Over the years, medium-speed diesel engines have become very popular for a variety of applications, most notably in ship propulsion and in power generation. Accordingly, the number of such engines in service is very large.
Due to their large number and to the relatively high nominal speeds, combined with significant mass inertias, one would from a theoretical stand point expect more fequent and more severe damages on medium-speed, four-stroke diesel engines than on low-speed, two-stroke ones. That this is indeed the case in practice is evidenced be the fact that we are frequently contacted and subsequently repair a few dozen cases of severe engine damage every year.
Here is a typical example, one of many:
A Korean-made auxilliary engine with eight cylinders, 210 mm bore and 320 mm stroke suffered a serious bearing failure on crankpin #1. The engine block and crankshaft both got severely damaged, due to the connecting rod impacting both. The accident happened while the vessel, a Ro-Ro ship, was trading in East Africa.
Her next port of call was in Florida, United States, where our technicians went on board for a thorough inspection. They determined that both the crankshaft and engine block were repairable. As in addition to crankpin #1, which was badly damaged, all other pins were found with corrosion and scratch marks, we suggeted to the customer to offload the engine and to sail a few weeks without it. The customer agreed.
The engine was offloaded in Freeport, Texas, for repair and was delivered back to the vessel 46 days later in the same port. In the meantime, the vessel continued to sail with one engine less. The duration of the voyage, 46 days, was more than sufficient for our specialists to repair the crankshaft and engine block according to our very exacting standards.
Repair of the crankshaft
Due to the damage sustained by the accident, crankpin #1 had to be machined to – 3.00 mm. This was necessary to clear all dent marks. And as the other seven crankpins were suffering from scratches and/or corrosion, it was decided to machine them all to – 0.50 mm.
Repair of the engine block
The cavity in the block caused by the accident was fairly substantial. A total volume of about 6’000 cm³ (366 in³) of material was missing and cast iron plates with a thickness of 19 – 51 mm (0.75 – 2 in) had to be repaired.
Our cast iron repair specialists scanned the damage with a 3D scanner. The data thus acquired was then used to fabricate a perfectly-fitting cast iron repair patch. The repair patch was stitched in place with stitching components, chiefly Castmaster stitching pins and locks, that are sold by Lock-N-Stitch.
After the repair was completed, it was hardly visible and the customer was very pleased with the outcome.
Here is a step-by-step description of how the block repair work was carried out: