A hero without a cape
From saving a ship in the eye of a storm to developing energy saving solutions for a greener tomorrow. In his seven-year stint at Wärtsilä, Hydrodynamic Design Engineer Tim Cales has seen it all. But this he feels is just the beginning.
For Tim Cales, nothing is more important than meeting customer expectations. He started his journey as a Hydrodynamicist with Wärtsilä back in 2011 at the age of 23.
As a Hydrodynamic Design Engineer, Tim’s job is not just about calculations. Finding the best-tailored solutions for each and every ship is also key. And it is this quest that has driven him to be a part of a team that develops innovative solutions.
“We developed two Energy-Saving Devices (ESDs). ESDs are devices which can be added to or around the propeller to boost the overall efficiency of a ship,” explains Tim. The EnergoProFin (EPF), the energy-saving propeller cap developed by Wärtsilä in 2013, has been very well received. Within just a few years, the EPF has become a great success with more than 300 units sold and counting.
Tim adds that almost every day, he gets at least one unexpected question that forces him to think outside of the box or come up with a new approach for a particular problem.
From choppy waters to greener pastures
However, such opportunities don’t always come from within the comforts of the office. For Tim, a particularly memorable challenge that tested his knowledge and expertise was when a ship had to be rushed to safety in the face of an approaching storm.
The ship in question was a Floating Production, Storage and Offloading vessel that was connected to a turret from the ship's moon pool (a large circular opening in the bottom of the ship).
“This ship had to disconnect from the turret and flee to safer waters,” recalls Tim, adding that the ship's speed was restricted by the interaction between the propeller and the main engine due to heavy fouling on the hull and propeller and the added resistance from the ship's moon pool.
To solve this impasse, an extensive sensitivity study was carried out. This determined the required geometry of a new propeller to improve the engine-propeller interaction and ensured that the vessel could make it to safe waters in case of approaching storms.
All in a day’s work
For Tim, such challenges are all in a day’s work. His typical workday is packed with meeting tight delivery deadlines, conducting consultancy studies, providing support to the sales team and overlooking development projects.
There are definitely no signs of the seven-year itch, but instead, Tim is excited to build on the knowledge and experience of the past years to support Wärtsilä's future goals of transformation into a sustainable and innovative services-driven company. He feels that the strategic acquisition of companies that add value to its current offerings and a strong focus on digitalisation has ensured that Wärtsilä stays ahead of the curve.
“The company has increasingly moved its focus from 4-stroke diesel combustion engines to more sustainable and novel propulsion concepts,” Tim says with a sparkle of optimism in his eyes.
But for now, it’s back to being an everyday hero and making sure everything runs smoothly.