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Compressed air systems for steamships

A compressed air system is necessary to supply air for boiler soot-blower air motors, hose connections throughout the ship and possibly diesel generator starting. A general service air compressor would supply air at 8 bar but greater pressure (as for diesel ships) would be necessary for diesel starting.

A general service air compressor can be shut down completely when air is not required but can be operated on either a stop/start or load/unload cycle, with the regulator controlling the pressure between 7 and 8.5 bar. The instrument air system and general service air system should be separate and cross connected only in emergency.

The instrument air is supplied typically by oil-free, water cooled compressors, arranged for discharge to the air reservoir through after coolers. Three compressors may be installed, to operate with two units running continuously on a load/unload cycle between 5.5 and 7 bar with the other unit ready on stand-by to start if the pressure in the reservoir falls below 5.3 bar. The air may be delivered to the control air system through two of three air dryers (a third drier in reserve) fitted with automatic drain traps.

A three stage filtration system for control air
Figure : Three stage filter for control air (Hamworthy Ltd)



Air dryers based on the cooling of the air by refrigeration, have a small sealed unit refrigeration compressor. In normal service they will reduce the dew point of the air to about 25 deg C and a high dew point alarm is fitted to warn of malfunction. The units are referred to as dehurnidifiers; being rated typically at 170 m3/hr for an air consumption of about 150160 m3/hr. Normally it is arranged that one of the units is able to carry the full load if the other units are not available.



The filter element of each refrigifilter should be inspected and changed if necessary every six months. Although the instrument air system is fitted with many individual drain traps and cocks, no moisture should be present anywhere in the system after the air dryers and if any is found the cause must be immediately investigated. Control air consumption can be reduced at sea by shutting off the air supply to systems not in use such as tanker pumproom and cargo control room regulators and controllers.



Summarized below some of the basic procedure of machinery service systems and equipment :
  1. Marine air compressor

  2. A single stage compressor used to provide air at the high pressures required for diesel engine starting, would unfortunately generate compression temperatures of a level similar to those in a diesel. Such heat would be sufficient to ignite vaporized oil in the same way as in a compression-ignition engine. The heat produced in a single stage of compression would also be wasteful of energy.....

  3. Air starting system

  4. Air at a pressure of 20 to 30 bar is required for starting main and auxiliary diesel engines in motorships and for the auxiliary diesels of steamships. Control air at a lower pressure is required for ships of both categories and whether derived from high pressure compressors through reducing valves or from special control air compressors, it must be clean, dry and oil free.....

  5. automatic-operation-air-compressor

  6. Before the general introduction of control equipment, air compressors were stopped and started by engine room staff, as necessary, to maintain air receiver pressure. In port or at sea, this usually meant operating one compressor for about half an hour daily unless air was being used for the whistle (during fog), for work on deck or for other purposes. ....

  7. Compressed air systems for steamships

  8. A compressed air system is necessary to supply air for boiler soot-blower air motors, hose connections throughout the ship and possibly diesel generator starting. A general service air compressor would supply air at 8 bar but greater pressure (as for diesel ships) would be necessary for diesel starting.....

  9. Two stage starting air compressor

  10. Hamworthy 2TM6 type which was designed for free air deliveries ranging from 183 m3 per hour at a discharge pressure of 14 bar to 367m3 per hour at 42 bar. The crankcase is a rigid casting which supports a spheroidal graphite cast iron crankshaft in three bearings.....

  11. Fuel handling

  12. Fuels and lubricating oils are obtained from crude primarily by heating the crude oil, so that vapours are boiled off and then condensed at different temperatures. The constituents or fractions are collected separately in a distillation process.....

  13. Fuel transfer and fire risk

  14. The oil fuel system provides the means for delivering fuel from the receiving stations at upper deck level, port and starboard, to double-bottom or deep bunker tanks. Sampling cocks are fitted at the deck connections to obtain a representative specimen for (a) shore analysis; (b) on board testing; and (c) retention on the ship.....

  15. High density fuel treatment

  16. The density of a fuel tested at 15 deg C may approach, be equal to or greater than that of water. With high density fuels, the reduction in density differential between fuel and water can cause a problem with separation but not with the usual solid impurities.....

  17. Viscosity controller

  18. A continuous sample of the fuel is pumped at a constant rate through a fine capillary tube. As the flow through the tube is laminar, pressure drop across the tube is proportional to viscosity. In this unit an electric motor drives the gear pump through a reduction gear, at a speed of 40 rpm......

  19. Fuel blenders

  20. Conventionally, the lower cost residual fuels are used for large slow speed diesel main engines and generators are operated on the lighter more expensive distillate fuel. The addition of a small amount of diesel oil to heavy fuel considerably reduces its viscosity and if heating is used to further bring the viscosity down then the blend can be used in generators with resultant savings.....

  21. Fuel heaters

  22. The system which delivers residual fuel from the daily service tank to the diesel or boiler, must bring it to the correct viscosity by heating.For burning heavy fuel oil in a boiler furnace, or a compression-ignition engine, it is necessary to pre-heat it....

  23. Homogenizer

  24. The homogenizer provides an alternative solution to the problem of water in high density fuels. It can be used to emulsify a small percentage for injection into the engine with the fuel. This is in contradiction to the normal aim of removing all water, which in the free state, can cause gassing of fuel pumps, corrosion and other problems......

  25. Package boiler combustion system

  26. The elementary automatic combustion system based on a two flame burner is used for many auxiliary boilers. The burner is drawn oversize to show detail. Various different control systems are employed for the arrangement.....

  27. Lubricating oil treatment

  28. Mineral oils for lubrication are, like fuel, derived from crude during refinery processes. Basic stocks are blended to make lubricants with the desired properties and correct viscosity for particular duties. ....


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