Metal Stitching and Line Boring on a Japanese Auxiliary Engine Block

In late 2021, a Greek owner of a 4250 TEU container vessel approached us for the repair of an auxiliary engine. The 26-bore, japanese-made engine had suffered from a so-called “side kick” – the connecting rod had smashed a hole in the engine block, above cylinder #2.

As the vessel was about to call Singapore, QuantiServ Singapore arranged for one of its metal stitching specialists to go on board to conduct a comprehensive damage assessment.

As is nowadays almost always the case, our specialist deemed the engine block damage to be repairable. We engineered a repair proposal, consisting of metal stitching and in-situ machining to be carried out in our workshop in Singapore. The customer gladly accepted our repair proposal due to the obvious time and cost savings compared to replacing the engine block. He made arrangements for the 12-year old engine block to be sent to our Singapore workshop for repair.

The block arrived at our workshop in March 2022 and was immediately attended to. The repair work carried out included the following main steps:

  • We arranged for a tailor-made cast iron repair patch to be cast in a certified partner foundry. The repair patch was then stitched in place using Castmaster™ stitching pins and matching locks. This provides for a permanent, very strong repair.
  • As the damage extended into the lower cylinder liner bore, a repair sleeve was installed there. The repair sleeve guarantees a good fit with the cylinder liner o-rings, preventing water leaks.
  • The ovality of seven out of nine main bearing pockets was found to be excessive. This finding was independent of the accident but needed attention too. We corrected the ovality with in-situ line boring.
  • All eight cylinder liner landing surfaces in the engine block were machined to clear them from corrosion and cavitation damage.

A Magnetic Particle Inspection (MPI) was carried out on the completed repair to the satisfaction of the customer and attending class surveyor.

From start to finish, the repair work took approximately four weeks to complete, well in time for the engine block to be sent back to the vessel during her next routine call to Singapore.

Engine block damage at cylinder number 2
Damaged engine block
Installation of stitching pins
Installation of stitching pins
Machining of the cylinder liner landing surface
Machining of the cylinder liner landing surface
Engine block debris
Engine block debris
Repair patch installed
Repair patch installed
Cylinder liner landing surface after machining
Cylinder liner landing surface after machining
Newly casted repair patch
Newly casted repair patch
MPI inspection after stitching
MPI inspection after stitching
Another job well done
After completion. Another repair job well done!

Metal Stitching on Historic Bridge in Washington DC, United States

Our American colleagues have just completed metal stitching repairs on a historic bridge crossing the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.

The Canal

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal stretches over a distance of 297 km (184.5 miles) from Cumberland, Maryland, to Georgetown, DC on the US East Coast. It was constructed between 1828 and 1850 by approximately 35’000 labourers, mostly immigrants from Europe. Its purpose was to enable the shipment of coal from the rural but coal rich Allegheny Mountains to the much more densely populated regions and sea ports along the Atlantic coast.

The canal was operated from 1831 until 1924. While originally built for the transportation of coal, it quickly became an important lifeline for communities along its way.

The bridge we assisted restoring. Visible in the foreground is one of the canal's 74 lifting locks
The bridge we assisted restoring. Visible in the foreground is one of the canal's 74 lifting locks

Boats were used to ship agricultural produce and lumber to markets downstreams. They then returned loaded with manufactured goods. These boats typically did not have their own means of propulsion, but were pulled along by mules walking on towpaths located at either side of the canal.

One end of the canal, Cumberland, lies at an altitude 184 m (605 feet) higher than the other end, Georgetown.  This meant that lift locks were needed – in total 74 of them were constructed. One of them is visible in the picture above, in front of the bridge.

In addition to the 74 locks, the canal also featured many other feats of early engineering. There were seven dams, about 240 culverts, a few aqueducts, a tunnel 950 meters (3’120 feet) long and, of course, bridges. A few of these bridges still exist today, such as the one that our metal stitching specialists proudly helped to restore.

Metal Stitching Work Performed

Exposure to the elements for over 150 years took its toll on the bridge structure. Cracks had developed in many of the vertical cast iron columns carrying the bridge deck. In all likelyhood, the cracks that were found were freeze cracks. Freezing temperatures are common in Georgetown from the middle of December until early March. If water enters one of the exposed, hollow columns and gets trapped there, then it very likely freezes during a cold winter night. Over time, the freeze/thaw cycles led to cracks.

All of the cracks ran in vertical direction. They had a cumulative lenght of 7’400 mm (25 feet). Our specialists sealed them with stitching pins and added perpendicular locks for extra strength. They then ground the locks and pins flush and made them blend in well with the weathered surface texture of the antique columns.

For the work to be carried out, a section of the canal had to be drained
For the work to be carried out, a section of the canal had to be drained
The width of the cracks required pins with a large diameter to length ratio
The width of the cracks required pins with a large diameter to length ratio
Installation of stitching pins
Installation of stitching pins: Close to 1'000 were used for this project
In many locations, the cracks were wide open
On some of the columns, the cracks had caused a gap of up to 12 mm
Our specialists stitched over 7 meters of cracks
On this restoration project, our specialists stitched over 7.4 meters (25 feet) of cracks
Once completed, the repair blends in very well
The completed repair blends in very well
Stitching in progress
Metal stitching in progress: Stitching pins installed in an overlapping pattern
Locks were added for extra strength
Metal stitching in progress: Adding of locks, perpendicularly to the crack, for extra strength

Metal Stitching of an Engine Block in Tehran, Iran

 

Metal stitching on an auxiliary engine block

Our metal stitching expert traveled to Tehran, Iran, last week to repair a four-stroke main engine block on board a tug boat. It had a crack between the charge air space duct and the cooling water space around one of the cylinder liners, as well as some dents. Cooling water was leaking into the charge air space.

To repair the damage took our expert just one full day of work. The customer was very pleased with the result and was impressed by how fast the repair was being carried out.

Once again it was proved that metal stitching is a quick and reliable solution for cast iron repairs – for jobs big and small!

 

 

Enjoying a cup of tea in the engine room after a job well done

Enjoying a cup of tea in the engine room after a job well done

Metal stitching

A very happy customer

Metal stitching test piece resists water pressure of 12 bars

Metal stitching test piece resists water pressure of 12 bars

Metal stitching, as long as it is carefully and properly carried out by trained technicians, is tight against gases and liquids. To demonstrate this, QuantiServ has manufactured two cast iron half-shells and has joined them together by metal stitching. The resulting container was successfully pressurized to 12 bars (175 psi) and no leak was observed.

This proves that there is no issue to repair cooling water spaces in for example engine blocks, where the cooling water pressure typically lies around 3 – 4 bars (44 – 58 psi), by metal stitching. In fact we knew this well, because we have done it successfully many times. But that the stitching could easily withstand 12 bars impressed even us.