Wärtsilä Shaft Line Repair Services: A global team of problem solvers

Wärtsilä Shaft Line Repair Services: A global team of problem solvers

6 min read

20 Apr 2020

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Tim Bird

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Wärtsilä

6 min read

20 Apr 2020

Text:

Tim Bird

Photo:

Wärtsilä

One year after its launch, Wärtsilä Shaft Line Repair Services draws on its global expertise to offer bespoke, project-managed services to customers for upgrading and overhauling vessel shaft lines and equipment. 

Launched at the beginning of 2019, Wärtsilä Shaft Line Repair Services (SLRS) was designed to streamline Wärtsilä’s varied expertise in dealing with propulsion shaft lines damaged from major marine incidents or presenting with operational symptoms (leakage, noise, vibration, etc). Since the propulsion shaft line is central to a vessel’s operational and environmental efficiency, it’s important for customers to have confidence in Wärtsilä’s ability to offer fast, cost-effective solutions in this field. 

“The triggering factor of any project is that email or that call when a problem is exposed, and from there, we start looking for solutions,” says Project Manager Paula Villaverde, based at Wärtsilä Seals & Bearings, Porriño, Spain. “My work as Project Manager in the Wärtsilä SLRS might not be the most structured or ‘by the book’, because our core business is more characterised by urgency and the unexpected.” 

Villaverde says the problems reported to the team vary widely. On one occasion, a vessel might have encountered an accident in which the propeller and complete shaft line presents damage. On another, the issue might be simply a worn-out bearing discovered during a dry-dock inspection. In any case, the approach is to look for the fastest way to provide support, whether that’s providing spare parts with the shortest possible lead time or appointing a service engineer to go on site urgently and carry out the required investigations into the root cause of the problem, perform an alignment job or replace spare parts. 

“We are the single contact point for the customer or network company acting on behalf of the customer and our mission is to put together all the pieces of the puzzle to deliver a good and fast solution,” Villaverde says. “The service was created to respond to a global need for a tailored, project-managed repair service for shaft lines and associated equipment. Wärtsilä prides itself on being ‘easy to deal with’ and this is the very base concept that inspired the creation of SLRS.”

Ready to solve any problem at any time

Villaverde’s involvement in the SLRS project began with her official appointment as Project Manager on 1 November 2019. She says that a team comprising highly skilled professionals guarantees success, but that’s not all Wärtsilä SLRS offers.  

“Flexibility and adaptability are also key factors in solving problems, and that is what we strive for in every SLRS project,” Villaverde says. 

Even with excellent team members, the development of such a comprehensive network does not come without challenges. 

“The most stressful part of this type of business is its urgency, so the most satisfying feeling is seeing how problems get solved. When the vessel is in dry dock waiting for a new bearing and we can provide it in just three days or when we can have one of our expert Field Service Engineers ready to assist the next day – these are sources of great satisfaction,” says Villaverde.

For Alignment Manager Jens Hyrup and his colleagues based near Aalborg in Denmark, integration with WärtsiläSLRS represents a continuation of work that dates back to 2002, when their operations within a private company were acquired by Wärtsilä.  The group focuses on the calculations, measurements, and assessments related to the rotating part of a vessel’s propulsion system.

“We are very proud of what do,” says Hyrup. “We have been working in this field for over 30 years and we are happy to be allowed to do the work that we know how to do. There have been challenges in this transition because it has involved a lot of organisational change.”

Hyrup believes that the Danish experience is an important addition to the Wärtsilä SLRS recipe. “Our guys on the field, whether working on installations in the USA, Asia or here in Denmark, have round-the-clock support from our team – they can call us any time – and we have to be able to support them at any time. The customers see Wärtsilä as a single entity. So they want one solution for the problem.”

‘From request to completion’

The introduction of Wärtsilä SLRS has placed demands on the team’s branches, not least because of the need to respond to very fast and high organic growth in business over the last year while implementing organisational changes.  

Another link in the Wärtsilä SLRS chain is Field Service Manager Selma Selamet, based in Havant, UK. Selamet’s daily tasks include the management of the engineers who travel globally to work on Wärtsilä Seals & Bearings products and solutions.

Wärtsilä Shaft Line Repair Services - A global team of problem solvers

What inspires me most is that every day I get to learn something new and this motivates me to work harder and achieve my best

- Selma Selamet

“I have to plan their time on jobs efficiently so we can fulfil our customer’s requirements,” says Selamet. “This also means I have to be flexible when my engineers are requested at short notice. We are an end-to-end business, so we coordinate jobs from request to completion and support our external and internal customers by providing technical support and engineers as and when needed. When the customer is satisfied, I am satisfied too. I also enjoy the variety of my daily work. Every day is different and there is always something to be working on so it can be very fast paced – and I like that. What inspires me most is that every day I get to learn something new and this motivates me to work harder and achieve my best.”

Learning to solve problems

Providing service and repairs at short notice is one of the hallmarks of Wärtsilä SLRS and team members are engaged in extensive cross-training and development activities. The changes of the last year have placed some demands on staff to the extent that free time is at a premium, but they still find time for family and hobbies.

“If you ask my family, they will say I am working all the time!” says Hyrup. “When I get spare time, I like to travel with the family, and I’m keen on football, cooking – and making my own beer.” 

Selamet also enjoys travelling and exploring different places and cultures. “I am also part of a netball team and I take part in the local Portsmouth league matches – I play for fun and to keep active.”

Villaverde’s biggest passion is travelling, too. “For sure this job involves getting to know new people and cultures, but in the scenario of solving someone’s problems, which is extremely satisfying.”

Wärtsilä SLRS is a shining example of how Wärtsilä is drawing on its truly experienced global network to provide customers with an exemplary service. 

A note from the Wärtsilä Seals & Bearings team: 

"As the world finds itself in unchartered waters with the global spread of COVID-19, we at Wärtsilä Seals & Bearings (S&B) are doing everything we can to maintain business operations.

We remain committed to supporting the shipping industry and would like to reassure our customers that we still have field service experts, and spare parts available for, performing retrofits and upgrades.

Our remote monitoring services likewise remain unaffected. Thanks to our innovative remote assistance services and Augmented Reality (AR) technology, we can support vessel maintenance tasks remotely, wherever you are in the world, even with government measures in place.

For any more information about how Wӓrtsilӓ Seals & Bearings can support you with your vessel during these testing times, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Our customers always come first. Stay healthy, stay safe, and we look forward to a time when normal business operations resume."