Keeping engines shipshape.
When Malin Instruments required a tailor-made pressure
transducer for their portable ship engine-analysing system,
the company turned to force measurement specialist
Thames Side Sensors.
Malin needed a transducer to monitor the changing pressures
within engine cylinders. It had to provide repeatable readings
under harsh conditions, in particular the high and fluctuating
temperatures, and extreme vibrations, found in marine engine
Thames Side-Maywood worked closely with Malin, drawing
upon its wealth of experience in transducer design and manufacture.
The company developed an oil-filled transducer surrounded by
vanes. The oil dampens vibration and the vanes dissipate heat,
providing a stable reading. The data provided by the transducer
is invaluable for maintaining the engine, keeping mechanical and
thermal stress as low as possible.
Ship engines are extremely powerful with many cylinders, and
balancing is extremely important. They must be timed correctly
as misfires can be highly destructive. The Malin 6000 uses the
transducer to provide a pressure trace which is synchronised
with the rotation of the engine. As well as helping to balance
the cylinders, the rate and final value of the pressure can help
to improve the engine's fuel consumption. They give a direct
indication of the quality of the sealing of the cylinder, deficiencies
in, for example, piston rings, and any reduction in turbo performance.
The system has proved very successful for Malin. It shows if all
the cylinders are compressing properly, if injection is progressing
correctly, helps to fix the ignition point to a better accuracy, and
improves fuel economy. It helps relieve undue stresses on, and
excitation of, the engine components thereby reducing engine
failure. This helps to increase the time between services
because the seals and bearings and engine blocks are not
under such high pressure and therefore the engines last longer.