Norden Marine Bearings in Os, Norway, produces solutions that make the oceans cleaner and ships more reliable.
Lubricating propeller shafts with seawater instead of oil is hugely beneficial to the environment.
– It has been estimated that about six litres of oil per ship per day trickle out from propeller shafts into the ocean, says Ove Kvittingen, Managing Director of Norden Marine Bearings.
The estimations of the amount of oil leakage come from a 2010 report carried out by Det Norske Veritas (DNV-GL) and demonstrate how great a potential the solutions from the Os-based company have for the environment. Huge quantities of oil spill straight into the ocean each year as a result of oil-lubricated propeller bearings.
Read the report here
This oil spillage can easily be avoided.
– We replace oil-lubricated propeller bearings with water-lubricated ones. Water lubrication is definitely the way forward. We have developed and designed robust systems with a long lifespan for ships, says Kvittingen.
Production in Os
In the basement of the production hall in Industrivegen in Os, the test machine has been in continuous use for the last two years.
– You can see the cleaning and water filters here. They remove impurities from the seawater, and the purified water is used for both lubrication and cooling in the propeller bearings, says Kvittingen, while he points and explains.
Read more: Norden Marine Bearings
The small testing hall connected to the production facilities ensures that the company receives all type approvals and certificates that are necessary in order to be able to install the water-lubricated propeller bearings on new ships.
– Can you offer a complete system today?
– Yes. We can offer a complete system for water-lubricated propeller bearings, water filtration and monitoring systems that can be tailor-made for all types of vessels, says Kvittingen and continues:
– As system designers, we identify the operating profile the bearings need to have in order to do the job in a reliable manner on different types of vessels.
Monitoring the propeller bearings
Norden Marine Bearings has also designed a monitoring system that makes necessary maintenance of the propeller bearings easier to predict.
– The sensors we install measure when wear and tear has reached a point where action is needed. Condition monitoring allows for maintenance planning, and in this way unpredicted repairs and cost can be avoided.
– Are there many advantages of using the system you have developed?
– Definitely. There is no risk of oil spills since only purified seawater is in use. Furthermore, the monitoring system keeps track of the condition of the bearings, which in turn means operational reliability for the shipping companies.
Major environmental benefit
Water-lubricated bearings are already in use on small workboats, naval vessels and large cruise ships. Norden Marine Bearings now sees considerable market potential in the merchant fleet.
– The merchant fleet has a lot to gain by changing from oil-lubricated to water-lubricated bearings, says Kvittingen, and adds:
– There is not only a major environmental benefit, but it is also becoming increasingly expensive to be a polluter at sea. Many countries strictly enforce emission regulations in their waters. This means large daily fines and the risk of having to go to into port and unloading the ship before it is possible to carry out a repair. This can cost a lot of money.
The initial Norden Marine Bearings was established in 1997 and has developed from being a pure trading house for synthetic bearings produced by others, to taking control of the entire value chain including production, system design and sales.
– We had a peak after the establishment of our own production premises in 2011. At that time the oil and offshore industry was an important customer. After the oil crisis in 2014, the products were adapted to the shipping industry, explains Kvittingen, highlighting the long-term owners as a strength:
– We have owners with long experience in the maritime industry who are fully committed to development and innovation. Today, we export 100 percent of our production, with Asia as our largest market.
– Even though most of the ships we have equipped are built abroad, we are in dialogue with many equipment suppliers and shipyards at home. We focus on all sectors and markets that need our green solutions, concludes Kvittingen.