When it comes to vessel maintenance the phrase 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' was long the watchword for engineers everywhere but now one company at least is trying to change attitudes to one of the vital components which every decent sized ship, from container vessel to LNG bulk carrier, needs to continue a voyage uninterrupted. With a view to upgrade the efficiency of those everyday but essential items, fluid pumps, such as those used for ballast water and cooling in the ocean shipping sector, Colfax Fluid Handling has come up with a concept they call Allmind.
As the name suggests the concept, developed from a single leakage control device, has become an intelligent condition monitoring and variable speed control unit which will protect a pump, maximise its efficiency, lower energy usage and reduce maintenance and spare parts costs. The condition monitoring module has the ability to maximise system availability by providing component-specific information. This measurement of the health of a pump by routine monitoring and analysis of data helps avoid unplanned downtime.
Colfax says that despite the best intentions of shore-side superintendents, under constant pressure to reduce operational expenses and equipment downtime, the best pump systems are at risk due to a lack of diagnostic information and sophisticated control systems. The shortage of experienced crew and out-dated attitudes to pump operation undermine management attempts further, and the result is needlessly high operation and maintenance costs, increased downtime and frustration for all involved.