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Shell: more ship operators relying on oil condition monitoring service

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Oilfield Technology,

As of April 2016, Shell Marine Products (SMP) has analysed over 50 000 cylinder drain oils samples via its Shell Rapid Lubricants Analysis (RLA) service.  Shell RLA is an oil condition monitoring service that helps Shell Marine Products’ customers keep their vessels running smoothly. By identifying potential oil or equipment issues before they become critical, many leading shipping companies use Shell RLA as an important part of their planned maintenance regime. Shell RLA helps to deliver greater equipment reliability and reduced downtime.

This service has grown rapidly in recent years with OEM’s such as MDT and Wärtsilä both recommending cylinder drain oil analysis for both new design engines and older models which have been economy tuned. With the evolution of engine design and increased performance, and slow steaming practices being the norm, Shell Marine’s RLA Cylinder Check is a must for those who want to extend engine life and reduce operating costs.

“Ship operating profiles have changed due to various external complexities which have an impact on marine engines. Therefore, we worked with customers to identify the right maintenance strategies to optimise their operations and tailor our services around their requirements and needs,” says Marcus Schaerer, Global Technical Manager, Shell Marine Products. 

SMP currently serves over 1200 customers, with more than 9000 vessels. SMP receives over 200 000 oil samples every year, and analyses them in six ISO-accredited RLA marine laboratories across the globe. A dedicated team made up of lubricants scientists and chief engineers personally diagnoses the received samples.

Dr Damir Blazina, who leads the RLA diagnosticians team explains, “The number of samples has been increasing year-on-year and we would expect to analyse somewhere around 18 000 cylinder drain oil samples in 2016 alone. With the advent of cold corrosion, the advice that the diagnostician team gives is more important than ever. In the last couple of years we have diagnosed and offered individual tailored advice for nearly 2000 critical samples. “Think about it, we have offered advice on how to help in more than 2000 instances. It is critical to get the right advice as corrosion or scuffing can destroy a cylinder liner very quickly.”

However the “technical bods” at Shell are not satisfied with this service alone and are poised to introduce a new offer to customers later this year – Shell Lube Monitor.

Shell Lube Monitor is an exciting new cylinder condition monitoring service that runs in tandem with the Shell RLA cylinder check. RLA data and data generated onboard from Shell’s Onboard Alert iron analyser and Shell’s Onboard Plus BN test kit will be evaluated to ensure Shell Lube Monitor customers get the right advice to strike the best balance between cost reduction and reliability. 

Claudio Cocco, Technical Lead for Shell Lube Monitor proudly explains, “All findings are delivered in an easy to read report and include a complete engine overview, historical data from both onboard and laboratory; but most importantly, are the comments from the Shell Lube Monitor experts highlighting areas for concern or possible places for optimisation.”

Shell Lube Monitor is scheduled to roll out across Shell Marine Products’ global network in the 2nd half of 2016.

Adapted from a press release by David Bizley

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