The 10,000th Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) for Kongsberg Maritime's AutoChief propulsion control system took place at Kongsberg Maritime Korea in Busan on Friday (27th April). The AutoChief 600 system tested will be installed on a new LEG carrier featuring a 2-stroke MAN B&W engine being built at Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (Hull 8258), for owner Solvang ASA. HHI-EMD, HMD and Solvang were represented at yesterday's FAT alongside experts from Kongsberg Maritime in Norway and Korea.
From its original development and prototype installation aboard M/S Haugvik where it was connected to a Nordberg 2-stroke engine in the early sixties, AutoChief has played a significant role in changing the way that ships are controlled. Since then, AutoChief has helped to pave the way for Kongsberg Maritime's success as an international technology developer for the shipping industry, opening the door for long-term partnerships worldwide, including with the major shipyards in South Korea and later China.
Now on its 6th iteration, the AutoChief 600, the system has gone from strength to strength by continuing to provide a safe and cost-effective way to electronically control engines from the ship's bridge. The on-going development of AutoChief has been supported through partnerships including both HHI-EMD and MAN B&W since the early eighties, with significant technical contributions ensuring each generation of AutoChief matches the progress made in engine design and ship operations. Today, approx. 7500 ships still operate with AutoChief as their primary engine control system.
“We have invested more than USD 1.7 billion in new ships since 2008, giving us a very modern fleet of 27 vessel, with an average age of about 7 years,” said Tor Øyvind Ask, Fleet Director, Solvang ASA. “We build, own and manage our fleet with a 20-25 year investment horizon, so having reliable technology on board is important to us. With AutoChief, we know we get a good and reliable system that will operate for a whole of a vessel's lifetime, which is also backed-up by an organisation capable of providing full lifetime support.”
“AutoChief has retained its ground-breaking nature with every new generation and we are pleased to have been part of these developments for over thirty years,” said Thomas S. Hansen, Senior Manager, Head of Promotion and Customer Support, MAN Diesel & Turbo. “Our engines power around 50% of world seaborne trade, with AutoChief serving a significant portion of these engines. Reaching the 10,000th system FAT in partnership with KONGSBERG and HHI-EMD is a significant milestone for us.”
“As our primary supplier of propulsion control systems, we work very closely with KONGSBERG to ensure the smooth integration of AutoChief on our newbuild vessels and the engines we build,” said Jang-Ho Kim, Head of 2-stroke Engine Assembly & Test Dep't, HHI-EMD. “AutoChief has an overwhelming market share compared to other available systems, which is due to it being a user friendly solution that offers high performance, a competitive price, and an excellent service network. It enables us to realise new technology such as ME-GI & X-DF engines and so from a technical development standpoint, it helps us to pioneer new markets in merchant ships and marine engines.”
AutoChief 600 is designed to manage all control, safety and alarm functions necessary for operating the main engine and all other accessories for propulsion control from a single station on the bridge. It is based on a modular concept that allows flexibility in system architecture, covering a range from the most simplified to the most sophisticated propulsion control systems available. A key change introduced in the current generation is Touch Screen operation for access to all functions and data, in addition to a new 'GoGreen' module, which introduces significant opportunities to optimise engine efficiency and reduce a vessel's environmental footprint.
“We're delighted to reach the 10,000th FAT milestone on the AutoChief family, especially in collaboration with MAN B&W and HHI-EMD as both have been key contributors to the product family over the years,” said Terje Dyhre, Product Manager – Propulsion, Kongsberg Maritime.