Norbulk orders onboard cat fines test kit

New test kit is said to detect catalytic fines in a matter of minutes.

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Updated on 05 Feb 2016 08:38 GMT

Parker Kittiwake, a global supplier of asset control and protection technology, has announced a "significant order" of its recently launched Cat Fines Test Kit [pictured] from leading ship management company, Norbulk Shipping.

UK-based Parker Kittiwake says the contract was awarded "following a competitive evaluation of the available market options, meeting Norbulk's requirement for a simple solution that any of its crew members could use to get an accurate and repeatable result, quickly".

The Parker Kittiwake Cat Fines Test Kit is a simple pre-mixed chemical bottle test which detects the presence of catalytic (or 'cat') fines in a representative sample of fuel oil. Thus, operators are able to identify the presence of abrasive and potentially damaging components in the fuel oil before it enters the system.

Walter Woodage, Director/General Manager at Norbulk Shipping, commented: "Proactive condition monitoring is an integral part of maximising our operational efficiency. With changes in fuel quality, catalytic fines have become a real problem in recent times, which is why the advent of onboard testing is so welcome. Having evaluated the available tools, we have identified the Parker Kittiwake Cat Fines Test Kit as the most simple and reliable way for our engineers to quickly identify potentially damaging cat fines in fuel oil. They can now take timely action to minimise the likelihood of damage, avoiding the associated costs and challenges if damage occurs."

Cat fines are small enough to pass through the majority of filtration systems and into to the cylinder liner, where they become embedded in the liner walls, causing extensive damage. The replacement of one liner can cost up to $65,000 for parts alone, and can run into hundreds of thousands for a single vessel with multiple cylinders, including materials, labour and the associated costs of downtime and repair.

Launched in October 2015, the Parker Kittiwake Cat Fines Test Kit can be used in conjunction with both laboratory testing and a range of other onboard condition monitoring tools, ensuring that operators have reliable and accurate data readily to safeguard critical machinery against damage.

Larry Rumbol, condition monitoring market development manager, Parker Kittiwake explained: "As environmental regulation becomes more widespread, the quality of fuel supplied to a vessel is increasingly difficult to predict. As more distillates are being taken from the oil, this requires more refining, and as a result more catalyst is being carried over. Until now, the detection of cat fines in fuel oil was only possible by obtaining a fuel sample, which is then sent for laboratory analysis. However this takes time, and if cat fines are not reduced by suitable treatment, their abrasive nature will damage the engine - particularly fuel pumps, injectors, piston rings and liners - leading to costly repairs and unplanned downtime."

He continued: "Insurers are increasingly insistent on enforcing compliance with the guidance they issue on maintenance practices, which is becoming more and more reliant on the data provided by the shipowner. Through having a continuous stream of data to refer to through simple tools such as the cat fines test kit, shipowners can not only identify the early warning signs of potentially catastrophic damage, but will also have the evidence they require to demonstrate to their insurer that they have taken every step to mitigate the issue, thereby safeguarding their financial claim."

For over two decades, Parker Kittiwake has designed, developed and manufactured condition monitoring and test equipment for lube oil, hydraulic oil and fuels. Engineers use Parker Kittiwake equipment to analyse the health of their vessels' engines or to measure fuel quality and compatibility.

"The Cat Fines Test Kit is an important addition to the company's comprehensive suite of condition-based maintenance (CBM) products, underlining Parker Kittiwake’s commitment to developing tools and technology that addresses the challenges faced by today's ship owners and marine engineers," the company said.