Every engine room machinery system needs systematic step-by-step starting and stopping procedures to ensure smooth running. The number of things to consider while handling ship’s machinery system, depends on aspects such as equipment type, making etc.
Starting a fuel oil purifier also involves several important steps and checks. Mentioned below are ten most important things that must be checked while starting fuel oil purifier on ships.
1. Check Oil Level in the Purifier Gear Case – Don’t forget to check the level of the oil in the purifier gear case before starting the purifier. If the oil is not up to the required level, insufficient lubrication will damage the the gears and other rotating parts (shaft, bearings etc.) in the purifier gear case.
2. Ensure Break is in Release Position – The purifier break, which is provided near the gear at the bottom of the purifier, must be in release position. If the break is not released, the purifier will not reach its required speed and the motor current will increase. Moreover, this will also cause wear down of brakes.
3. Open Inlet and Outlet Valves - Ensure that both inlet and outlet valves of the purifier are in open position. If the discharge valve is not open, the purifier will overflow resulting in oil in the sludge side. Similarly, if the suction valve is not open, the purifier will not get the necessary oil supply.
4. Open the Tank Valves - Check the valves of the specific tank (service or settling) where the discharge from the purifier is to be sent. If the tank valve is not open, the back pressure in the line will increase leading to overflowing of the purifier.
5. Check the Level of Operating Water - If there is a separate operating water tank provided, check the water level in the same. If the operating water is not sufficient, the purifier bowl will not lift, resulting in the sludge ports to remain in open position.
6. Check Feed Pump- Check that the purifier feed pump is running properly, along with oil pressure and temperature. Some purifiers are provided with attached gear pumps for supplying fuel to the purifier. In such cases, ensure that the oil temperature is enough to ensure smooth running of the gear pump attached (via shaft and key) . If the temperature is low, the oil viscosity will be high, which may lead to breaking of the key that connects the shaft and the gear pump, thus stopping the oil supply.
7. Ensure Heater Valves are Open - Ensure that the fuel oil valves to the steam heater are opened before opening the the steam line valve near the heater. If the steam is opened first, the tubes can get damaged, leading to ingress of water in the oil.
8. Increase the temperature – Increase temperature of the fuel oil to the limit provided in the digital control panel of the purifier. In all automated purifiers, the control panel is provided with a pre-set minimum temperature limit. The purifier will not start until the fuel oil reaches this temperature.
9. Check for any abnormal sound or vibration- If you know your machinery extremely well, you will be able to tell if there is any abnormal vibration or sound during starting. Shut the purifier immediately in such conditions and rectify the fault completely before starting it again.
How to check? – Take a screw driver, touch the metal end to the purifier body, and the second end to your ear. You will be able to hear the smooth running of the inside parts more clearly.
10. Check Solenoid Valves – Check all solenoid valves are operating properly by checking the lights on the solenoid valves. If the lights are not working properly, take a screw driver and bring it near to the top surface of the solenoid valves. When the solenoid starts working, the screw driver will be attracted to the valve body due to magnetic effect.
If solenoid valves are not working properly, the purifier will also stop operating. For e.g. if the operating water line solenoid valve is not working properly, the bowl will not lift, or if the high pressure water line solenoid is not working, then the purifier will not de-sludge.
These are some of the most important checks that are to be made while starting the fuel oil purifier. Do you know any other steps that must be considered? Let us know in the comments below.