Monday, September 28, 2009

Cruise on a Great Lakes freighter Episode 4

This post could be subtitled “Visit to Engine Room”. Deep down in the cavernous aft section sits a hungry monster that growls and snarls 24 hours a day. It’s called an engine. A diesel engine. A Caterpillar 3608 4-stroke cycle in-line 8 cylinder 3,084 b.h.p. diesel engine to be even more precise.

When visiting the engine room, you are immediately overwhelmed by 3 environmental issues: heat, noise and cleanliness. Hearing protection is mandatory. If you want to strip to fight the heat, that’s fine, you can do so, but it is not required. And it’s clean. Spic and span everywhere. Kind of like the interior of my car (not!). After entering, you must first stop by the engineer’s station, which sits in the corner of the engine room. Here, several computer monitors show various control parameters.

The one on the left in this picture shows the state of ballast tanks. These tanks, depending of the load of the ship, either contain water or are empty. During loading, water is pumped out of the various tanks. If we are loading the front, then the front ballast tanks are first emptied. If we are loading the back then those tanks are emptied. Ditto for the middle section. Not doing this in the proper sequence could put undue stresses on the hull of the ship, possible leading to cracks. In this case, Travis was monitoring the unloading of the tanks.


This is Travis fine tuning the engine.


Another shot of Travis performing his magic.


Originally, the ship had a steam engine. This was replaced in the early part of this century with a diesel engine, which is a lot, lot smaller (but more powerful) than the original steam engine.


Engine from up top. Note the exhaust pipe.


Exhaust pipe. I wonder if this same pipe would fit a green 1995 Ford Aspire (with rear spoiler)?


From up top. You can clearly see the size of the engine room.


Drive shaft. Approximate diameter 16”. That’s 400 mm in the real world. It is hollow though, to allow for control systems to pass through to the screw to change their pitch.


Of course a well stocked work room is required as sometimes, as unbelievable as this may sound, things break.


In addition to the engine room, there is a boiler room, its sole purpose being the generate heat for the ship and its systems.


Then there is the generator room, which is even warmer and noisier than the engine room.        generatorroom

All in all, you cannot leave the engine room without being thoroughly impressed by the sheer power and finesse of all this equipment. Raw power converted to useful energy by skilled hands. If that’s not art, then I guess I am missing something.

To be continued… (1 more time)


Ronny said...

Hey ome kees,

Hoeveel liter inhoud is deze 8 cilinder?? Moet weel een litertje of 85 zijn denk ik wat ie er doorheen jaagt in 1 volledige arbeidsslag..

Leuke foto's en leuke trip die jullie gemaakt hebben.

Groetjes Ronny

Keith Hekker said...

Hey Ronny,

As near as I can figure out from the Caterpillar documentation, the displacement is 148 liters, consuming 515 liters of diesel per hour.

How's the house coming?