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A shift to better maintenance is accelerating

Predictive maintenance, on the rise in part due to the pandemic, is offering shipowners less downtime and fewer days in port

SHIPPING is shifting from programmed maintenance to predictive maintenance but the pace across the industry has lagged behind what is technically possible and available. In an ironic twist of fate, the Covid-19 pandemic that has so badly affected shipping in so many ways may have provided the spur that is necessary to accelerate the trend.

With travel and engineer visits difficult to arrange, shipowners have welcomed the remote assistance that some OEMS and service providers have been able to offer. Many of those owners are also taking a longer look at methods of ensuring asset availability and exploring predictive maintenance for future implementation. They may find that old ideas of what is available are no longer relevant.

Wärtsilä was an early pioneer in offering predictive maintenance services for its engines and developing lifecycle care for expensive assets. With its new Lifecycle Solutions portfolio and its Expert Insight service in particular, Wärtsilä takes that to a new level. Wärtsilä’s Lifecycle Solutions extends beyond simple maintenance and operation by delivering guaranteed performance based on mutually agreed target levels.

Experience in gathering and interpreting data has allowed Wärtsilä to develop artificial intelligence (AI) techniques and rule-based advanced diagnostics which, in combination with the knowledge and experience of Wärtsilä’s product experts, allows for the most efficient predictive maintenance service possible. If a predicted parameter is not met, the anomaly will be flagged up.

For shipowners making use of the Expert Insight service, it means less downtime and fewer days in port. Expert Insight’s real-time monitoring of shipboard performance allows for Remote Services to step in and determine if a port call is needed and what action needs taking in the meantime. Identifying potential anomalies in real time also means that ships can make the most of scheduled port calls and better predict maintenance costs.

Expert Insight was first made available in late 2019 for four-stroke engines but has since been extended to cover two-stroke engines and is being developed to also cover exhaust gas cleaning systems or scrubbers. For scrubbers, the predictive maintenance features will be released later, but in the interim the service provides customers operating scrubbers with valuable compliance information, including automated non-compliance incident reporting, scrubber usage statistics, and a live compliance map.

The AI aspect of the Expert Insight service will flag up potential problems around the clock, backed up by Wärtsilä’s human experts operating from its service centres at strategic locations around the globe who can step in and take any necessary action possible or give recommendations to prevent any problem escalating.

Click here to read about Wärtsilä’s Lifecycle Solutions and watch the video on improving asset performance over the lifecycle.

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