Just 2 per cent of the shipping industry has fully adopted condition based maintenance (CBM) strategies despite the cost and reliability benefits it brings. According to InterManager secretary general, Kuba Szymanski, much more should be done to educate shipowners in the investment benefits and payback time. “98 per cent of the shipping industry are not ready to invest in CBM,” he said. ”As an industry we need to find ways to invest in CBM and set standards as only 2 per cent of the industry are doing this.”
At the IMarEST Condition Based Maintenance Conference, shipping company engineers and technical officers outlined the cost benefits. James Fisher has reduced costs and downtime by introducing condition monitoring on tankers. Engineering manager Martin Briddon explained how installing a £15,000 condition monitoring system could save the company 10 times that amount. He told delegates at the conference that a lube oil pump failure could cost £57,000 to repair, but could take three days, leading to off-hire losses of £90,000 and other costs, such as management time and increased insurance premiums.
James Fisher is using one of its tankers as part of the UK Government funded Sea-Core research project. Mr Briddon said this involves monitoring energy consumption and power from the diesel-electric system, as well as monitoring shaft alignment, system vibrations and weather. “We are monitoring energy consumption and we can predict failures before they happen,” he said.
Despite the benefits, ship operators find it difficult to put forward the business case to managers that hold the purse strings. “98 per cent of people struggle with showing the CBM investment business case.” He advised the best way to begin implementing CBM is to start with a pilot project on machinery that causes 80 per cent of issues and failures.
Shipowner Österreichischer Lloyd Shipping has implemented condition monitoring on some of its vessels. Chief operating officer Aleksander Legowski said the company monitors engines, lube oil and oily water. “We monitor engines to predict failures and can investigate problems. Our fleet managers will analyse data and send it to service providers,” he said.
The offshore vessel industry is ahead of the shipping sector in adopting CBM practices. Technip saved US$1 million per year on equipment replacement and downtime costs when it introduced CBM on vessels, according to technical manager Syed Ahmed. He said a pilot project on subsea construction vessel Apache II solved the problem that Technip was having with thruster issues and vessel downtime. Also on the vessel, Technip is using Mera’s monitoring service on hydraulic systems, such as cranes. Mera chief executive Reidar Retzius said Technip is ready to roll this out across more of the fleet. Mr Ahmed is now working with accommodation vessel and rig owner Prosafe to implement CBM.
Offshore engineering group McDermott has implemented CBM across its fleet after it took a US$2 million loss due to a gearbox failure two years ago. Fleet manager David Baker said the failure shut down one of its vessels for more than 30 days, which meant it had to go off-hire. He said CBM could have prevented the failure and the loss.