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The Reciprocating Engine The Reciprocating Engine

Published on MHI Graph (April 2012 Issue)

INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY[ ENVIRONMENT ]

The Reciprocating Engine

The True Significance and Ongoing Evolution

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The driving force behind modern civilization continues to power through the ages

Modern civilization has evolved at a rapid pace since the beginning of the 20th century. A key factor behind this was the invention of the engine, a new device that powered vehicles and manufacturing machinery. Engines also form the core of generators that produce electricity. Even now, engines continue to evolve as the driving force in support of a comfortable society and manufacturing activities. In 1917, MHI became the first Japanese company to develop and build a diesel engine, and since then has steadfastly pioneered technologies for the reciprocating engine(note) . MHI offers a broad lineup, ranging from construction machinery and marine engines to engines for power generation. In recent years, the company has been involved in the general development of advanced gas turbines, rocket engines, and other types of internal combustion engines, even as it continues to look at the true significance and its decades-long quest to further refine the reciprocating engine.

  • A diesel, gasoline or other internal combustion engine that uses pistons to convert the combustion energy created by burning fuel into rotational energy. In contrast to other types of internal combustion engines, such as gas turbines and jet engines, which utilize continuous combustion, reciprocating engines are distinguished by periodic combustion -firing repeatedly at intervals.
  • Discription of photo:The UE diesel engine, whose development and manufacture by MHI began in 1955 (Photo Left: UEC Eco-Engine, geared for low fuel consumption. Photo Top Right: UE Engine, a highly reliable mechanical engine). MHI is one of the world's three major licensors of large marine diesel engines, and the only one to have its own factories. Combining excellent environmental performance, low fuel consumption and high reliability, these engines are widely used to power secure marine transportation. (Kobe Shipyard & Machinery Works, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan)

Engines Prove their Worth in Various Situations

Extending the scope of the engine's contribution to society

The reciprocating (piston) engine is now so widely used that it literally powers every aspect of modern society. For example, it is used in cars and cruise ships as a means for transportation; in machinery that supports construction and agriculture; in forklift trucks that handle cargo; in generators for factories and buildings; and in power generation systems, which supply the electricity necessary to support daily life in a designated area. MHI is one of the very few companies involved in the production of all these engines(note) . MHI's impressive product range and technological flexibility allow it to meet all client requests, whether they concern mass-produced small engines or the modular production of mid- and large-sized engines that still encompass detailed customer-tailored specifications.

  • MHI develops and builds the valves for car engines.
Photo:Small engines in a row on the forklift truck production line.
Small engines in a row on the forklift truck production line. The factory also manufactures about 20 other types of engines, including those used for construction machinery, small ships, and power generation. The same factory operates an integrated production system that handles everything from the processing of major components, like the crankshaft which transfers the engine's power, to the final assembly of the engine. (Sagamihara Machinery Works, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan)
Photo:A forklift truck fitted with the SS Series (S4S) engine.
The forklift truck in this photo (MHI's "GRENDiA") is fitted with the SS Series (S4S) engine, developed by MHI for industrial machinery. Designed with an emphasis on the torque and economy required from cargo-handling machines, these engines boast excellent reliability. As environmentally friendly EPA Tier 3-compliant engines, they support industries around the world. (Sagamihara Machinery Works, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan)
Photo:Kirin Brewery Co., Ltd. (Yokohama Plant)
Photo:Kirin Brewery Co., Ltd. (Yokohama Plant)
Photo:Kirin Brewery Co., Ltd. (Yokohama Plant)

Three gas engine cogeneration (Note) plants (18KU30GA [5,750kW]) were installed at the Kirin Brewery Co., Ltd. (Yokohama Plant). These engines are well suited for heavy-duty power generation with their high efficiency, high reliability, and low emission. The power they generate operates the production line, and the surplus power is sent out to the grid. Hot water and steam from the waste heat of the power generation process are used in such facilities for example as bottle washing. (Yokohama Plant, Kirin Brewery Co., Ltd., Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan)

  • Cogeneration: Systems that use the waste heat from the generation process to supply hot water, cold water, and steam while generating power. This efficient use of energy is also expected to reduce CO2 emissions.
Photo:UEC60LS II-Eco engine.
The enormous crankshaft for the UEC60LS II-Eco engine: its total length is approximately 9m, and it weighs about 80 tons. Anticipating even the unlikely event of engine failure at sea, MHI has always focused on designing and building simple structures that can be easily maintained onboard by the ship's crew. This large environmentally conscious marine diesel engine electronically controls the fuel injection quantity and delivers top-class fuel consumption and substantial reductions in Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) emissions. (Kobe Shipyard & Machinery Works, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan)
Photo:Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha's car carrier, "Antares Leader".
Large marine diesel engines are used mainly in container ships and tankers. They are the backbone of marine transportation. (Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha's car carrier, "Antares Leader")
Photo:Illustration of engine size comparison.

Ideal Engines Created by Ever-Inquisitive Minds in Excellent R&D Environment

Engines created by ever-inquisitive minds in a sound development arrangement

MHI has the ideal environment for supporting engine quality. Since its R&D centers are located within the individual works, the production facilities can promptly submit feedback. With its own verification test facilities at the works as well, it is possible to perform trial and error from a user perspective, revealing issues that would be undetectable in purely theoretical simulations. All these play important roles in bringing engines ever closer to perfection. In addition, MHI works in cooperation with R&D centers that store all its information and product technology. MHI's engine development also benefits tremendously from surroundings that foster the sharing of the most recent component and engine technologies related to a variety of engines. This provides a huge advantage in the development of groundbreaking engines.

Photo:R&D center.
At the same center, an engineer measures engine output, fuel efficiency, and the amount of NOX, CO2, and other gas emissions and soot in diesel engine exhaust. Emissions regulations are becoming increasingly strict. In order for an engine to pass EPA Tier 4 regulations, its emissions must be cleaner than city air. (Sagamihara Machinery Works, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan)
Photo:R&D center.
The engine testing center conducts a wide variety of daily tests, ranging from development tests to post-production tests. MHI owes its outstanding environmental performance to the fact that it is one of the few makers that develops and manufactures not only engines, but also its own turbochargers, fuel injection systems, and other parts related to compliance with environmental regulations. The results of these tests are immediately sent to laboratories and related departments, effectively promoting cross-departmental information sharing. (Sagamihara Machinery Works, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan)
Photo:MHI's production base in Alsace, northeastern France.
MHI's production base in Alsace, northeastern France. Engines manufactured here use the same production line and quality control system used in one of Japan's factories (Sagamihara Machinery Works). MHI also has production bases in India and Vietnam, allowing it to reduce costs through local procurement, minimize currency risk, and speedily react to local requirements. Technological data obtained from these bases is sent back to the Sagamihara Machinery Works development center in Japan, where it is streamed into the development of the next generation of products. (France, MHI Equipment Alsace (MEA))
Photo:KU30GSI demonstration test plant.
The KU30GSI demonstration test plant installed at the Yokohama Dockyard & Machinery Works is one of the few test facilities in the world that can perform tests while generating a maximum 5,750kW of electricity. MHI performs various kinds of special tests in order to fulfill diverse customer needs, developing the next generation of engines. (Yokohama Dockyard & Machinery Works, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan)
Photo:Advancing the "ProjectMEET,”
Advancing the "ProjectMEET,” in which efficiency improvements for large marine engines are considered. Development conducted here is not limited by product boundaries. (MHI Yokohama Building, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan)
Photo:Crankshaft's strength being analyzed on a 3D CAD system.
Designs are created efficiently in a short period by making full use of simulation technology for strength analysis, flow analysis, and performance prediction. The photo shows the crankshaft's strength being analyzed on a 3D CAD system. (Yokohama Dockyard & Machinery Works, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan)

20 Million Horsepower Engine Power Generation Around the Globe

Photo:A power generation plant in Senegal (on the outskirts of Dakar) in West Africa.
A power generation plant in Senegal (on the outskirts of Dakar) in West Africa. The electricity produced by its nine 18KU30B units, which were manufactured at Yokohama Dockyard & Machinery Works, is relayed to the power grid, supporting the daily lives of people all over the country. The electricity produced is equivalent to the demand used by about 250,000 households in Senegal. The power plant is managed by MHI Equipment Europe, and MHI supports the power plant's reliable operation and maintenance by periodically dispatching engineers from Europe and Japan. (Kounoune power station (Republic of Senegal))

MHI Engines in Action All Over the World

MHI is a leading Japanese engine maker, producing a worldwide total of 650,000 engines of about 60 different types (with a combined output of some 20 million horsepower) per year. Its engines are designed for heavy oil, diesel fuel, gas, and gasoline, and one of the company's distinguishing features is its ability to provide clients with construction proposals for a wide range of engine-centric systems, including power cogeneration systems and ship propulsion systems. In order to ensure a rapid response to local needs, improve engineering support, and reduce procurement and freight costs, MHI continues to expand its production, sales and customer service bases in North and South America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, as well as licensing local manufacturers in foreign countries. MHI is flexible enough to tailor its business models to suit different local conditions, while still striving for quick and competitive delivery of products of the same high quality as those manufactured at its own Japanese plants to the global market.

Faster and broader response to stricter environmental regulations

Photo:UEC Eco-Engine.

Armed with its long history of manufacturing engines, MHI was one of the first to tackle the problem of improving the engine's environmental performance. Increased fuel efficiency needs and the progressive tightening of regulations concerning exhaust gas and CO2, NOX, and particulate matter (PM) have created rising demand for engines that can meet these new challenges. As specialists in environmental technologies, MHI has therefore developed and manufactured the UEC Eco-Engine. This engine complies with the IMO's NOX regulations (Note1) and realizes the world's highest level of fuel efficiency. As exhaust gas regulations grow stricter, resulting in more injection systems becoming electronic, MHI has adopted mechanical injection systems for the SR series and other EPA Marine Tier 3-compliant engines (Note2), in response to market demand. These mechanical systems are easily dealt with onsite, and also clear stricter emission regulations. The world's strictest emission regulations for industrial machinery engines, EPA Tier 4 (Note2), were just recently implemented. MHI has already developed an engine (D04EG) designed to comply with these regulations, and is now accepting orders and manufacturing these engines. MHI plans to accelerate its development of more advanced environment-conscious engines in the future.

  • 1Graded emission regulations adopted by IMOs (International Maritime Organizations). Because ships fitted with diesel engines must comply with these regulations while sailing international waters, they have been made global standards for use on ships. In particular, the phasing in of NOX emission regulations began in 2000, and are presently at the Tier 2 stage. Tier 3 is scheduled to go into effect beginning in 2016. Under Tier 3, the regulation values allowed under Tier 1 (2000 to 2010) will be reduced by 80%.
  • 2Exhaust emission standards by the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Construction machinery, agricultural machinery, industrial machinery and ships fitted with diesel engines must meet the emission standards legislated by each country and area. In North America, EPA regulates exhaust gas emissions. At present, EPA is transitioning to Tier 4 regulations. Under Tier 4 scheduled to become effective in 2014, NOX emission standards will be as stringent as one-tenth of the current standard.

MHI has the technological creativity to meet ever-higher engine requirements

Power shortages are a serious problem for many developing countries. Demand for dispersed power generation systems that can provide a steady power supply is increasing in countries where various geographical or financial factors make it difficult to build large-scale power stations. MHI's supply of power generation systems fitted with engines is growing steadily in these countries due to their outstanding efficiency and reliability. Like companies in developing countries, following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, companies in Japan also came to appreciate the value of engine-driven power generation systems that can provide a stable power supply. Faced with urgent installation requests, MHI has pulled out all the stops to shorten the delivery period by standardizing engines. For example, it has managed to reduce the delivery period for a 5,000kW-class power generation plant from about 1 year to 5 months. It is also advancing the development of 1,500kW-class products whose on-site installation can be completed in a much shorter time frame. It is hoped that this sort of speedy responsiveness will be put to good use in future regeneration support projects.
Countries with shale gas resources, such as the U.S., are now showing a keen interest in dispersed generators that use cheap and plentiful gas. The emergence of this new energy resource is expected to further increase opportunities for engines.
Faced with such diversification of demand, MHI possesses the infrastructure to provide optimized solutions thanks to its product range, technological capabilities, and intra-group synergies. Almost a century has passed since it developed its first engine. MHI now intends to pursue more engine possibilities as the driving force of society, using its extensive experience to improve engine reliability and by intensifying its spirit of innovation in technologies.

Photo:Tokyo Midtown.
Tokyo Midtown began operations in 2007. It includes a multipurpose facility that houses a hotel and museum, as well as more than 130 commercial establishments, offices, residences, a hospital, and a park. Two GS16R [900kW] gas cogeneration systems that were manufactured at Sagamihara Machinery Works operate here. In addition to the gas cogeneration systems in the basement, Tokyo Midtown has other heating facilities supplying electricity and heat to each building on the property. (Tokyo Midtown Management Co., Ltd., Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan)

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