With all the talk about decarbonisation, energy-saving technologies and future fuels it’s easy to forget that well-planned and executed maintenance alone can offer some big savings. When something works efficiently, say a team or a process, we say it’s running ‘like a well-oiled machine’. This captures the importance of good maintenance practices in a nutshell. Here are the top four benefits of good maintenance practices.
Juha Kelkka, Director of the Transactional Sales Team at Wärtsilä highlights that taking good care of critical engine components helps you avoid knock-on problems further down the line, where the wear or failure of one component can lead to more extensive and expensive problems later.
The critical components to highlight are the:
If you look after these components at the very least, you’re on the right track to maintaining good engine reliability and efficiency. Unpleasant surprises caused by poor maintenance of these components can be time consuming and potentially very expensive to fix. What’s more, paying limited or no attention to them will compromise your fuel oil economy and negatively impact your OPEX and CII rating.
Kelkka explains that there are some good housekeeping practices beyond regular component replacement that can help you to optimise engine performance. These include:
Speaking about the fuel injection system, Kelkka highlights that a typical problem seen is with engines that were originally designed for one type of fuel but now run on another. You might have switched fuel, say from residual to distillate, but have you increased the auxiliary cooling capacity and equipment settings to match? If not, your fuel viscosity could be unnecessarily low, which can impact your engine’s reliability and efficiency. For example, it might lead to components wearing out more quickly, or increased fuel consumption due to delayed and prolonged injection timing.
You might be surprised to learn that each individual category of critical components listed above contributes quite a bit towards your engine’s overall fuel consumption. Kelkka breaks the numbers down in terms of the fuel consumption impact of each category:
These numbers might sound small, but when you’re burning thousands of tons of fuel a year, every single drop saved represents money in the bank and lower emissions. Keep these components well maintained and you’re saving your bottom line – and your CII rating.
The IMO’s CII regulations came into force in January 2023. As it stands, 45% of the merchant fleet risks non-compliance if no action is taken. Every drop of fuel saved can help to improve your vessel’s CII rating. This is why many operators are looking to energy saving technologies to help cut their fuel bills.
Hand-picked content: Unsure about CII compliance? Here’s how energy saving technologies can help
To illustrate the impact of well-executed scheduled maintenance on your vessel’s CII rating, Kelkka presents a simplified example based on a simulation of a bulker vessel with a large bore 4-stroke main engine.
The simulation demonstrates that, even though the CII regulations become stricter as time goes on, with proper maintenance it’s possible to keep your vessel compliant, with a C rating, for longer.
The example shows that:
Concluding, Kelkka summarises the influence that the choices you make regarding maintenance can have on your OPEX. Each case is unique, and the decisions you make in the short term can have significant long-term impacts – but essentially, put a little more effort in and you can get far bigger returns out:
Want to learn in more detail how good maintenance practices can save you money and support CII compliance? Watch the Planning maintenance in a changing environment webinar to find out.
We would be happy to discuss maintenance plans for your vessels. Please contact your Wärtsilä sales manager.