Changing of the guards
A valued member of Florida Marine’s fleet, Lil D is a 116-foot long, 29-foot wide vessel from the 1960s, which was later rebuilt in 1999 by Main Iron Works in Houma, Louisiana. In terms of engine power, Lil D is an mtu landmark. Prerepower, the twin-screw towboat was powered by the very first two mtu Series 4000 engines in operation. Needless to say, the engines had earned their retirement after clocking in 80,000 hard hours of towing on the Deep South’s inland rivers.
The trailblazing mtu tradition continued with Lil D’s repower. The engines chosen—mtu 8V 4000 M54 marine propulsion engines—happened to be the first two series 4000 Ironmen Tier 3 engines available in the United States.
“Lil D’s new engines are the only 8-cylinder engines producing this level of horsepower. The larger 4.77-liter per cylinder propulsion allows for longer operating hours and time between overhauls,” said Ryan Szubinski, mtu commercial marine sales manager. “In addition, mtu’s cutting-edge Operating Condition Based Maintenance Concept allows us to accurately predict engine wear based on the actual operating conditions. By doing this, we are confident that we can push time between overhaul for the Lil D even further than our standard load profile guidelines, creating even more cost savings.”
In addition to achieving great strides in reliability, Lil D’s new engine is equipped with BlueVision New Generation, mtu’s latest control and monitoring system. The system features standard color displays, integrated start-stop control and standard shipyard interface.
“A perk of keeping close tabs on your vessel’s engine system is increased fuel consumption monitoring, and as a result, fuel efficiency,” said Szubinski. “When you have the technology to track the hours of the fuel burn exactly, you can make the adjustments necessary for optimization.”
The mtu BlueVision New Generation system features alarms, specialty watches and monitors, temperature pressure alarms and conducts nearby monitoring.
“The complete monitoring package that’s included with the engine makes the captain and crew’s job a lot easier,” said Lange. “Of course, the fact that Lil D was powered by the first pair of Series 4000 engines in the U.S. and now by the first pair of Tier 3-certified Series 4000 engines is very unique. We think Lil D is a trendsetter.”