Japanese auxiliary machinery monitoring tool trial

MOL and AEC launched a trial of a monitoring service for auxiliary marine machinery on ten vessels in March 2020. (Image courtesy of AEC)MOL and AEC launched a trial of a monitoring service for auxiliary marine machinery on ten vessels in March 2020. (Image courtesy of AEC)

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL) and Japanese technology developer Asahi Kasei Engineering Corp. (AEC) have begun trialling a predictive maintenance tool for auxiliary engines on ten ocean-going vessels, following the successful conclusion of a pilot project aboard three vessels.

The V-MO service (Vessel Vibration Visualization Monitor) applies vibration diagnosis technology to monitor key rotating equipment on ships, allowing signs of abnormality to be predictively identified. AEC and MOL launched a pilot study of the technology aboard two newbuildings, a pure car and truck carrier and an oil tanker, in November 2017. The vibration sensor-based failure diagnostic technology was also retrofitted aboard a container vessel.

The data was quantitatively and qualitatively analysed, combining operational data and maintenance records of the machinery. The pilot study confirmed that AEC’s vibration diagnosis, which had been developed for stationary applications, could support condition-based monitoring of equipment on ships.

In late March, MOL and AEC announced that the technology would be trialled on a further ten vessels as a step towards commercialising the technology. This would provide operational data from 80 auxiliary units. The V-MO tool is expected to be launched commercially for shipping companies and ship management companies by the end of March 2021.

While the focus of the project has been on key rotating equipment, such as pumps and purifiers, MOL is also proceeding with plans to develop condition-based monitoring of main engines aboard vessels.

In March 2020 MOL confirmed it would participate in a joint research project with the National Maritime Research Institute (NMRI) and the National Institute of Maritime, Port and Aviation Technology (MPAT) to create a digital model of a two-stroke main engine using operational data from MOL vessels.

The project is expected to support condition-based maintenance processes and optimise the ongoing operation of the engines onboard MOL’s vessels.

Both the V-MO and digital twin projects are part of MOL’s ISHIN NEXT smart ship project, which has launched in 2016.

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