IPU launches offshore starting solution maintenance

IPU Group, a UK manufacturer of secondary diesel engine starting solutions used in critical applications, is launching a maintenance service for extreme locations to resolve what it sees as a serious safety omission.

The company designs and makes air, spring, hydraulic and nitrogen starting solutions capable of turning over and starting diesel engines of up to 320 litres in the harshest of wet, sub-zero, arctic and extremely hot conditions.

Many of these engines are in high-risk environments such as oil and gas platforms, where it is mandatory to have a means of secondary non-electrical starting, in case of fire or explosion. Applications that could rely on non-electrical starting include winches, fire pumps and lifeboats.

But informal research by IPU found these emergency starting solutions are not getting regularly serviced, which could be putting personnel at risk.

A reduction in maintenance crews on platforms, a lack of awareness of the critical safety-related function of the starting systems, and a shortage of spares for equipment – which can be more than 30 years old – are leading to the inadequate servicing of secondary power sources, says IPU.

Many back-up generators in the offshore industry are in exposed areas and at the mercy of the elements, suffering erosion from water, sea salt and extreme temperatures. But full servicing is being overlooked, according to IPU.

To tackle this potential danger, IPU has had some of its engineering staff trained for offshore servicing. Their preparation includes passing the Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Training for helicopter travel to offshore installations. The engineers are also qualified to service and maintain other manufacturers’ kit as well as IPU solutions, in accordance with the main specifications of the equipment. All work is certified to meet existing safety standards.

IPU’s divisional director of starting systems David Caddick says his experience suggests the black-start capability on some platforms has been compromised by a regime of sporadic safety checks. Operators must do more than carry out weekly tests to comply with safety guidelines, in his view.

“Even in the harshest conditions operators must organise regular servicing support for their stand-by equipment,” he says.

“However, this is not always happening either due to operational pressures, lack of relevant skills or as a result of staff shortages. We can help reduce the risk of failure of emergency power on oil and gas platforms by providing regular servicing to back-up starter motors. Our highly trained and motivated engineers are on stand-by 24/7 to go to the most hazardous environments anywhere in the world.”

Cummins and Kanghao form G-Drive joint venture

Cummins Inc and XiangFan Kanghao M&E Engineering Co Ltd have announced a 50:50 joint-venture partnership to develop, assemble and distribute G-Drive engines from Dongfeng Cummins Engine Co Ltd (DCEC) and Xi’an Cummins Engine Co (XCEC) to China-based generator original equipment manufacturers.

The joint venture, based in Xiangyang City of Hubei Province in central China, is scheduled to begin operation in April 2012 with an installed capacity to handle up to 40 000 units per year, with capability to expand in the future. The joint venture will become the exclusive channel partner for DCEC and XCEC G-Drive engines in China.

China is a key global player in diesel and natural gas gensets, manufacturing more than 30 per cent of the world’s market and consuming more than 10 per cent.

Leo Zhao, general manager of Cummins Power Generation China, said the joint venture is aimed at integrating the strong power generation business of Cummins with the unique channel resources and key component supply of Kanghao.

“The primary focus of this new partnership is to further expand the G-Drive business of Cummins’ joint ventures in China, including Dongfeng Cummins and Xi’an Cummins.”

Fan Xiao, Kanghao executive vice-president, said his company was “thrilled to have this opportunity to significantly expand our co-operation with Cummins”. “Our long-term partnership with Cummins has already laid a solid foundation for this new joint venture. We are confident that the enhanced co-operation between the two powerhouses will further leverage our complementary strength to winning the market over.”

Caterpillar and Energyst sign global agreement

Caterpillar Inc. and Energyst Cat Rental Power have announced a five-year agreement to co-operate globally on temporary power solutions.

By working with Caterpillar, Energyst will enhance its position in the international power projects market by offering readily available power solutions from Caterpillar supported by partnerships within the extensive Cat dealer network.

Energyst sees “great opportunities” in the IPP market, said CEO Gary Smith. “By putting this ‘dream team’ together with Caterpillar, we are uniquely positioned to leverage the key Cat distribution network in our territories and provide solutions of the highest value to our customers.”

Bill Rohner, Caterpillar vice-president with responsibility for electric power, said that experience gained with Energyst would allow Caterpillar to continue its growth in the international power projects business.

“Through this agreement, we are able to provide the engineering, product expertise and experience to meet the growing temporary power solutions needs of our current and future customers.”

Energyst provides worldwide coverage through a vast network of depots that collaborate with Caterpillar dealers for local know-how and expertise. Energyst has recently deployed 60 MW for a large energy company in Argentina and is scheduled to add another 50 MW shortly.

Energyst Cat Rental Power is a pan-European company formed by Caterpillar and ten of its Cat dealers to be the exclusive Cat dealer in Europe for rental power and temperature control solutions. Energyst provides coverage worldwide by collaborating with local Cat dealers.

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