Maritime lubricants supplier Lubmarine has installed a test engine at its TotalFinaElf Research Centre (CRES) at Solaize, near Lyons,
France. The $2M MAN B&W Innovator-4C test engine will come into service in May 2003.
The new engine, based on an original MAN B&W 5L 16/24 (160 mm bore, 240 mm
stroke) unit, has undergone a highly innovative re-design, specified by
Lubmarine. Its five cylinders have been specially re-configured into three
separate lubrication circuits, two for testing and one for operational
requirements. It has also been fitted with multiple high tech sensors
comprehensive electronic control and information management system. It is
equipped to analyze exhaust gas, in anticipation of future more stringent
environmental controls on emissions of particles and oxides of sulphur and
The Innovator-4C will be used for validating both 2 stroke and 4 stroke
engine oil formulations before proceeding to in-service trials, and for
fundamental research including experiments with new additives, synthetic and
biodegradable base stocks.
The Innovator-4C replaces the single-cylinder Elf-Optimizer test-bench
(Pielstick PC2.6) first installed at Solaize twenty years ago and modified in 1994 to cope with changing development needs.
"The cylinder configuration of the Innovator-4C lets us compare two
formulations at the same time under precisely the same temperature and
pressure conditions," explains Denis Lancon, head of the Marine Lubricants
team at Solaize. "And carrying out two tests at the same time means more
tests are possible on a given formulation within a given time-frame. The
very high safety margins of the MAN 5L 16/24 mean we can push lubricants
much further in testing and also allows us to obtain meaningful results
faster, more than doubling our previous testing productivity."