Wärtsilä Expertise Centres – the contact point for better lifecycle performance
Digital technology and greater connectivity are rapidly transforming the maritime industry towards a new era of enhanced ship operations. High efficiency and greater safety have become essential for controlling operating costs and remaining competitive, while environmental sustainability is an absolute necessity in today’s stringent regulatory environment. These evolving global conditions, while creating new benefits and opportunities are, however, causing some uncertainty and placing challenges for owners and operators to effectively manage their fleets’ maintenance and performance requirements.
The technology group Wärtsilä, a company that has taken a leading role in the industry’s transformation, is utilising its competences in big data and analytical skills to ensure that its customers are able to make full beneficial use of the latest technological advances. By setting up Expertise Centres in locations around the world, Wärtsilä has developed a support network that can be easily accessed and which is designed to improve, maintain, and optimise the performance of the owners’ assets throughout the entire lifecycle.
Monitoring, Support, Planning and Management
Dedicated Wärtsilä Expertise Centre professionals are on call 24/7 to provide help and guidance. Providing real-time assistance in achieving optimal lifecycle performance is an holistic process. It involves analysing the true condition of the asset, optimising its operation and maintenance procedures, and adopting modern technologies and standards. The work of the Expertise Centre professionals involves:
- Performance Monitoring. Using existing and new data gathering tools, the vessel’s fuel oil consumption, engine and propeller performance, emission levels, and fluid levels, as well as the route, trim and hull are monitored to assess the asset’s true and actual operational condition.
- Operational Support. The dedicated contact person is available to ensure optimal performance of the equipment. Through analysing the data, and with a remote connection to the vessel’s engine room, the expert can provide advice and assist in troubleshooting.
- Performance Improvement Planning. Through continuous monitoring of the equipment and detailed analysis of the data provided, performance improvement proposals can be given. This includes advice on improving the performance of the equipment itself.
- Maintenance Management & Dynamic Maintenance Planning. Knowing the actual condition of the machinery enables preventive and predictive maintenance to be carried out when needed, rather than being based on fixed schedules according to the number of operating hours. This prevents unnecessary work being carried out and reduces the likelihood of unexpected breakdowns. At the same time, the Wärtsilä Expertise Centre professionals are able to plan ahead and ensure the availability of spare parts and, if needed, service engineers.
“Throughout its long history, Wärtsilä has always sought to provide fast and effective support for its customers. The difference is that today, thanks to modern digital technology, we can provide this support instantly and remotely. Our experts can sit in one of our ten Expertise Centres and know exactly the operational condition of a monitored vessel. More than this, we can then recommend improvements that will raise the performance level, with the aim to deliver optimised operations through the 10 to 30 years lifecycle of the vessel,” says Mikael Sandberg, General Manager, Digitalisation.
Communication is the key
Ship to shore communications have developed over the years from radio telegraphy using Morse code, to highly complex modern connectivity systems. Wärtsilä’s Expertise Centres are efficient and successful because they use the very latest communication devices to collect and provide information in real-time. They act as a reliable contact point through which owners and operators can receive support in promoting greater efficiencies, as well as for handling unforeseen situations.
“Communicating with the vessel in real-time allows us to handle urgent customer requests for help and guidance quickly and effectively. We can do this, more or less regardless of where the ship is located. Our service gives flexibility in scheduling maintenance needs and ensures the guaranteed availability of competent engineers in challenging situations,” adds Sandberg.
Delivering multiple benefits
The ultimate goal of the Wärtsilä Expertise Centres is to support the growth of the customers’ businesses. This is achieved through providing the necessary information and guidance for optimising vessel operations and maintenance, and by guaranteeing the performance of the asset. Consequently, competitiveness is enhanced and operating costs are lowered as a result of greater overall operating and energy efficiencies.
The Wärtsilä Guaranteed asset performance solution provides customers with guaranteed operational reliability and efficiency. This means that performance targets are determined together with the customer based on measured data, and Wärtsilä guarantees that these targets are reached and maintained. Measurable indicators can include, for example, availability, reliability and fuel consumption. The agreed targets are reached through automated key performance measurements, optimised maintenance, and remote advisory. With operational support, ship crews can get real-time support regardless of their location, and the remote service is complemented with on-board advisory. Condition monitoring and audits, together with a performance improvement plan, increase availability and reliability.
The value-adding benefits delivered by Wärtsilä Expertise Centres are many, and they cover a broad range of activities. Responding to unexpected situations and urgent requests for help is at the reactionary end of the value chain. Proactively, the Expert Centre professionals work to guarantee vessel performance and uptime. They can provide long-term cost predictability, performance improvement plans, and through joint consultation, agree on the shared goals that need to be achieved.
Wärtsilä experts are easing the maritime industry’s transition into its new digitalised era enabling better efficiency, safety, and compliance. Wärtsilä Expertise Centres are located in Brazil, Ecuador, Finland, India, Indonesia, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, and the USA.