Plywood model created at Design Factory can help shipping companies save millions
Vesa Saarijärvi and Kari Kääriäinen are working on the mock-up that is equivalent in size and shape to the space in which the engineer must work when replacing the seal. Photo Mikko Raskinen / Aalto University
The air in the workshop is filled with sawdust and the smell of fresh wood. One might not immediately guess that this is due to a partnership project with a multinational industrial giant.
'We are building a mock-up for ABB, that is, a model of the space in which the ship's azimuthing electric podded propulsion unit’s shaft seals are replaced,' says Vesa Saarijärvi, a laboratory technician at the Design Factory and points at Model Building Specialist Kari Kääriäinen, who is assembling parts sawed from birch plywood.
'It is difficult to clearly see on a design table whether replacement of seals can be successfully accomplished from the inside of a vessel. The model we have is equivalent in size and shape to the space in which the engineer must work when replacing the seal, and, thus, ABB designers can use the model to ensure that the operation is successful,' he explains.
Good and flexible partner
The possibility of replacing seals from inside a vessel is very appealing to shipping companies as dry docking a large cruise ship can cost millions of euros, and there are no suitable places for this repair work at ports. ABB's Senior Project Manager Veli-Pekka Peljo says that the possibility of replacing shaft seals from the inside of a vessel is already a feature of the company's current Azipod XO propulsion unit.
The possibility of replacing shaft seals from the inside of a vessel is very appealing to shipping companies. Image by ABB.
'We unequivocally also wanted to maintain this maintenance characteristic, which will give us a competitive edge, in our new Azipod® propulsion unit. We knew from past experiences that the Aalto Design Factory is a good and flexible partner, and, for this reason, we decided to utilise their expertise once again in the creation of this mock-up.
In addition to Vesa Saarijärvi and Kari Kääriäinen, research assistant Sauli Larkiala has taken part in the project by making and assembling parts for the mock-up.
'This is a high-paced project: we have about a month from the project order to completion,’ Mr Saarijärvi explains with a smile.