2012-04-03 - Ongoing local support capabilities and ABB’s global marine knowledge is helping keep New Zealanders on the move, with the recent extension of Interislander’s Aratere ferry.
Extension of the Aratere
The new look Aratere in Wellington Harbour
The iconic New Zealand Interislander ferry, the Aratere, meaning "quick path" in Mâori, is one of the most modern, high-tech vessels operating in New Zealand waters. Not only does Aratere provide travellers with a "quick path-way" across Cook Strait, but also a comfortable, entertaining, safe and scenic cruise, through some of New Zealand's most impressive landscapes.
In April 2011, the Aratere, one of Interislander’s youngest and busiest ships, was sent up to the Sembawang shipyard in Singapore to undergo extensive maintenance, upgrades and a major internal refurbishment.
|The 150m long ship was cut in two, over a 12 day period, using circular saws for internal small pipe work and cables and gas torches to cut the outer ship, at the designed cut line. Around 6,500 pipes and electrical connections were cut and later on restored during the extension. A new mid section measuring 30 meters and weighing 1,500 tonnes was inserted, increasing passenger capacity from 360 to 600, allowing 28% more rail lane meters and 32% more commercial vehicles onboard.|
Aratere's new mid-section about to be inserted
Along with the extension, the Aratere was also fitted with a new bow and ‘duck tail’ stern. The new bow and stern will help reduce the ships wake by 25%, which is not only better for safety and the environment, but improves handling and performance and will allow for a smoother crossing in rough weather.
ABB’s global solution
There were over 800 people in the yard working around the clock on the extension, with over a million man-hours spent on the project. ABB had 10 people involved from the different locations internationally.
ABB provided product supply, systems upgrade and preventative maintenance through support from capabilities from the teams in Singapore, New Zealand and Italy. The project was lead by ABB’s marine specialists in Singapore for all the upgrade work. This included an MV switchboard, harmonic filters, a 1 mVA/3.3 kV transformer 3.3 kV Unigear, and seven cubicles. ABB’s specialist marine team in Italy provided an upgrade of the existing Integrated Automation System (IAS) to an 800xA DCS System. ABB’s Auckland Service Centre engineers were based in Singapore to carry out preventative maintenance on the main propulsion variable speed, water cooled, Sami Megastar drives. All of the commissioning work was supported by ABB’s Singapore, Italy and New Zealand teams.
Interislander’s, Peter Clarke, said, “Interislander chose the ABB’s option, firstly because the vessel has ABB’s products throughout, and secondly, we have an ongoing relationship with ABB’s New Zealand team in particular.”
Preventative maintenance on the Megastar drives included, servicing and a six year exchange of 36 rack mounted, 5 MW liquid cooled inverter modules. The team exchanged the pulse amplifiers, water cooling pipes and snubber capacitors, and the main cooling system. They drained the cooling system, and flushed and exchanged coolant. Ensuring this maintenance is carried out will maintain reliability and performance for the Aratere. It also reduces the risk of a breakdown, the likelihood of failure, an interruption to operation and ensures the safety of the ship, passengers and the public. It is also a good way of keeping the equipment up to current standards while minimising spares, and reduces maintenance time for ships staff and the demand for technical support.
The Megastar drives on the Aratere are the only two of their kind used in a marine application in Australasia. Liquid cooled drives, like the Megastar drives, are preferred in marine applications, as locations are generally confined to an enclosed space, where high power is combined with compact frame size. Having liquid cooled drives will keep produced heat to a minimum. The ships existing sea water cooling systems are used as a heat transfer source from the liquid cooled drives.
Peter Clarke commented, “Overall, the system is performing well with some minor modifications to be done in the near future to optimise operating flexibility.”
Inclusion of smaller generators on the Aratere will now allow the ferry to be more efficient, produce lower emissions, and have a better fuel economy during turn around, as only the smaller engines will be running during this time.
The Aratere in the dry docks at Sembawang shipyard in Singapore
ABB’s ongoing local support
ABB’s New Zealand drives servicing team are certified and will provide local ongoing support to the Aratere and the new systems that were put in place.