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This cylinder lubrication, shown in the figure is based on a lubricator which
injects a specific volume of oil into each cylinder for each (or for every second,
third, etc.) revolution. The oil fed to the injectors is pressurized by means of
Alpha lubricator on each cylinder, equipped with small multi-piston pumps. The
amount of oil fed to the injectors can be finely tuned with an adjusting screw,
which limits the length of the piston stroke. The cylinder lube oil consumption in
ME type engines, with electronic lubricators, has come down to 0.7 gm / BHP hr.
The whole system is controlled by the Cylinder Control Unit (CCU) which
calculates the injection frequency on the basis of the engine-speed signal given by
the tacho signal and the fuel index.
The cylinder oil can be introduced to the individual cylinder at any piston
position but, preferable, when the piston rings are adjacent to the lubricating
quills. The computer synchronizes itself at each revolution, when the piston for
cylinder No. 1 is at top dead centre. The injection function is controlled by the
computer sending an ON/OFF signal to a solenoid valve. The dosage of oil can be
adjusted means of an adjustment screw which limits the stroke of the main
lubricator piston. After a predetermined time interval, the computer transmits
an OFF signal to the solenoid valve, which shuts off the system pressure and
opens the return oil system.
The amount of oil injected varies as required, e.g. at load changes,
start/stop, or increased engine load. Alternatively, the dosage of oil fed to the
individual cylinders can be adjusted by injecting a calibrated amount of oil, a
number of times, at a given number of revolutions. A combination of the two
systems can also be used. In the event of malfunctioning solenoid valve or
transducer, the oil dosage will automatically be increased to the maximum
volume. If the oil pressure falls, the computer will start stand-by pump, close
down the faulty pump and sets on the alarm. The Alpha cylinder lubricator
has demonstrated a reduction of cylinder oil feed rate to 0.3 gm / BHP hr, which
on a 50,000 BHP engine, saves US $ 50,000 p.a.


Figure 2.2: Alpha Lubrication Control

A pump station delivers lube oil to the lubricators at 45 bar pressure. The
lubricators have a small piston for each lube oil quill in the cylinder liner, and
the power for injecting the oil comes from the 45 bar system pressure, acting on a
larger common driving piston. Thus, the driving side is a conventional common
rail system, whereas the injection side is a high-pressure positive displacement
system, thus giving equal amounts of lube oil to each quill and the best possible
safety margin against clogging of single lube oil quills.
For the larger bore engines, each cylinder has two lubricators (each
serving half of the lube oil quills) and an accumulator, while the small bore
engines (with fewer lube oil quills per cylinder) are served by one lubricator per
cylinder. The pump station includes two pumps (one operating, the other on
stand-by with automatic start up), a filter and coolers.
The lubricator can be delivered for our conventional engines in which case
it is controlled by a separate computer unit comprising a main computer,
controlling the normal operation, a switchover unit and a (simple) back-up unit.
A shaft encoder supplies the necessary timing signal in that case. When used on
Intelligent Engines, these functions are integrated in the engine control
computers and their shaft encoders.
The lubrication concept is intermittent lubrication a relatively large
amount of lube oil is injected for every four (or five or six, etc.) revolutions, the
actual sequence being determined by the desired dosage in g/bhph. The injection
timing is controlled precisely and by virtue of the high delivery pressure the
lube oil is injected exactly when the piston ring pack is passing the lube oil quills,
thus ensuring the best possible utilization of the costly lube oil.
The safety features of this system are as follows:
In this system if one lubricator malfunctions (980-700 mm bore engines),
the oil dosage from the other lubricator will be automatically doubled, and
an alarm will be given whereas for 600-260 mm bore engines, alarm and
slow down ensue.
An inductive sensor in each lubricator monitors the movement of the
lubricator piston a signal is sent to the control computer system which has
a backup for safety.


2.4.2 Working principle

Piston ring is considered a kind of wiper. The oil fed to the portion above the
piston ring is wiped up by the piston ring to reach the upper portion of the
cylinder, and is left at the top dead centre, then is vaporized and degraded in a
high temperature atmosphere. On the other hand, the oil fed to the portion
beneath the piston ring is wiped down by the piston ring, and a part of the fed oil
may be dropped to drain. Not all the fed oil is workless, (if so, the engine will be
seized); the oil which was fed above or beneath the piston ring may not
significantly contribute to the lubrication.
On the other hand, the oil fed to the portion between the piston rings should
be held between the rings to keep the function for a long period.
i) Based on the above-described concept, a new lubrication system was
derived to supply maximum volume of oil between the piston rings. The
new lubrication system is given by a unit currently called the Alpha
lubricator which is also the trade name. In this paper, the system is
called the High speed lubricator.
The high speed lubricator supplies more oil between the piston rings than
conventional lubricator by the lubrication system given below.
(1) Volume of cylinder oil for every injection is increased.
(2) Large volume of oil is charged to the oiling pipe at a stroke.
Thus sufficiently increasing the internal pressure of oiling pipe and
(3) The oil is supplied at a correct timing, within a short time, and
overriding the internal pressure of cylinder.
A single lubricator unit has five or six plungers, which plungers are driven
by a single hydraulic piston. If every cylinder has seven or more lubrication
openings, two of the lubricator units are installed.
The hydraulic pressure is controlled by solenoid valves. A portion of the
return oil is fed to the plunger barrel via a slit for succeeding oiling cycle.
Accordingly, the working oil is the cylinder oil.
The movement of hydraulic piston is monitored by a feedback sensor, a
proximity sensor, to confirm the oiling functioning and to watch the oiling timing
to automatically adjust the timing.
The control is performed by a controller provided with a computer. Both the
rotational angle and the pump lack signal are entered in the controller. With the
entered information, the oiling volume and the oiling timing are adjusted.
The timing for initiate the oiling action is immediately before the first ring
passes through the oil quill. Within a short period until the fourth ring passes,
the oil is fed to the cylinder as large volume as possible.
As a result the volume of oil fed in one cycle increases, thus the oil is not fed
at every revolution, and intermittent lubrication is given to adjust the oiling
volume. The number of oiling cycles is controlled by the computer to give the
designed volume as the total.
Figure 2.6 compares the oiling valve having a cylinder in the Alpha
lubricator unit with the conventional one. Similar with the conventional type, the
oiling valve is a non-return valve. However, the new valve differs from the
conventional one at the front nozzle. That is, the oil is sprayed along the cylinder
the cylinder wall, or in the horizontal direction, not in the radial direction of the
cylinder. Under normal operation, the oil supply is given at the piston passing
time so that even a straight nozzle can feed oil to the piston ring and to the ring
land. However, at priming and in timer control mode in case of failing in the
control computer, the piston is not necessarily comes at the oil quill, and the oil
may be injected in air. Therefore, the design is given so as the ejected oil to reach
the cylinder wall even when the piston does not reach the oil quill.

2.4.3 Alpha lubrication system
Figure 2.5: Alpha lubrication system.

2.4.4 Design of Oiling valves

2.6: Design of oiling valves

The principle of the Alpha ACC appears from Figure 2.7
The basic feed rate control should be adjusted in relation to the actual fuel
quality and amount being burnt at any given time. The sulphur percentage is a
good indicator in relation to wear, and an oil dosage proportional to the sulphur
level will give the best overall cylinder condition.
The following two criteria determine the control:
The cylinder oil dosage shall be proportional to the sulphur percentage in
the fuel
The cylinder oil dosage shall be proportional to the engine load (i.e. the
amount of fuel entering the cylinders).
The implementation of the above two criteria will lead to an optimal cylinder
oil dosage, proportional to the amount of sulphur entering the cylinders.
Safe and very lube-economical control is obtained with a basic setting
according to the formula:
Basic lube oil setting = 0.34 g/kWh x S%,
With a minimum setting of 0.68 g/kWh, i.e. the setting should be kept
constant from 2% sulphur downwards.
Typical saving, depending on sulphur percentage (S%) and average load,
will be 25-30% (0.1-0.25 g/kWh) compared to Alpha lubricator in MEP control
The above principle is founded on the observation that the main part of the
cylinder liner wear is of a corrosive nature, and the amount of neutralizing
alkaline components needed in the cylinder should therefore be proportional to
the amount of sulphur (generating sulphurous acids) entering the cylinders.
A minimum cylinder oil dosage is set in order to account for other duties of
the cylinder oil (securing sufficient oil film, detergency, etc.).
Figure shows control of cylinder oil dosage proportional to the sulphur
percentage in the fuel.
A minimum dosage of 0.5 g / bhph is indicated. This minimum value is
preliminary and, given the efficient lubrication achievable with the Alpha
Lubricator System, and it is expected to be further reducing this minimum value
in the future.
The control according to Figure is based on a standard TBN 70-80 cylinder
oil. For operation in long periods with fuels with sulphur content below 1%, it is
recommended to change to a cylinder oil with a lower TBN (i.e. TBN 40-50
cylinder oils).
The environmental impact is clearly demonstrated: Owners who wish to
operate on green fuel (low-sulphur fuel) will, at the same time, have the
possibility to operate with green cylinder lubrication.

Figure 2.7: Cylinder oil amount proportional to sulphur
amount Figure 2.8: Cylinder oil
dosage proportional to sulphur percentage in the fuel.
entering the cylinders (the basic principle of Alpha ACC).

The Alpha ACC is implemented with the so-called sulphur Algorithm, in
the Alpha Lubricator System as in the figure 2.7. In the present version of the
Alpha Lubricator System, the crew onboard the vessel inputs the so-called
HMI-setting based on the sulphur percentage of the fuel used and a conversion
table, as in the figure.
This is done by one input on the HMI-panel of the Alpha Lubricator
System each time the fuel specification is changed.

Figure 2.9: The sulphur algorithm in the Alpha lubricator system


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