Seacor Crewboats "Eliminators" Some Maintenance Costs

Friday, September 10, 2004

A crewboat is designed to transport supplies and personnel to offshore oil rigs. Loading the cargo must be quick and efficient. The last thing the crew wants to worry about is whether they have enough storage space for the engine lube oil filters. Furthermore, they don't need the hassle of disposing of used lube oil filters while at the docks.

Seacor Smit Inc. found that Alfa Laval's Eliminator, an automatic self-cleaning filter system, helps to save time and money by eliminating the need for spin on cartridge filters, while also saving the crew the messy off-hour work. Seacor started using the Eliminator filter about four years ago on KV50 engines. Today, the company has 25 KV50 engines and five KV38 engines, all equipped with the Eliminator filter.

The most significant benefit to Seacor is the elimination of the cartridge filters; crucial for ships operating in remote areas such as Africa and South America. "The logistical challenges to get filters to these vessels are enormous. The Eliminators allow us to cut the amount of filters shipped to the vessels by about 25-30 percent" said Joe McCall, Operation Manager, Seacor Marine Inc.

Standard cartridge filters for a KV engine will cost $3,200 per engine per year. Combined with cartridge disposal costs of approximately $1,250 per year per vessel, the savings with the Eliminator become very tangible. With 30 engines equipped with the Eliminator, Seacor has reduced the money spent on cartridge filters by $96,000 per year.

Another source for savings is reduced maintenance hours. Instead or replacing six or seven cartridge filters (typical on a Cummins KV engine), the maintenance crew has to replace only a sludge collecting paper in the Eliminator centrifuge. The filter replacement time is reduced from 1 hour to 15 minutes per engine. While the cartridge filters had to be replaced after 250 hours of service, the centrifuge maintenance interval is 1,000 to 1,500 hours. This reduces the labor required per engine for filter maintenance from 20 hrs/year with cartridges to just over 1 hr/year.

The Design

The Eliminator consists of an Alfa Laval Moatti automatic, self-cleaning filter and an Alfa Laval disc-stack centrifuge in a single, compact integrated housing. These two sections comprise a complete engine-mounted oil cleaning system. The full-flow section utilizes a series of stainless steel mesh elements to filter the oil and protect the engine. A small portion of the filtered oil is used to backflush sections of these elements to prevent dirt from accumulating on the screen. The backflushed oil containing the impurities is then fed to the separator section of the Eliminator, which is a very efficient disc-stacked centrifuge that cleans oil down to the two micron level. All dirt removed in the full-flow section eventually is deposited in the centrifuge sludge where it is removed. The only maintenance required is replacement of the sludge collection paper in the separator.

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