cat fines

Union Marine Management Services Pvt Ltd is at the moment managing more than one million DWT tonnage, has 17 modern bulk carriers and three Car Carriers under their management, with at least four more ships expected to join soon.

To help them reduce the risk of engine failure they have decided to monitor the level of cat fines in the HFO by using Chris-Marine’s Fuel Analyzer.

Catalytic fines are used in fuel oil refineries relying on catalytic cracking. As the Heavy fuel oil (HFO) will not evaporate during the refinery process, some cat fines will remain in the fuel. Cat fines entering the engine get embedded into soft metal such as cast iron. The particles act as grinding paste, generating abrasive wear.

A high particle concentration will quickly generate failures. Therefore, the cat fine content should be kept below 15ppm at engine inlet. However, up to 80ppm is allowed in HFO, so proper fuel treatment is essential.

With the Fuel Analyzer from Chris-Marine it is possible to measure the level of cat fines in heavy fuel oil systems. Furthermore, the Fuel Analyzer:

  • Protects the engine against excessive wear by giving alarm at high engine-in cat fine level allowing for emergency action.
  • Identifies problem areas in the fuel system, such as settling process, centrifugal purifiers or automatic fuel filters.
  • A tool for improving the purification efficiency of the fuel treatment plant resulting in less engine wear and tear.

Vinay Gupta, Managing Director at UMMS explains the reason for UMMS’ purchase:
"Sometimes, we bunker oil with up to 60ppm cat fines. We have realised that even if this is within the fuel specification, engines cannot withstand such high levels. If the HFO is not cleaned from cat fines, fuel pumps, cylinder liners and piston crowns will wear very quickly.

"The FAR allows us to continuously monitor the operation of settling tanks, centrifugal purifiers, fuel filters and storage tanks. This allows us to lower the amount of cat fines that reaches the engines, thereby reducing wear and tear. This means that we avoid engine failures and are able to save money on engine maintenance."

Mikael Laszlo, project manager at Chris-Marine who made the agreement with UMMS elaborates:
"We offer our customers not only a measurement device capable of detecting cat fines, but also a guideline for safe fuel purification.

"Our graphical user interface is viewed on the touch screen of the FAR cabinet as well as on any computer connected to the FAR – ashore as well as onboard. When the vessel has an internet connection, it is possible to remotely get current status on the purification plant or download historical data, for example from the superintendent’s office. It is also easy to connect the FAR to onboard alarm systems."

Vinay Gupta concludes:
"Chris-Marine customised our FAR installation to fit the fuel treatment system onboard Jo-Jin Maru.
The purification efficiency of the purifiers is visible directly on the screen and the same information is available for the fuel filters and the settling tank.

"We can monitor the efficiency over time for each purification step and maintain equipment based on the readings and are now implementing operational procedures for lowering the cat fine level reaching the engines. We expect that the FAR from Chris-Marine will help us to save a lot of money on engine wear parts and maintenance"