MACSEA successfully tested its Diesel Expert combustion analysis intelligence software aboard the USS Fort McHenry (LSD-43) during recent testing in Norfolk, Virginia. The Diesel Expert software accepts data inputs from cylinder combustion analyzers and automatically diagnoses any existing engine faults. Diesel Expert contains expert-level diagnostic intelligence in the form of an embedded neural network that has been trained to recognize symptoms associated with various engine problems.
Testing occurred as part of the Navy Mid-Life Modernization Program on LSD class vessels. Diesel Expert is designed to provide an immediate notification of diesel engine problems so that sailors can make timing adjustments to save fuel and avoid expensive breakdowns by keeping cylinder loads balanced across the engine. The software is the latest addition to MACSEA’s DEXTER ship health monitoring software suite.
Diesel Expert helps keep engines in-tune to save fuel
Diesel Expert automatically acquires cylinder combustion data from a portable combustion analyzer, as well as supplemental data, such as cylinder exhaust temperatures, charge air pressure, etc., from the DEXTER Engine Health Monitoring System. It then performs expert-level combustion diagnostics and provides early warning alerts that can help crew members avoid expensive engine problems that may be developing. The recent testing aboard the Fort McHenry involved the DOCTOR combustion analyzer made by Icon Research of the UK. During testing, Diesel Expert made several combustion related diagnostic calls on one of the ship’s main propulsion diesel engines based on abnormal symptoms detected. Early fuel injection timing was diagnosed on one engine. Industry experts have recognized that Specific Fuel Oil Consumption can be reduced by 2-4% by keeping diesels well-tuned and the new Diesel Expert software used in combination with the DOCTOR analyzer will make accomplishing fuel savings easier than ever.
The software’s diagnostic knowledgebase was generated in co-operation with several diesel experts, including some from Rolls Royce Naval Marine with decades of engine operating experience. By incorporating this valuable combustion analysis knowledge into the Diesel Expert software, the need for crew training on interpreting combustion analysis results has been all but eliminated. Results are reported to the crew immediately on easy-to-understand displays, with clear indications of detected engine problems or fuel-inefficient operations.
In addition to providing immediate combustion alerts to the crew, Diesel Expert also can forward combustion diagnostic alerts to shore-side maintenance support staff for improved maintenance planning, field service contracting, and parts ordering. During recent testing for the Navy, an interface between Diesel Expert and the Navy’s Shipboard Automated Maintenance Management system (SAMM) allowed the automatic generation of repair work orders that were replicated ashore through SAMM. DEXTER’s Open System Architecture allows similar interfaces to be implemented with all major Computerized Maintenance Management Systems on the market.
DEXTER Diesel Expert is scheduled for installation aboard the USNS Patuxent (T-AO 201), a fleet oiler operated by the Navy’s Military Sealift Command, in March 2013.