Orders for Wärtsilä RT-flex electronically-controlled common-rail marine engines have passed the 500-engine mark since the RT-flex common rail system was introduced in 1998. Although many of these are of the most powerful RT-flex96C type, progress has been achieved with the smallest, the RT-flex50, which has a rapidly growing order book. The new RT-flex82C and RT-flex82T engine types have also made a good start with orders being booked by Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd and Doosan Engine Co Ltd, both in Korea.
The RT-flex common-rail system was introduced by Wärtsilä in 1998 when it was first applied in a research engine. The first production engine then went into service in September 2001. It was a major landmark in diesel engine development, being the largest diesel engine ever built with electronically-controlled common-rail fuel injection and valve operation. Since then RT-flex engines of all sizes from 500 mm bore up to the largest 14-cylinder RT-flex96C with a power output of 80,080 kW have entered service.
So far, orders for Wärtsilä RT-flex engines have been booked for installation in newbuildings at 42 shipyards for 65 shipowners. The engines are being built by 12 engine builders under licence from Wärtsilä. Regarding the most powerful of these marine engines - the RT-flex96C type - Wärtsilä's licensed enginebuilders have booked a number of significant orders in recent months.
Eight RT-flex96C engines have been ordered for a series of large container ships contracted by the French shipowner CMA CGM in Korea. The eight ships will be delivered in 2009 and 2010, with the engines being built by Doosan Engine Co Ltd.
Eight 13,100 TEU container ships contracted by the Rickmers Group will each be powered by a 12-cylinder Wärtsilä RT-flex96C engine. The ships, which will all be time chartered by a major containership operator, will be built by Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd, Korea, at its Ulsan shipyard for delivery in 2010 and 2011. The engines, having a maximum continuous power of 68,640 kW each at 102 rpm, will be built by Hyundai's Engine & Machinery Division (EMD).
Another Hamburg shipowner, Hamburg Süd
amerikanische Dampfschifffahrts-Gesellschaft KG (Hamburg Süd), recently decided to switch from mechanically-controlled RTA96C engines to RT-flex96C common-rail engines for six 7100 TEU containership newbuildings contracted earlier this year at Daewoo-Mangalia Heavy Industries SA in Romania. The ships are due for delivery in 2010. Each vessel will be powered by an eight-cylinder RT-flex96C engine of 45,760 kW output. The engines will be built by Doosan Engine Co Ltd.