The Wärtsilä Bio Seal Ring is the first seal on the market that works with Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EAL), sometimes known as bio-degradable oils, for a lifetime of at least five years. Conventional seal rings are recommended to be changed at two and a half year intervals.
The benefits offered by the Wärtsilä Bio Seal Ring to ship owners and operators are both environmental and economic. The extended operating life expectancy has a significantly positive impact on dry-dock scheduling and related costs. The unique features of the Wärtsilä Bio Seal Ring have been achieved through improvements in the material formula by including new additives. The product has been tested extensively and proven in the Wärtsilä Seals and Bearings' R&D facility.
This solution is suited to fixed pitched propeller systems. Wärtsilä recommends that ship owners consult with the propulsion original equipment manufacturers to confirm EAL compatibility for controllable pitch propeller systems.
The new product enables compliance with the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Vessel General Permit 2013 legislation which comes into force on 19th December 2013. From this date all commercial vessels over 79ft operating in US waters will be required to use EALs in all oil to water interfaces unless deemed technically infeasible to do so. At least 10 - 20 % of all merchant vessels trade and tonnage wise in the world operate in US waters.
"The new Wärtsilä Bio Seal Ring represents the latest development in this field. It conforms with the latest EPA legislation relating to the use of EALs within stern tube seals. On the global scale, the introduction of this product is fully in line with the marine sector's rapidly developing move towards greater environmental sustainability," says Mr Ryu Onishi, Managing Director, Seals and Bearings Wärtsilä Japan.
In addition to new shipbuilding applications, the Wärtsilä Bio Seal Ring can also be retrofitted to existing vessels. The first deliveries of the product will take place in October of this year.