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Phil,

I was chatting to a neighbour yesterday, over the fence, of course, and learnytas I didn't know before that he was in a post like yours, at your age.  Like me, he's retired now.    He told me abouth shipping a cargo of Triumphs - he said Stags - to America, but the voyage was rough and a car got loose.     When they docked, they were directed to a berth nearest to the scrap yard, as every single car had to be destroyed!

Unlike my story (forgive if I've told it before) of my summer holiday job in a local BMC dealer, in the '60s.     One day, all (yes, ALL, there wer half a dozen!) apprentices  and I were corraled and bussed off to Oxford, where a car compound and the company's stock of new MGBs had been flooded.  With sewage.   Over their bonnets   Our job was to strip out all the trim and seats, and turn the engines over to expel the water (cars spouting like a school of whales!), before they went back to the factory.    They were inserted back into the production line, where they were retrimmed and upholstered - and sold to unsuspecting punters!    So if anyone ever had an MGB that was a bit squiffy in damp weather, now you know why!

JOhn

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Well, been a wee while again since I posted, but really not a huge amount has been happening. We are now anchored inside San Francisco Bay, arrived mid afternoon on the 12th.

Informed that we do have a cargo, which will go back to Singapore. Loading starts on 18th, and first parcel should take approx 3 days. Then away to wait for second parcel, with the aim of sailing around the 28th. However, we might have a third parcel to collect yet, but this is rumour only at the moment.

Anyway, to the engineering. As I promised a while back, I had another overhaul to show you. This time it was a Fuel Oil Purifier, a Westfalia to be precise. Not the largest I have worked on, (the really big ones have a horizontal motor and a horizontal shaft) but a fair size all the same.

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Vertical motor, with a clutch unit and belt to turn the vertical shaft/bowl.

I started removing the bowl and opening it.(Fundamental difference between Alfa-Laval and Westfalia/Mitsubishi, Alfa-Laval have you dismantle the bowl in situ to remove, Westfalia and Mitsubishi you lift the entire bowl out and dismantle separately. The later is the better option IMO, for times when you must open the bowl in high temps, you can pop the bowl out and up to the workshop where it is cooler!!) No pictures of cleaning, I forgot to take them!

Next was the clutch. Consists of two bearings and some pads, a nice simple design.IMG_20200429_150446.thumb.jpg.ff15c0e0b18d10f0858f9b09d4dd6055.jpg

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Pads go into the almost square holes, and are forced outwards when the inner section spins, gripping the outer shaft. And yes, there is a plate to stop the pads falling out!

That was the easy bit, next up was the vertical shaft. As this is a complete overhaul, it is supposed to be done every 16000 hours. My check of the maintenance history shows this machine has not been touched for nearly 30000 hours, so I expected a struggle. I received one hahahaha.......

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This contraption, plus a bloody big 3 legged puller won the day eventually. All to remove the inner race of a bearing. And not a particularly big bearing at that!

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(The brass ring also came off)

I then rebuilt the shaft with new bearings, to pull it all apart again when I discovered the bottom foot had worn so much the bottom two bearings were a (remarkably) loose fit. Fortunately we had a new spare available, so that was used. All installed back into the casing.

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Then another hard job, replacing the polyamide gaskets. This purifier has two sliding pieces that move vertically up and down, an annular piston and a closing chamber. The gaskets prevent metal to metal contact of some force, and have to be tough to withstand this. Of course, this makes them tough to replace.

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Re-fitting involves sitting them on the Main Engine cylinder head for a couple of hours (the gaskets that is) to heat up (Cyl Head is roughly 80°C) so that they expand and can be fitted.

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Compare this last picture to the next, to see the wear. This material cannot be cut with scissors, it takes several whacks with a large hammer and cold chisel to cut it.

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After that, it is simply a case of fit new O-Rings and gaskets and reassemble.

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To close the bowl, you compress the stack and hood with the spanner/tool shown in the last picture (yup, as you may be able to tell, hit with a big hammer), then screw a big lock ring on until the marks coincide. (This is where you spot a newbie from an experienced guy. The experienced guy will compress the hood right down to allow the lock ring to come into place nice and easy, the newbie will not and will have to hammer the lockring into place).

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Then install the bowl, attach the brass work (pumps etc, though contrary to a normal pump the impellers are stationary, the bowl and liquid move around them!).

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Connect the power, and you have success!

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Approximately a week's worth of work for 3 guys encapsulated into one post.

Cheers,

Phil

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Posted (edited)

Wow, Phil I'm photocopying that, just in case I'm ever faced with a Westfalia fuel oil separator!

I started reading your manual, and the first picture reminded me of something!  Aha!, yes!

Zvezda_toilet.jpg

That is the Russian toilet, on the ISS.   It doen't have large electric motor attached, but then the ISS is surrounded by fairly hard vacuum.

Don't ask what the yellow funnel is for.

John

Edited by JohnD

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Looks similar to the Westfalia centrifuges used in big breweries for yeast recovery, though with smaller motor.

Not doing bearing changes on centrifuges at the specified intervals is high risk.  I have seen the aftermath of bearing failure on a big decanting centrifuge at a sewage works. Looked more like a bomb had gone off than mechanical failure. An operator had a narrow escape and a vehicle in a car park 150m away was also damaged by something quite large landing on it having already got through a wall/roof.....:ohmy:

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Busy man Phil

That bearing race looks well fired on!

Before I worked for BP I worked in military explosives and the bowl on that separator reminds me of the centrifuges we had on the nitroglycerine plant. Although they were driven by hydraulic motors to avoid having electric equipment anywhere close!

Three of them after the injector nitrator to wash the NG of spent nitric/sulphuric nitration acid. The plant was built on a hill with the nitrator at the top. After that there were no pumps, or valves other than a bit of natural rubber hose clamped shut with a giant wooden clothespeg. Everything flowed in open heated troughs in water under gravity.

Working on that plant was challenging. Not least because all the tools had to be made of bronze or lead. No other metals allowed.

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Wow, again!     I once - once in my professional career - gave a patient ether, and had to warn the surgeon not to use diathermy, lest we all (I say 'we', mainly the patient) explode. 

Until Covid arrived, or unless you went and worked for MSF, under fire, there really hasn't been much danger in medicine.   Thank goodness.

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:biggrin:

Yes NG was interesting stuff. Froze at 4 degrees C but the formation or melting of the 'ice' crystals could be enough to cause detonation. Hence the gentle heating!

 

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On 6/16/2020 at 2:24 AM, GT6MK3 said:

Singapore next Bud?

Yes indeedy!

Well, with a brief stop off at Manila along the way.

 

My apologies to all, been meaning to update this thread, however for quite a while very little was actually happening. Mostly sat in San Francisco bay waiting to load cargo (which was done in two batches). Of course, whilst we enjoyed the downtime we also had opportunity to tackle some bigger jobs.

Like the Fire/Bilge/General Service pump that had sprung a slight leak from the mechanical seal. Not the first time this has happened (though the first with the current engineers), after dismantling we discovered that two brass bushes were missing. Perusal of the records (and the photo's attached to them) suggested that these bushes had been missing for several years. Guess that would explain why the seal kept breaking........

Even better, we have had the two offending parts sat in the spares store for more than a few years!

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It will come apart!!!

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1/E was concerned he might forget how it went back together........

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Some big lumps of metal.

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And not a small motor to make it all move. (I think that these rank about 4th or 5th largest onboard?)

Phil

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Aside from the pump, we took some bunkers whilst waiting between loadings. And the analysis of these came back atrocious (technically within spec!!). Basically full of cat fines, which do nasty things to fuel pumps, piston rings, liners etc etc etc. 

So, this means I require to run both fuel oil purifiers in parallel at the lowest throughput to match consumption. So I went and started the purifier you all saw in bits in an earlier post.

And it decided to throw constant alarms at me! Well, first thing was to check I had assembled every thing correctly. I was pretty sure I had, not to blow my own trumpet or anything but I'm not exactly a novice at rebuilding purifiers! Sure enough, all as it should be.

So this left the Water/Sludge monitoring system. Sounds fancy, in reality it isn't. It takes a sample from the clean output, runs it past a water sensor (two probes measuring capacitance), and periodically flushes and checks pressure. If sludge build up in the bowl, pressure drops triggering a de-sludge. You have the option to run WMS, SMS or both. We run both. And the alarm that kept coming? We couldn't work out if was from WMS or SMS!

So a lot of to-ing and fro-ing later, fiddling with control panels turning functions on and off, we eventually traced it down to the pressure switch. When checked before it proved that it was switching, however once on the bench the ETO determined that the continuity was suspect (showing 20kilo ohms instead of zero).

This short description covers four days of work between two people, and is exactly why I am not an ETO!! (ETO = Electro Technical Officer).

Cheers,

Phil

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Well, another few interesting days (well, actually a few days back, but internet has been as reliable as usual).

Back at the end of April I had the Fresh Water Generator open for cleaning, and also trying to suss out why the production was so low (compared to original spec). I was informed that "this is always the case on this class (of ship)", and given various reasons why we shouldn't touch any further. However, I bided my time, and once we started sailing back across the Pacific with the FWG running I starting pushing to get it opened up again. After a week or so, when production dropped back to 10 tonnes a day the Chief grudgingly agreed that I could have another look (the increasing salinity reading had told us we needed to clean the evaporator section again anyway).

Anyway, I didn't need telling twice. We had that bugger opened up faster than you could shake a stick at it, and I took my measurements of the plate stacks. Top stack (condenser) measured 345mm, bottom stack 365mm. I knew the bottom stack were new plates and gaskets, however this should have (and will in future) have started to raise small flag. Bottom stack covered in salt as well, after only 1 month running!

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So after a good bout of plate cleaning (two days!!) we had everything reassembled. And opened the water to pressure test, and we leaked. 

Bugger. Particularly as whilst tightening my wrench slipped, and my arm connected with something solid!

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Bottom stack was one plate leaking. Okay, means we missed a bit of unstuck gasket, no problem.

However, top stack was another story. I had only retightened the stack to 350mm, and had 8 or 9 plates immediately leaking, with more developing. I could tighten further, however what should have waved a flag at me earlier was starting to hit me round the head. I recalled from my many perusals of the manual that each plate counts for 3.5mm, and I had 99 plates. Plus 20mm on the end plate, which gives 366mm. I was at 350mm already. Ummmm, something not right. A wee check of the spares showed only 93 new gaskets as well.

So I toddled off to see the Chief, and explained. And suffered a ten minute rant about how he knew this would be an issue and was why he didn't want to touch it in the first place. After giving him time to get that off his chest, we came through with the plan of only replacing the gaskets on the SW plates (the Fresh water plates are open on one edge, to allow the vapour to enter, so I really was not overly concerned if they leaked slightly!!). 

So we did. Ouch. Last person to touch these plates (I guess with a similar issue of leaking) used the wrong glue to stick the gaskets on. The correct glue is very similar to that you get in a puncture repair kit on a bike, a rubbery solution. What they used was more akin to cement! Finally left the gaskets to dry overnight with the end plate for weight.

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Reassembled the next day, and tested. No leaks, and at this point we only needed to tighten the top plates to 370mm! Quite glad we only did half the plates, might have been a struggle to fit them back on otherwise. 

And 24 hours later, we produced 29 tonnes. Success!! I do like a good ending (and so does the chief, apparently this is the first time in over ten years sailing on this class that he has seen the FWG produce the 30 tonnes per day it is rated for! Should bode well for the end of trip evaluation lol).

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And in other news, we now have movement in crew changes. In two days time we will pause at Manila Bay, and exchange all Filipinos for fresh guys. They still have some difficulties getting flights (there are some, but mostly charter and finding flights to match vessel schedule is still an issue) however as we are sailing past the office have decided to take the opportunity.

And then all going well the rest of us will change out start of July in Singapore. This is subject to change, as most of the officers coming will be Indian, and they do still have issues flying as well.

Which means I have to face the complete farce that is Scotland's rules on quarantine! Nicola Sturgeon seems to have developed an annoying trait of always exceeding whatever rules England puts in place. Which in most cases is reasonable, given the lacklustre response of BJ to the virus. However, England/Wales/NI have followed the International Maritime Organisation's guidance for seafarers, meaning that they are counted as key workers and as such exempt from the 2 week quarantine now in place.

Not Scotland. There, seafarers still have to undergo quarantine. So as it stands, I will come home to 14 days quarantine, even though as it stands I am probably more at risk of catching this damn virus in the UK than I am anywhere else lol.

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I'd feel safer on the boat!  No doubt you're due for some well earned R&R though.

I expect daily updates of quarantine tinkering...

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Definitely safer on the tanker!  14 days is for your protection...…. after that you are on your own!

Banana republic, Septic Isle.

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Is the 14 day period on the companies time as you won't be able to do anything..........I doubt it:no:

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Aye, the Princess likes to go that wee bit further. Fine but rough on you guys for sure.

Plate heat exchangers. Don't you just love them. Good job you did there. 

How many times have I heard the "but they have always been like that" story!

Along with 'it's not working right. You need to fix it. But you mustn't change anything or turn anything off".

As I said to one boss, "make it better without changing anything. You don't need an Engineer, you need a magician". That went down like a cup of cold sick!

Hope you get home safe.

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1 hour ago, Escadrille Ecosse said:

How many times have I heard the "but they have always been like that" story!

Along with 'it's not working right. You need to fix it. But you mustn't change anything or turn anything off".

As I said to one boss, "make it better without changing anything. You don't need an Engineer, you need a magician". That went down like a cup of cold sick!

Strangely echo's my experience of working in software development, "make it faster, deliver it quicker but don't spend any money"

I think my happiest moment of my professional life so far - 3 of us in a meeting, me "software development manager", my boss "head of software development" and my technical lead. Boss explains his theory of how we should implement a new system (he's out of touch and his approach would have been relevant 15 years before that!) , my technical lead loudly declares "Iain, not while there's a hole in my arse will we be doing it that way". 

 

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9 minutes ago, yorkshire_spam said:

Strangely echo's my experience of working in software development, "make it faster, deliver it quicker but don't spend any money"

I think my happiest moment of my professional life so far - 3 of us in a meeting, me "software development manager", my boss "head of software development" and my technical lead. Boss explains his theory of how we should implement a new system (he's out of touch and his approach would have been relevant 15 years before that!) , my technical lead loudly declares "Iain, not while there's a hole in my arse will we be doing it that way". 

 

Superb!

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I'd definitely stay on the boat! last place i'd want to be at the moment is on a plane, but needs must i guess, be worth it when you get home.

Just book a two week holiday in the lake district, head straight there?

 

 

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2 hours ago, Escadrille Ecosse said:

Aye, the Princess likes to go that wee bit further.

She may look suspiciously like wee Jimmie Krankie, but she's a more effective leader than any of the horrors we've had down south for many a year.......

 

2 hours ago, Escadrille Ecosse said:

'it's not working right. You need to fix it. But you mustn't change anything or turn anything off"

Oh yeah....... Today I had a guy on the phone from a well known Cornish cheese making establishment.  They have several of our pumps, one of them on their lactose evaporator.  I went to look at it 4 years ago, just after it was commissioned, because it was rattling the pipes and killing seals (the mechanical kind).  This is because it spends its life trying to suck thick liquid through a thin pipe, from a vessel already under substantial vacuum. Not a happy place for a pump.  Consequently it cavitates continuously, which rattles the pipes and puts a lot of strain on the seal, which is also "optimistically" specified.  I spent quite a while writing a report telling them what the issues were and how to deal with them.  I had a bet with myself when he first starting talking that it would be about this pump and I soon won it.  Apparently it's still rattling the pipes and killing seals....... 4 years on.  He was surprised to learn there was a report on it already....... but then he's only been there three years.....  Dunno whether to laugh or cry.  I could go down there again I guess, but it'll be groundhog day for sure.  Waste of diesel.

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1 minute ago, Nick Jones said:

She may look suspiciously like wee Jimmie Krankie, but she's a more effective leader than any of the horrors we've had down south for many a year.......

Haha, yeap, the SNP are a nightmare, they just keep coming up with damn good politicians, love the policies or hate them, pervy salmond and wee jimmie are both excellent narrators...

 

And that is why i always make sure clients email problems, i like to have a trail and never delete an email so i can always come back to them and wave it in their face showing them i warned them of problems years in the past...

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Passed this the other day. Admittedly not quite as impressive as it was later that night, when it started spitting fire and lava.

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Apologies for the distance, given we are an oil tanker carrying a full cargo of Heavy Fuel Oil we felt that it was prudent to err on the cautious side :biggrin:

Looking like a good chunk of my "quarantine" is going to involve decorating. Hopefully I get some time to also pull the engine/gearbox from the Herald, 14 days of watching paint dry might become a wee bitty monotonous.

Ohh, and apparently I need to fix the Aga. Damn fire valve has closed and will not reset. I think it might be consigned to history, darn thing is in the wrong place as it is! (And before anyone worries, there is a SECOND fire valve correctly located outside, although I may need to relocate the capillary vial thingy.)

Phil

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On 6/24/2020 at 10:37 PM, mattius said:

Haha, yeap, the SNP are a nightmare, they just keep coming up with damn good politicians, love the policies or hate them, pervy salmond and wee jimmie are both excellent narrators...

Aye!

On 6/24/2020 at 10:37 PM, mattius said:

And that is why i always make sure clients email problems, i like to have a trail and never delete an email so i can always come back to them and wave it in their face showing them i warned them of problems years in the past...

Always kept the email trail.

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On 6/24/2020 at 11:51 PM, GT6MK3 said:

I'd feel safer on the boat!  No doubt you're due for some well earned R&R though.

I expect daily updates of quarantine tinkering...

 

On 6/25/2020 at 12:29 AM, Nick Jones said:

Definitely safer on the tanker!  14 days is for your protection...…. after that you are on your own!

Banana republic, Septic Isle.

 

On 6/25/2020 at 5:29 AM, mattius said:

I'd definitely stay on the boat! last place i'd want to be at the moment is on a plane, but needs must i guess, be worth it when you get home.

Just book a two week holiday in the lake district, head straight there?

 

 

Well, decided to take you advice gentlemen, and am remaining onboard :laugh:

Or in reality, I should have signed off tomorrow, however news this morning is that Singapore Authorities didn't grant permission in time for the Indians to catch their flight, so they cannot come. So myself, Chief Engineer and ETO have to stay.

So now we wait to see what next opportunity will be. Rumour suggests Australia around the end of the month.

On the plus side, in three days (6th) I will have been onboard 120 days, so after this I am over assignment. This means I go to double salary, so I'm not going to complain too much :money:

Phil

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