Italian company Navigazione Laghi transports almost 10 million passengers and around 700,000 vehicles a year, including numerous tourists and commuters, on northern Italy's three big lakes: Lake Garda, Lake Maggiore and Lake Como. The company has an impressive total of 100 MTU engines in service on its 88 vessels, including some spare units. Engine and vessel uptime is extremely important to the ferry operator, which is why it recently equipped the first hydrofoils in its fleet with MTU data loggers. Now vessel positions and engine operating data can be monitored on mobile cell phones running the MTU Go! Act app, and on laptops with the MTU Go! Manage software, making it possible to respond even more quickly to any alarms that might occur.
Peschiera, Garda and Sirmione – place names reminiscent of carefree holidays, and southern Europe. They are all located beside Lake Garda which, with its mild Mediterranean climate, is a popular holiday destination right into the Fall. One of the means of transport on the lake very popular among tourists are the hydrofoils operated by Navigazione Laghi. At 8:25 in the morning, the first tourists board the hydrofoil Galileo Galilei at the landing stage in Peschiera. After casting off, the vessel's Series 2000 engines are powered up to 2,250 revolutions per minute, and a surge of torque lifts the vessel clear of the water as it moves over the waves.
The operating company Navigazione Laghi is now putting its trust in MTU's digital credentials, using the Go! platform developed by MTU's in-house Digital Solutions unit. “There are two aspects that make MTU Go! Manage an extremely attractive proposition for us: we obtain data on consumption and engine condition, and can analyze it for purposes of preventive maintenance and problem solving,” explains Navigazione Laghi's General Manager, Alessandro Acquafredda.
No more logbooks
Engine data is sent from the data logger to the platform, where it is processed by MTU analysts. They can then be used both by the customer and by MTU experts. For Navigazione Laghi, this means that when the hydrofoil gets under way, the company's General Manager on Lake Garda, Franze Piunti, can immediately see if there are any error messages on his mobile phone using the Go! Act app. “The use of Go! products is a win-win situation for us. We and customers are better informed on the state of usage of their MTU engines. The service app also reduces engine damage and provides faster solutions,” says Stefano Gibelli, Technical Director at MTU Italia.
“In the past, fault messages were entered into the logbook by the skipper, and that's where they stayed. Now we can respond even to a small message and thus avoid major damage or even engine failure,” says Paolo Mazzucchelli, Technical Director at Navigazione Laghi. “We wanted the data link to give us better control over what happens to the boat.” This is understandable when you consider, for example, that an injector takes three hours to replace, and that replacing an entire engine can be a twoweek job. To optimize diagnostics, the platform also contains maintenance schedules and the engine's technical documentation.
The hydrofoil carries up to 160 passengers per day on each of its four routes. The first journey of the day takes us parallel to the western edge of the lake and terminates – a good two hours and ten stops later – in Limone, an area known for its oranges and citrus fruits. But after a mere five-minute break the ship is off again on the next leg of its journey to Riva del Garda in the far north of the lake. The lake here is edged with 2,000-metre-high mountains. The southern shore of this, the largest Italian lake, forms the gateway to the south due to its location in the lowlands of northern Italy. The tight schedule means quite a workload for the two Series 2000 V12 engines which each supply the hydrofoil with anywhere up to 1,080 kilowatts of power. A full ten engine-hours later, the ferry's daily workload draws to a close as its last passengers disembark at the landing stage in Peschiera at 6:55 p.m. and bid farewell to vessel and crew.
Connecting vessels across the world
MTU has tailored the presentation of the data specifically to the user's application: Operators of generating sets, for example, can see how much electricity a plant is currently producing. MTU's digital services are used not just by ship operators, but also by rail and power generation customers. “We train our customers how to evaluate the information they see in Go! Act and Go! Manage to best effect, and how to use the apps,” adds Hubert Maier from the Digital Solutions unit. New Go! product users are added every week, as over 600 data loggers are installed by the end of the year.
Repowering – complete with data links
Navigazione Laghi is also planning digital link-ups for more of its vessels: the repowering of all eight hydrofoils is being put out to tender. “Our hydrofoils have had MTU engines for decades now, including the Series 331 and 396,” says Director General Alessandro Acquafredda, pointing to the long-standing relationship with MTU. 88 of the company's 98 vessels ply the lakes powered by MTU engines – hydrofoils, passenger ferries and car ferries. “By repowering five hydrofoils on the northern Italian lakes with two engines each, we have opted for cleaner, more fuel-efficient and more powerful MTU engines.” After all, fewer nitrous oxide emissions and lower fuel consumption not only pay off for the ferry operator, but also convey a prominent message to passengers and local residents. The MTU Series 2000 is IMO-II certified and does not require SCR technology to meet the emission limits which apply today. Also, the new engines offer much-improved response characteristics and have more torque than their predecessors. This makes it easier to lift the vessel into hydrofoil mode, and not only makes the skipper's work easier but also gives tourists the incomparable feeling of gliding over Lake Garda until late October.
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