Wärtsilä’s Smart Maintenance combines sourcing spare parts and services from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), with the tech giant taking responsibility for servicing assets anywhere in the world, often remotely, harnessing new technology and condition monitoring techniques. The benefits of using OEM parts is a message that Wärtsilä has sought to drive home within the industry for some time. But Paul Kohle, director of sales and sales support, asset management and services, believes the Smart Maintenance initiative has put the message into sharper focus. “We are seeing a change amongst our customers. People are more aware of the need to take a longer-term view. There are always lower cost options out there, but now there is greater recognition that they do not always offer best value,” he says.
There is also, he believes, a much greater focus within the industry on quality parts. “I think it is now accepted that the standard is generally better with OEM parts,” comments Kohle. “As an OEM we invest in continual improvement and always offer customers the latest version of a component, which has been optimised for the particular operation.”
Kohle draws attention to the recently launched Wärtsilä Online portal. This enables customers to access the latest information about equipment and components, get technical bulletins and order stock online. Additionally, its newest features facilitate smart maintenance management and real-time collaboration. The portal is intended to help speed up equipment servicing and offer real-time insights into equipment performance and status, the company states.
Advances in technology onboard ships are driving forward smart maintenance programmes. Kohle says: “Through condition-based monitoring we can provide shipboard crew with real time recommendations and remote operational support, with experts available round-the-clock to give advice. We are also moving more towards utilising predicative maintenance through the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence, so that maintenance requirements can be more precisely determined in advance, rather than simply following a fixed service schedule.”
By using the latest condition-based monitoring technology Wärtsilä says it is possible to develop different maintenance programs to suit individual shipowners. More targeted inspections of certain components, guided by the data generated, can for example extend overhaul intervals to suit specific situations.
Wärtsilä is now moving to a higher level of technology, using enhanced analytics and artificial intelligence, with a component level focus that can detect anomalies on individual items of mechanical equipment onboard. “Anomaly detection using advanced diagnostics techniques is something we will be piloting with certain customers in the near future,” says Kohle. “We are also developing technological solutions, such as Augmented Reality (AR) glasses, which can offer significant advantages with regards to troubleshooting and quickly communicating information that can be reviewed externally at one of our customer centres worldwide.”