Automated Warning System Monitors Lube Oil on Ships

Aug. 2, 2010
System has potential to save shipping industry millions.

Researchers from Scotlands Sunderland University have developed an automated early-warning system that monitors the condition of a ships lube oil.

The shipping industry has adopted automated systems in their engine management, attaching sensors to gauge temperature, pressure, fluid level and flow monitoring. But one critical area it doesnt monitor is lube oil.

Sunderlands Institute for Automotive and Manufacturing Advanced Practice (AMAP) team developed a software program for a sensor-based processing unit that continuously monitors the engines lubricated system, providing data on deterioration or contamination in the oil and to anticipate problems before damage occurs.

The Posseidon system, as its called, comes in the form of a black box attached to the ships main engine, and the software which monitors the oil acts like as traffic light, warning crews if there are problems and providing solutions on how best to resolve it.

The system has the potential to save the shipping industry millions of dollars by avoiding repairs, while extending the life of engines.

More importantly, its design is strong enough to withstand the operating environment of a ship including high levels of motion, vibration, varying temperature and humidity over long periods of time. As a result, it is believed the software could be easily transferred to other industries, such as wind power.

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