On what constitutes a good RETROFIT

Fabian Haas, Dominik Hinney
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NORIS increases its Retrofit business and offers solutions for the modernisation of various engine types

From the mechanic on-board to the ship owner, everyone needs to rely on the systems of the ship. Ideally, everything is state of the art. That guarantees safety, efficiency and good performance. In other words – that means keeping up with the times and modernising the system.

Retrofitting or refitting engine control systems and auxiliary systems on ships however, can be costly and time-consuming. Transparency is a must as in many cases, there are hidden costs that only become clear during the process. Especially if the interfaces and possibly also the electronic systems for the engines have to be modernised and, at the same time, existing functions should remain unchanged. The large number of engines on the market does not make the whole thing any easier. Most of the time, the only option is a direct request to the engine manufacturer, right?

Experience makes all the difference

The determining factor of such a modernisation project is experience – and that is our advantage. As a holistic provider of measurement technology and automation systems, we know all the requirements, both for the system as well as for the engine and sensors on-board. “Well,“ you might think, “that is what all manufacturers say.” However, the experience gained from over 3000 engine monitoring and control systems has not only given us the relevant know-how, but has also shown us where we can optimise our own systems in order to be able to carry out a modernisation quickly and effectively. This not only saves time, but is easy on the nerves also – on both yours and ours.

The experience we have gained with so many different engines in the past plays a crucial role here. If you do not want to start from scratch repeatedly, it makes sense to include the modernisations already carried out in your own components and then consider them for future projects. After all, the interfaces of an engine type are usually the same and even deviating variants can be easily included. We have a central control unit in which we can pre-set many engine types at the factory. This means that the basis of the control system already fits the desired engine completely.

From then on, we rely entirely on our capabilities as a manufacturer of automation systems. Whenever it is possible, we try to maintain parts of the existing system that still function reliably - be it parts of the cabling, existing switch cabinets or the sensors. This is exactly where most hidden costs can be saved. Optionally, new useful functions can be added with minimum effort. At once, engine data is not only displayed, but also stored, suddenly occurring engine events are logged and evaluations take place in trend curves. Here, costs can also be reduced retrospectively by optimising engine performance, detecting errors early (condition monitoring) and thus preventing sudden downtimes.

Time saving during installation and commissioning

Further cost factors are the installation and commissioning of retrofit systems. The process often takes several days and leads to unwanted downtimes. Suddenly another unforeseeable event happens, and the ship is lying in harbour for almost a week. To avoid this, we have perfected both our project planning and the components themselves. Our service technicians will get an impression of the pending modernisation on site. Once we gathered all necessary information, the implementation happens rather quickly. We assemble and configure components, control cabinets and cabling to create replacement kits. This makes on-site assembly and installation much faster. Even a partial conversion while the ship is moving is thus possible.

Despite great efforts, one or the other factor of uncertainty will always remain. Of course, nobody can foresee all eventualities and occurrences. For this reason, we measure ourselves by our flexibility, because that is what good service is all about. Moreover, quality is much more important to us than quantity. That is why we take the time to document and supervise a project in detail, thus we are prepared for such spontaneous events in the best way possible. If you are also thinking about modernising your ship and are now curious - we will be glad to help you!

Engine control system - before and after
Engine control system - before and after

Example of part opf the engine control system before and after