The tailor-made five-year agreement was signed in March with U.S.-based PCH. It covers six vessels and 27 Wärtsilä engines, with an option for more.
In the agreement, Wärtsilä will minimise downtime in routine overhauls and maintenance. The company will provide maintenance planning, the supply of spare parts for Wärtsilä 38A, Wärtsilä 46 and Wärtsilä Vasa 32 engines, the installation of real-time Condition Based Maintenance for the engines, training of the crew, technical surveys, and workshop services.
A contract first
One of PCH’s six cruise ships has also been equipped with the revolutionary Propulsion Condition Monitoring Service (PCMS), Wärtsilä’s first sold in North America.
“It’s the first contract of its kind,” explains Daniele Carbonera, Contract Manager with Wärtsilä in North America.
“We have agreed to support PCH worldwide. Because delays to luxury cruises are costly, we are giving a guarantee of the quality of service, the delivery dates for spare parts and the duration of maintenance operations on board. In essence we are integrating our operations with the customer’s technical department.”
The aim of this long-term service agreement is to give PCH peace of mind and to enhance its profitability. Maintenance costs are established in advance, making it easy to budget the investment, and the contract contains performances guarantees and some liabilities – even for engine failure.
In a ground-breaking deal such as this, initial challenges were to be expected.
“We had to completely readjust our standard contract to to accommodate their needs, the status of the equipment and their planned maintenance schedules. We needed to be flexible so we integrated these into the overall package. It was a big job,” Carbonera says.
Since then, Wärtsilä and PCH have found new ways to enhance the quality of operations, including an automation upgrade, propulsion services and a PCMS installation.
“Keeping all equipment up to standard is becoming a major logistics and planning project as sailing schedules change, new ports are visited and maintenance stops become briefer. New technologies like the Propulsion Condition Monitoring Service, linked to a dynamic maintenance concept, are the key. Based on this we do see further market potential for this type of service,” says Tomas Hakala, Vice President for Services in the Americas.
One year ahead
The cornerstone of all the activities is an annual plan, largely based on the estimated running hours of the engines and the customer’s cruise schedules.
“The plan consists of technical surveys, scheduled maintenance and training. Once it has been signed by both parties, it becomes the basis of annual work,” Carbonera says.
Dedicated teams have been assembled at Wärtsilä and PCH to work smoothly together. Carbonera is in daily contact in his role as the Contract Manager, supported by the logistics coordinator and the technical manager. He submits monthly reports about what has been done aboard the vessels, what is scheduled for the month ahead and what urgent issues need to be tackled.
“In reality when you maintain equipment, you may find that you need to do less than planned or more than you planned, because the engine has to run smoothly until the next overhaul.”
Busy times ahead
The Nautica, one of the ships covered by the service agreement, is currently sailing through the Greek archipelago. On Deck 10, in the Toscana restaurant, dinner is being served.
Meanwhile, several decks below, there is engine maintenance on the menu for Wärtsilä’s professional service team. It is the key job in the annual plan. The required parts have been brought from Wärtsilä’s central distribution centre in the Netherlands.
“Many components need worldwide delivery. There is a lot of logistics work,” Carbonera says.
“Customer satisfaction shows that we are getting it right, in service, finance and performance. Negotiations on more contracts like these are currently under way.”
PCMS SAVES ON RUNNING COSTS
The main purpose of the Propulsion Condition Monitoring Service (PCMS) is to avoid unscheduled downtime and allow for dynamic maintenance schedules. The system achieves this by using on-board sensors to monitor vibrations, hydraulic pressures and the quality of lubrication oil.
PCMS can be installed aboard any vessel and is approved by the classification societies, allowing routine class inspections to be deferred.
“We tell ship operators that PCMS will significantly reduce unscheduled interruptions in your daily business,” says Nathaniel Minott, propulsion sales support in Wärtsilä North America.
The PCMS advisory monitor installed aboard displays the values of all vital signals and any urgent warnings in real time. The data is transmitted daily to Wärtsilä’s propulsion services in the Netherlands, where the information is analyzed by ISO-certified experts.
“We identify each system fault early on and take action to eliminate premature failures,” Minott says.
“For example, if traces of metal are detected in the oil, we inform the customer. If we identify a fault in a bearing, we advise a reduction in the load on it.”
Automated analysis algorithms process all the data to ensure that no event is missed. The customer gets a monthly report.
“This is valuable for detecting worrying trends. Major propulsion problems can only be fixed in dry dock, which entails a loss of business,” says Daniele Carbonera, Contract Manager.
The time required for repairs is reduced because PCMS pinpoints the exact location of problems.
“The price of PCMS for cruise vessels is minimal compared to the cost of a propulsion system failure. The potential savings can be counted in millions,” Carbonera points out.
There are around 100 installations of the advanced PCMS system. It is especially valuable in the offshore industry and cruise industry but is also valid for other businesses, where downtime is business critical and very expensive. PCMS can be used to monitor any manufacturer’s propulsion equipment.
DELAYS TO LUXURY CRUISES ARE COSTLY SO SERVICE QUALITY IS GUARANTEED.
THE POTENTIAL SAVINGS WITH PCMS CAN BE COUNTED IN MILLIONS.