RTA84C engine data

Bore Stroke

Stroke/bore ratio Power, mcr Cylinders

840 mm 2400 mm 2.86

4050 kW/cyl 6-12

Speed range Mean effective pressure Mean piston speed Maximum cylinder pressure Specific fuel consumption

82-102 rev/min

166-171 g/kWh

Increasing sizes of post-Panamax containerships dictated more powerful engines and stimulated the introduction of the RTA96C series in December 1994. The 960 mm bore design was fully based on the RTA84C (Figures 12.24 and 12.25), which it supplemented in the programme. The selection of a stroke (2500 mm) some 100 mm longer than that of the RTA84C engine for the RTA96C design (Figure 12.26) was influenced by demands for the highest reliability. By adopting a longer stroke, the absolute depth of the combustion chamber could be proportionally increased to give more room for securing the best combustion and fuel injection parameters, and better control of temperatures in the combustion chamber components. Additionally, the slightly longer stroke fosters a simplified crankshaft design with enhanced reliability, since the shrunk-in main journals do not cut the journal fillets at the inner sides of the crankwebs.

Figure 12.24 A 12-cylinder Sulzer RTA84C engine on test
Engine Cross Head Assembly
Figure 12.25 Crosshead and connecting rod assembly for RTA84C engine

A time-between-overhaul (TBO) of three years from the RTA96C engine's key components was sought, a goal underwritten by: a cast iron (preferably die cast) cylinder liner with the necessary amount of wear-resistant hard-phase particles and a smoothly machined and honed surface for quick and trouble-free running-in; bore cooling of all the main combustion chamber components; three fuel injection valves symmetrically distributed in the cylinder cover contribute to evenness of temperature distribution; cylinder oil lubrication of the liner surface via two levels of quills to achieve effective and economical distribution; and a top piston ring pre-profiled and plasma coated to secure the lowest wear rate to reach the three-year TBO goal with sufficient margin. Diametral cylinder liner wear rates of around 0.03 mm/1000 hours

Figure 12.26 Cross-section of RTA96C engine, designed for propelling ultra-large containerships

are reported for RTA96C design, in service. All new engines further benefit from TriboPack measures to enhance piston-running behaviour (see below).

The semi-built crankshaft comprises combined crankpin/web elements forged from a solid ingot, with the journal pins then shrunk into the crankweb. The main bearings have whitemetal shells, and the main bearing caps are held down by a pair ofjack bolts in the RTA84C and by a pair of elastic holding-down studs in the RTA96C. The crosshead bearing is designed to the same principles as for all other RTA engines; it also features a full-width lower half bearing. The crosshead bearings have thin-walled shells of whitemetal to yield a high load-bearing capacity. Sulzer low speed engines retain a separate elevated-pressure lube oil supply to the crosshead; this provides hydrostatic lubrication which lifts the crosshead pin off the shell during every revolution to ensure that sufficient oil film thickness is maintained under the gas load: crucial to long term bearing security.

The combustion chamber was recognized as the most important design area because of its key influence on engine reliability and the high power concentration. Component design was based on established practice and benefited from work carried out for the medium bore RTA48T and RTA58T engines. Bore cooling technology, Wartsila suggests, provides an escape from the rule that larger components (resulting from a larger bore) when subjected to thermal loading will also have higher thermal strains. With bore cooling, the thermal strains in the cylinder cover, liner and piston crown of the RTA96C can be kept fully within the values of earlier generations of RTA engines, as can the mechanical stresses in those components.

The solid forged steel, bore-cooled cylinder cover is secured by eight elastic studs, and the central exhaust valve of Nimonic 80A material is housed in a bolted-on valve cage. Anti-corrosion cladding is applied to the cylinder covers downstream of the injection nozzles to protect the covers from hot corrosive or erosive attack. The pistons feature a forged steel crown with a short skirt; the crown is cooled by combined jet-shaker oil cooling achieving moderate temperatures on the crown and a fairly even temperature distribution across the crown surface. No coatings are necessary.

A high structural rigidity with low stresses and high stiffness is important for low speed engines. The RTA84C and RTA96C designs exploit a well proven structure with a 'gondola' type bedplate surmounted by very rigid A-shaped double-walled columns and cylinder blocks, all secured by pre-tensioned vertical tie rods. Both bedplate and columns are welded fabrications designed for minimum machining. The cylinder jacket is assembled from individual cast iron cylinder blocks bolted together to form a rigid whole. The fuel pumps are carried on supports on one side of the column and the scavenge air receiver on the other side of the cylinder jacket.

Access to the piston under-side is normally from the fuel pump side but is also possible from the receiver side of the engine, to facilitate maintenance of the piston rod gland and also for inspecting piston rings. The tilting-pad thrust bearing is integrated in the bedplate. The use of gear wheels for the camshaft drive allows the thrust bearing to be very short and stiff, and to be carried in a closed rigid housing.

The three uncooled fuel injection valves in each cylinder cover have nozzle tips sufficiently long for the cap nut to be shielded by the cylinder cover and not exposed to the combustion space. The camshaft-driven fuel injection pumps are of the double-valve controlled type, traditional in Sulzer low speed engines. Injection timing is controlled by separate suction and spill valves regulated through eccentrics on hydraulically-actuated lay shafts. Flexibility in timing is possible through the variable fuel injection timing (VIT) system for improved part-load consumption, while the fuel quality setting (FQS) lever can adjust timing according to the fuel oil quality. The valve-controlled fuel injection pump, in comparison with a helix type, has a plunger with a significantly greater sealing length. The higher volumetric efficiency reduces the torque in the camshaft; additionally, injection from a valve-controlled pump is far more stable at very low loads, and rotational shaft speeds down to 15 per cent of the rated speed are achieved. Valve control also has the benefits of less deterioration of timing over the years owing to reduced wear and freedom from cavitation.

The camshaft is assembled from a number of segments, one for each fuel pump housing. The segments are connected through SKF sleeve couplings, each segment having an integral hydraulic reversing servomotor located within the pump housing. The camshaft drive is a traditional Sulzer arrangement, effected in this case by three gearwheels housed in a double column located at the driving end or in the centre of the engine. The main gearwheel on the crankshaft is in one piece and flange mounted.

Scavenge air is delivered by a constant pressure turbocharging system based on one or more turbochargers, depending on the number of engine cylinders. For starting and during slow running, scavenge air delivery is augmented by electrically-driven auxiliary blowers. The scavenge air receiver incorporates non-return flaps, an air cooler and the auxiliary blowers; the turbochargers are mounted on the receiver, which also carries the fixed foot for the exhaust manifold. Immediately after the cooler, the scavenge air passes through a water separator comprising a row of vanes that divert the air flow and collect the water. Ample drainage is provided to completely remove the condensed water collected at the bottom of the air cooler and separator. Effective separation of condensed water from the stream of scavenge air is thus accomplished, a necessity for satisfactory piston-running behaviour.

RTA engines have simple seating arrangements with a modest number of holding-down bolts and side stoppers (14 side stoppers are needed for a 12-cylinder RTA96C engine). No end stoppers or thrust brackets are needed as thrust transmission is provided by fitted bolts or thrust sleeves applied to a number of the holding-down bolts (Figure 12.27). The holes in the tanktop for the thrust sleeves can be made by drilling or even flame cutting. After alignment of the bedplate, epoxy resin chocking material is poured around the sleeves. The engine is equipped with an integrated axial detuner at the free end of the crankshaft, and a detuner monitoring system developed by Wartsila is standard equipment.

Diesel Engine Detuner
Figure 12.27 Arrangements for transmitting propeller thrust to the RTA84T, RTA84C and RTA96C engine seatings; the inset shows the thrust sleeve for the thrust bolts

A standard all-electric interface is employed for engine management systems—the DENIS (Diesel Engine Interface Specification)—to meet all needs for control, monitoring, safety and alarm warning functions. It matches remote control systems and ship control systems from a number of approved suppliers.

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  • leon
    How to check fuel pump timing of sulzer rta engine?
    3 years ago

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