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Solutions for Slow Steaming ― MHI-MME's UE engine solutions fully utilize integrated technologies to help lower fuel costs

Overview

UE Engine

The UE engine, our highly popular low-speed diesel engine, was launched in 1955. Over the years, we have optimized the design, adding new and innovative products to the UE engine line-up.

An important issue facing shipping companies today is operating efficiency. To improve fuel efficiency, many carriers have implemented slow steaming.

To support our customers, we have developed integrated UE engine solutions that combine a UE engine with MHI-MME MET Turbochargers (hybrid MET, VTI), and the WHRS (Waste Heate Recovery System) , offering significant savings in fuel consumption and improved operating efficiency during slow steaming.

Background

A rise in operational efficiency draws attention to slow steaming

Today's volatile fuel price and ever stricter environmental regulations are having a significant impact on the shipping and shipbuilding industries. Examining ways to operate more efficiently, companies have turned their attention to slow steaming.

In the past, ships generally operated under engine loads of 75- 85%. By operating engines at 60% of capacity, or in some cases as low as 30%, ship operators can reduce their fuel consumption significantly.

Fuel consumption can be reduced by implementing MHI-MME's UE engine solutions

Fuel consumption can be reduced by slow steaming, an operational technique; but a further reduction in fuel consumption can also be achieved by combining slow steaming with modifications to the ship's machinery.

One of the key solutions developed by MHI-MME to help customers reduce fuel consumption is the UE engine. This engine reduces fuel consumption by more than 2 g/kWh compared with engines manufactured by other companies. The state-of-the-art UEC-Eco engine, which uses technology to electronically control fuel injection and the exhaust valve drive, can also be used to achieve operational efficiency during slow steaming.

We can also offer integrated UE engine solutions. These are tailored to our customers' trading patterns and needs, and combine engines with turbochargers, such as our fuel-efficient VTI Turbocharger, which has an optimized turbocharger cut-out system. Furthermore, by combining a UE engine with a hybrid MET Turbocharger, which integrates a turbocharger and generator, and the WHRS (waste heat recovery system), the fuel consumption of the entire plant can be reduced, even when the engine is operating under a load of 50% or higher, due to the combined effect of the components.

Solving the problems faced by carriers when implementing slow steaming

Slow steaming offers many advantages, but it can also create some problems.

The engine's combustion performance deteriorates qualitatively during slow steaming, increasing the likelihood of contamination in the combustion chambers and exhaust system. To deal with this issue, the UE engine uses a fuel valve with a small suction volume as a standard specification. This significantly reduces the concentration of hydrocarbon (HC) in the combustion gases, which is an indicator of combustion performance.

We have also optimized the conditions around the combustion chambers by carrying out precision analysis and researching the actual condition of ships in service.

Listening to our customers and proposing tailored solutions

Our philosophy when recommending tailored solutions to our customers is to listen carefully to what our customers have to say, and to reflect their needs in our proposals. The highly successful UE engine solution is a result of listening to our customers. As a first step, MHI-MME staff routinely visit shipyards and ship owners to listen to their opinions and ideas. We also receive customer feedback and improvement suggestions from our licensees, who manufacture the UE engine in many countries throughout the world. This valuable information, which includes requirements and areas of dissatisfaction, is fed back to our development and design departments, and used to create ideas for developing new solutions. This information is used as a base for creating proposals for our customers, that will meet their needs and help address any problems they might be facing.

We develop and manufacture all our marine products in-house and have full knowledge of their performance and functionality. This expertise allows us to create unique proposals to maximize the benefits for our customers, by combining the most suitable products selected from our extensive marine machinery line-up.

Single responsibility

We provide a full range of after-sales services to help our customers gain the maximum benefits from their MHI-MME products, and to assist in solving any problems. To provide an even better level of service, we have now implemented "single responsibility", a scheme that allows one single department to respond to customer queries and requests regardless of the specific product involved, even when the customer's system includes multiple products. By changing the customer's point of contact from several departments to one, we believe that we can offer a better after-sales services and better support our customer's projects.

Monitoring

The UE engine is a product that MHI-MME recommends with confidence and pride. For 50 years we have been continuously enhancing and upgrading its build and technology. This could not be achieved without monitoring the engine's performance on ships in service. We conduct periodic monitoring in cooperation with our ship owner customers, with whom we maintain relationships of mutual trust. We also promote improvements in quality, by regularly exchanging information with our licensees throughout the world.

Information collected during periodic monitoring is used to troubleshoot and resolve engine problems, both major and minor, which we aim to reduce to zero.

Strategies for the Future

Through our expertise in integrated technologies, we plan to make our solutions a cornerstone of our marine business. We have already taken steps in achieving this through our launch of PROJECT MEET. These UE engine solutions are just some of the results of this project.

We are committed to developing and supplying products that exceed customer expectations and provide added value.

We will also continue to focus on helping our customers reduce fuel costs and improve operating efficiency in today's difficult business environment.

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