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Additive manufacturing gives a new dimension to turbocharger repairs

Shiprepair & Maintenance: 2nd Quarter 2019Turbo

ABB Turbocharging is committed to funding an intensive R&D and investment programme through which new technology and digital services can be continuously developed. Rolf Bosma, general manager of global service sales at ABB Turbocharging, says: “We are currently exploring various technologies in line with what our customers require. As part of this programme we have recently invested in a new additive manufacturing capability for turbocharger parts for repair purposes.”


After automatic measuring and comparing the digital version of the turbocharger part with the original model, the additive manufacturing process beings with grinding the component for a start layer. Next, the specially developed additive is printed on the ground surface and is built up until it reaches the original specifications. The machine is then ready to finish the material in order to produce an ‘as new’ part. The pilot phase of the additive manufacturing programme is almost complete and ABB plans to roll it out commercially in the third quarter of this year.


“We are continuously looking to develop our service portfolio to bring more value to our customers. This is an exciting new development in that context,” says Bosma.


In late 2017, ABB launched Digital SIKO, a concept for two-stroke engines that combines both the data from the design phase and real time running of the turbochargers. “Over the past couple of years, the profile of two-stroke engines has changed drastically and, in many cases, vessels are now operating at half the speed or less. So, the requirement for full load capacity of both the engine and turbocharger has reduced,” explains Bosma. “With Digital SIKO we give an individual, application-specific exchange recommendation of the rotating parts of the turbocharger based on a two-tiered assessment, involving both the turbocharger’s operational data and the physical parts.”


Digital SIKO supports a service concept extending from one drydocking to another, which can result in a potential guarantee on ABB Turbocharging parts that are more than 20 years old. “Providing this insight through data collection, coupled with the guarantees, is reassuring for the owner. Moreover, the consequently lower operating expenditure is seen as a significant benefit,” suggests Bosma.


As well as servicing existing turbochargers, the company is offering an upgrade service. Efficiency gains achieved through an ABB Turbocharging upgrade can range between 0.5% to 3%, the company claims. “In many cases upgrades from our older turbochargers to the latest models can lead to increases in efficiency and reliability, and lower maintenance costs,” says Bosma. “Fuel savings can also be achieved, as well as a reduction of stress on the engine itself, which causes wear and tear from temperature variations.”


Component upgrades are another area of development for ABB Turbocharging. “The upgrade of component parts of a turbocharger can influence the overall performance. Business cases for these upgrades are compelling due to possible fuel savings, with some instances of payback being obtained within two years,” says Bosma.