Kevin Tester, Friday, 24 October 2014 – Ecoships says it has upped the efficiency of the vessels it runs by up to 15% by applying a version of Six Sigma process improvement philosophy customised for maritime needs.
The fully-owned subsidiary of Newport Shipping employed the Six Sigma DMAIC approach to evaluate the performance and optimise the energy-efficiency of the vessels under its management. Greater fuel efficiency also results in substantial reductions in CO2, NOx and SOx emissions.
Says General Manager Capt. Aykut Yilmaz: “For us, ‘eco’ refers to both ecology and economy, so being ‘eco-smart’ really pays off. We provide shipowners with the most economical solution for optimising their operations.”
One of the first vessels to benefit from Ecoships’ eco-smart approach is the 25,000dwt bulk carrier Bulk Rose. The vessel, delivered from Turkey’s Cicek Shipyard in 2011 and taken under Ecoships management in January 2014, was initially consuming 840g/dwt of fuel per day. It now consumes 750g/dwt/day.
Ecoships used the DMAIC technique to identify the best technical and operational energy-efficiency solutions available, such as trim optimisation and weather routing software, along de-rating engines and retrofitting hardware such as rudder fins, shaft generators and waste heat recovery systems.
“Bulk Rose was fitted with a shaft generator and we had access to most of the signals and measurements. But we identified that a minimum 10% reduction in fuel consumption could be achieved by operational optimisation,” explains Yilmaz.
“After analysing the data, we decided to retrofit a shaft power torque meter and monitoring solution for better analysis of the data along with optimal voyage planning and weather routing systems. We then fed all of this data into our software for real-time analysis of fuel consumption. The result was that we were able to improve energy efficiency by 11%,” confirms Yilmaz.
Six Sigma DMAIC, a set of techniques used to Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve and Control operational performance and processes, was first developed by Motorola in 1986 and has now become central to a wide number of companies’ business strategies.