbuild project. Now, the interests behind a Mediterranean reefership scheme have also endorsed the concept, which represents a milestone in two- stroke technology, and signals a step change in large diesel engine operating flexibility.
In one sense, MAN B&W stole a march on arch-rival Wartsila through the recent conversion at sea of a low-speed,
MC-series propulsion engine to full electronic control. However, Wartsila's latest success in sealing contracts for two Sulzer engines configured from the outset for operation in electronic mode gives new commercial succour to the group's technological drive.
As with Gypsum Transportation's self- unloader, due to be commissioned in
July, a newly-booked pair of reefer ves- sels for the Israeli export trade will pro- vide an operating platform for the inno- vative Sulzer RT-flex system.
Just as the results from the extended, 10,000-hour test of the 6L60MC elec- tronic engine in the chemtanker Bow
Cecil will influence the future MAN
B&W two-stroke program, the RT-flex contracts have potentially enormous, long-term significance for Wartsila's low-speed engine business and future technological endeavors.
If shipowners can realize the gains in reliability, economy and flexibility across the complete engine operating profile promised by the advocates of the electronic mode, demand for such plant will surely accelerate. The capital cost of low-speed machinery employing computerized fuel injection and valve actuation, relative to the conventional, camshaft-fitted product, would not appear to be an issue. Rather, and in time-honored fashion, the shipping industry will be looking to a fair spread of operating and performance results from such a fundamental change in engine design before it unreservedly embraces the technology. The Sulzer
RT-flex system applies common-rail fuel injection to the low-speed sector.
Common-rail systems, first used on smaller types of four-stroke machinery, are also being introduced to the large medium-speed diesel category, as
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