Doubling the lifetime of a piston head

Doubling the lifetime of a piston head

After two years of testing on ships and in power plants, Wärtsilä, and its business line QuantiServ, have launched a new cost-saving reconditioning system for pistons of two-stroke engines.

Text: Alexander Farnsworth Photo: QuantiServ

Pistons are of course the foot soldiers of most energy generation systems, engine or generator, and the wear and tear on them is excessive, pressures are huge, and tolerances are tight. Such pistons are often one-metre in diameter and weigh up to 1,400 kg.

With QuantiServ’s new QS 50K™ coating and reconditioning system, based on robotised laser cladding technology, customers can double runnable hours on their piston heads and are given a two-year warranty. The coating procedure takes one day.

“This means less downtime and huge cost savings for customers,” says Peter Blok, Manager Workshop Standards and Tool Development, QuantiServ, explaining how standard piston reconditioning with old-school chromium-6 plating only lasts 24,000 hours on average. “QS 50K™ stands for minimum 50,000 hours and it is quite revolutionary. Our competitors are not able to apply this new technology.”

QS 50K™ is a new type of coating that gets applied to piston heads that are disassembled from an engine (even non-Wärtsilä ones) to be reconditioned using laser cladding technology - a laser-controlled process, which fuses a new and longer lasting coating to the surface of the piston ring grooves. Normally, hazardous chromium-6 is applied to the ring grooves but this is an environmentally hazardous procedure for operators. The nature of the new material, which is applied as a powder and fused with lasers, was not possible before the QS 50K™ coating and process was developed.

Doubling the lifetime of a piston head 2
Before its official launch in January 2018, QS 50K™
was extensively and successfully field tested.


Soon in a port near you!

The QS 50K™ coating was developed at QuantiServ’s Reconditioning knowledge centre in Kruiningen, Netherlands. During 2018/2019, the new coating will be available in other QuantiServ workshops including Dubai, Shanghai, Singapore, Canada and Genoa. It has other applications in the remanufacturing business as well.

Before its official launch in January 2018, QS 50K™ was extensively and successfully field tested on a container ship and in power plants in Jamaica and in the Canary Islands, respectively.

According to Blok, reconditioned pistons with the QS 50K™ coating often outlive brand new pistons.

Doubling the lifetime of a piston head3

Safe and long-lasting feature

“In addition to its environmental efficiency, the new coating extends the piston head’s lifespan and time between overhauls (TBO), compared to conventional chromium layers. We have field-tested the new technology on container vessels, and after 15,000 running hours, the results are very promising, showing excellent running behaviour and very low piston wear rates,” says Jan Willem Vroege, Recon Technology Specialist, 2-stroke Engine Services QuantiServ.

“Based on these tests, we predict that reconditioning the piston by using the new laser cladding process with the QS50K™ coating can double the lifespan of a piston head.”

“This new technology is one of several innovative steps that can bring the traditional reconditioning processes into the digitalised 21st century, while ensuring the predictability of assets for our customers and supporting the Wärtsilä and QuantiServ vision for setting industry standards for smart and sustainable solutions,” says Vroege.


The QuantiServ story

QuantiServ offers specialised, fast and reliable support, maintenance and repair services for customers operating equipment by multiple brands, both in the marine and energy sectors.

The QuantiServ team consists of some 400 specialised professionals. They provide reconditioning and in-situ services as well as flexible repair and overhaul services for auxiliary and generating sets on board customers’ vessels. The team is equipped with leading technology and know-how, certified expertise to match IMO requirements, extensive OEM experience and unmatched global reach.

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