NYK develops water-in-oil alarm to avert engine problems

Alarm system designed to detect real-time anomalies caused by water in lubricating oil.

The NYK-operated Haramachi Maru. Image credit: NYK Line

Updated on 16 Nov 2018 17:24 GMT

NYK Line and Monohakobi Technology Institute (MTI Co. Ltd.) have developed an alarm system that is designed to detect real-time anomalies caused by water in lubricating oil. The alarm has already been installed on the NYK-operated Haramachi Maru.

Explaining the reason for starting the project, NYK notes that controlling the quality and property of lube oil is very important in order for engines to operate stably. In particular, water can contaminate lube oil when cooling water for the engine leaks or the oil purifier fails, during which time the bearings and other components can be seriously damaged.

NYK points out that it used to periodically send extracted lube oil to an onshore lab for moisture content analysis because determining the moisture content in real time was not possible.

The decision was then made to embark on an onboard trial that lasted more than a year, where data was gathered from a sensor that had been equipped to measure the moisture content of the lubricating oil for the main engine.

According to the results of the trial, there was a strong correlation between the relative moisture content of the lube oil and engine-room humidity/temperature.

As a consequence, a new alarm system was developed to emit early warning signals when the permissible range between the actual relative moisture content of the lube oil exceeds the proper moisture content for the surrounding environment based on the temperature and humidity in the engine room.

After detection, immediate action can then be taken at an early stage.

NYK says it will continue to install this advanced alarm on its vessels in an effort to improve vessel safety via the early detection of lube oil anomalies.

Furthermore, the project team is to collect and analyze data gathered from onboard sensors in order to develop a new alarm for the generator.

In its medium-term management plan entitled 'Staying Ahead 2022 with Digitalization and Green', released in March, NYK announced a strategy to achieve sustainable growth; the shipping company aims to utilize digital technology to help improve operational management and develop preventive maintenance solutions.