Caterpillar Marine Power Systems takes the Next Step in Long-term Cruise Sector Strategy

Hamburg, Germany …quot; These have been busy times in the halls of Caterpillar Motoren Rostock. Nonetheless, on June 8, 2006 another two MaKTM 9 M 43 C engines left the facility in the direction of Papenburg. Together with two engines delivered in mid April they will make up a formidable quartet powering the “AIDAdiva”, the first of four new AIDA club ships currently on order at the German Meyer Werft, one of the leading international cruise ship builders. Few days earlier the fourth MaK M 43 C passed its customer acceptance test. As part of an ambitious schedule, engines number 3 and 4 arrived in Papenburg June 12, 2006, and subsequently joined engines number 1 and 2, which are already installed in the emerging engine room of AIDAdiva.

• The “Sphinx Project”

For Caterpillar Marine Power Systems this is another major step in its long-term cruise sector strategy. A year ago, just in time for Miami Cruise Convention in March 2005, the
Meyer Werft formally signed the contract for 4x MaK 9 M 43 C engines each destined to power the next generation of AIDA cruise vessels. The decision to go with Caterpillar Marine was the result of an exhaustive competitor analysis, placing special emphasis on engine noise, improved reliability and emissions reduction. Late last summer, AIDA Cruises, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation, opted for a third so-called “Sphinx Class” vessel. On time for the 10th anniversary of AIDA Cruises on June 12, 2006, the company even ordered a fourth vessel with Meyer Werft. Construction of the first ship commenced in October 2005, with the keel-laying ceremony celebrated in Papenburg on March 3, 2006. Delivery of AIDAdiva is scheduled for April 15, 2007, after a 400 day construction period. The other three ships will follow in 2008, 2009 and 2010 respectively.

Each of the new AIDA ships has a gross tonnage of 68,500. Further main details include an overall length of 252 metres, a beam of 32.2 metres and accommodation for 2,050 passengers in 1,025 cabins. Power is provided by the four MaK 9 M 43 C engines with a total output of 36,000 kW driving two single propellers via electric motors, as well as two bow thrusters and two stern thrusters. In addition, the plant produces the electrical power for all other high-consumption units on board, including air conditioning, hotel/restaurant operation and the advanced health spa. Even then, there are still enough reserves of power to propel the vessel at a top speed of over 21 knots.

The MaK M 43 was introduced in 1998, adding a powerful fourth type to the new MaK long-stroke medium-speed marine engine generation which then consisted of the M 20, M 25, and M 32 diesels. In the meantime, Caterpillar Marine Power Systems has sold around 500 of its 6, 7, 8, 9 and 12 cylinder MaK M 43 series engines, representing a total power output of more than 3,600 MW. Following extensive discussions with cruise operators, in 2004 a new M 43 C version developing 1,000 kW per cylinder was made additionally available. Further to this increase in cylinder output, safety levels have been enhanced according to latest SOLAS (International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea) regulations: the M 43 C now features an explosion protection cover for the engine block, cladding over the complete fuel system and exhaust gas pipes, and turbine casings in stainless steel.

• Tailor-made propulsion

To further strengthen engine reliability and safety, AIDA opted for a customized version of the M 43 C, additionally featuring a slow turning device to enable safe remote engine starting, a big-end bearing temperature monitoring system designed to prevent bearing seizures, advanced resilient mounting of the engine to minimise engine vibrations and their transmission to the vessel hull, and the DICARE monitoring program which allows engine operating data to be called up at any time, even from locations ashore.

Most important for cruise operation: each MaK 9 M 43 C will be equipped with Flexible Camshaft Technology (FCT), a well-proven element of Caterpillar’s ACERTTM Technology. FCT was developed to reduce soot emissions below the visible limit at all loads and to minimise other exhaust emissions far beyond the IMO regulatory requirements. This major advantage also convinced Holland America Line (HAL), another Carnival subsidiary, to rely on four MaK 12 M 43 C plus two MaK 8 M 43 C engines for their forthcoming “Signature Class” vessel.

• Standing the test

As is only natural, the additional features of the MaK 9 M 43 C designed for AIDA Cruises generated special attention at the customer acceptance test. Representatives from AIDA Cruises, the Meyer Werft, Germanischer Lloyd, Carnival Corporate Shipbuilding and the Caterpillar dealer Zeppelin / MaK Deutschland attended a two-day trial run on the engine test bed at Caterpillar Motoren Rostock. In preparation for the actual test, all standard safety checks were completed before the engine was run-in and the firing pressure for every cylinder was carefully adjusted. Caterpillar staff also verified the electrics and the various connections to the engine control cabinet. During the test, various experts measured and thoroughly analysed a wide range of temperatures, pressures, vibrations and emissions values taken at standard load increments.

According to classification society requirements, proper functioning of the engine emergency shutdowns and engine start interlocks were demonstrated. Thereafter, the
functionality of the engine control cabinet and its interface to the vessel’s automation system (Integrated Alarm, Monitoring and Control System, IAMCS) was tested. On the second day the focus was on hands-on inspection of major engine components: the representatives carefully examined the main running gear, the camshaft drive, one FCT drive, one big-end bearing, one main bearing, one piston, two valves and all injectors for visible wear. The inspection satisfied those present: as expected no deviations from the calculated values could be found.

Finally, after two days of hard work and fruitful discussions, the results were on the table and all the parties involved agreed upon the final report of the MaK 9 M 43 C customer
acceptance test. This turned out to be very positive …quot; the new vibration dampers proved highly successful, all engines started even with very low air pressure available and the MaK FCT demonstrated outstanding effectiveness in reducing smoke emissions. But let’s hear what the experts themselves said: The operator’s perspective “Clean, neat design with very easy access to all major components", that’s how Chris Joly, Principal Manager - Marine Engineering with Carnival Corporate Shipbuilding, Southampton, United Kingdom, describes his overall impression of the MaK 9 M 43 C. He also underlines the excellent support given by Caterpillar Marine and the various technical teams involved at Caterpillar Motoren facilities in Kiel and Rostock. “We are looking forward to seeing this engine in service where we expect reliable operation and good fuel economy,” Joly continues. “However, most of all we are enthusiastic about the Flexible Camshaft Technology and its guarantee of extremely low smoke levels even at minimum power …quot; this is a perfect match with Carnival’s focus on sustainable development and environmental protection!”

“Good engine performance and responsive customer care”, that’s also the conclusion from Jens Kohlmann, Senior Superintendent Machinery, and Detlef Stremlow, Superintendent Newbuildings Machinery, AIDA Cruises, Rostock, Germany. Following extensive test bed trials, the engine specialists are very pleased that everything went according to plan: “Surface temperatures comply with SOLAS, acoustic emissions are below limits, engine vibrations are minimised and fuel consumption is in compliance with the low levels specified”, Stremlow soberly notes from his checklist. Appreciating the quick accessibility for inspection of every section of the MaK 9 M 43 C, Kohlmann and Stremlow failed to detect any visible wear. “We are very positive about the results achieved during customer acceptance tests on the engines for AIDAdiva”, Kohlmann summarises, “but looking from an operator’s standpoint we are even more excited about
the great performance to be expected in daily vessel service.”

• The yard’s perspective

“The engine plant of AIDA series features many technical improvements”, Jürgen Storz, Head of Mechanical Engineering Group at Meyer Werft explains, “especially in the areas of emissions reduction, minimisation of vibrations and engine automation.” First of all, very strict limitations for smoke and NOx over the whole load range called for an advanced engine design …quot; “and the MaK FCT system selected performed very well”, points out Heinz-Hermann Jungeblut of the Mechanical Engineering Group at Meyer Werft. Likewise, strict requirements for vibrations led to careful examination of both engine vibrations and their influence on attached equipment and vibrations transmitted to the engine foundation which strongly influence passenger comfort. “Either way, the new elastic dampers proved their efficiency: All measured vibration values were well below the prescribed limits”, Jungeblut comments. “Special emphasis was put on the new automation system for the engine plant, requested by the yard and developed in close cooperation between Caterpillar and Meyer Werft,” Storz stresses. The system incorporates a safety management system and an alarm/monitoring system which utilises a bus link to the vessel’s overriding automation system. Its function and interaction with the engines was completely verified on the test bed. The connecting cables have a plug-and-play design, allowing class approval of the whole system during factory acceptance tests …quot; according to Storz a major advantage for the yard: “This innovative approach gives us confidence from the test bed onwards and saves us a great deal of time and money during later commissioning of the engines aboard the vessel!” And that’s also acknowledged by Aloys Meemann, Head of Project Management at Meyer Werft and responsible for on time delivery of all four AIDA vessels: “We are convinced that all parties involved have taken any action necessary to provide the ship owner with an innovative but straightforward and therefore reliable engine plant …quot; we are highly satisfied with our co-operation with Caterpillar!”

• A team of cruise enthusiasts

There is little we can add to the experts’ statements, except for a final comment from Leif Gross, Sales Director Global Cruise Projects with Caterpillar Marine: “Team Caterpillar is extremely proud that it is providing the new AIDA cruise vessels with the heart of a powerful yet economical and low emissions propulsion plant. And we are looking forward to April 2007, when AIDAdiva will be christened in Hamburg, a city famous for its large number of cruise enthusiasts …quot; including those in the global headquarters of Caterpillar Marine Power Systems!”

• About Caterpillar Marine Power Systems

Caterpillar Marine Power Systems, with headquarters in Hamburg, Germany, brings together all sales and service activities for Cat and MaK branded marine products within Caterpillar Inc. This organization provides premier marine power solutions (high and medium speed with outputs from 11 kW to 16,000 kW) and customer service from a single source for the global commercial/ocean-going and pleasure craft markets. The Caterpillar Marine Power Systems sales and service network includes more than 1800 dealer locations worldwide and is well positioned to support the customers wherever they are.

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• About Caterpillar

For more than 80 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been making progress possible and driving positive and sustainable change on every continent. With 2005 sales and revenues of
$36.339 billion, Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines and industrial gas turbines.

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