Two central compressor systems
Atlas Copco’s successful response to Cammell Laird’s compressed air equipment tender saw the installation of two central compressor systems. For general service and scientific air applications, two MAS+ 55VSD water-cooled rotary screw compressors and accompanying FD 285 refrigerant dryers, together with filtration, air receivers and electronic drains, were installed. At the same time, the requirement for high quality, clean, dry, 7-8 bar instrument air and a supply of scientific air was met by a MAS15VSD air-cooled unit with ancillaries comprising an FD60 refrigerant dryer, 250-litre receiver, filtration and drain units.
Energy-efficient, low-noise operation
The energy cost-saving benefits of VSD technology in compressor design are already well known. However, the MAS+ 55 VSD compressors, as selected for the RSS Sir David Attenborough, go even further, offering on average 20% lower Specific Energy Requirement (SER) and average 50% less energy consumption compared to a regular MAS VSD model. On top of energy savings, there is a Free Air Delivery (FAD) increase of up to 12%.
A further contribution to energy-efficiency is derived from the MAS compressors’ controller. The Elektronikon® unit controls the compressor with feedback from the integrated converter to ensure maximum efficiency and complete protection of the compressor system. The controller features voltage-free contacts for alarms and read-out, and remote control is a standard feature. Furthermore, all pressure and temperature measurements can be monitored via the MAS units’ Elektronikon®, controller graphic display.
Low-noise operation too was an important factor for Cammell Laird. The MAS compressors onboard the RRS Sir David Attenborough are enclosed in a canopy, bringing their noise levels down by 14dB(A) to 69dB(A) − an additional boon for the research vessel, which was designed and built as a low-noise vessel in accordance with DNV codes ‘R’ and ‘S’.
Compact dimensions and accessibility
The dimensions of the compressor units were also a critical feature in favour of installing Atlas Copco marine compressors. With engine room space always at a premium, marine users’ best option is to match the required performance to equipment offering the smallest footprint. The MAS compressors’ compact dimensions and unique vertical configuration offered the smallest footprint on the market not only for economical space usage but, during initial installation, allowed easy access through standard ship-sized doors.
For the same reason, air connections and ancillaries such as condensate drains are located at one side of each unit to allow maximum proximity to bulkheads and to provide ready access for routine maintenance procedures.
With stability at sea an equally important consideration, the MAS compressors’ component configuration has been designed to provide a low centre of gravity that minimises equipment stress even in severe running conditions.
Safety and regulatory compliance
The onboard compressors and air receivers are subject to inspection and certification by Lloyd’s Register of Shipping. The Atlas Copco compressor concept complies fully with the Lloyd’s Register Rules and Regulations of operating conditions for main and auxiliary machinery − essential to the propulsion and safety of the ship.
The compressor equipment’s construction also complies with the Green Passport regulations and guidelines which identify the hazardous materials onboard a ship, including quantities and locations. It is an essential part of the IMO’s task of promoting the safety of workers on ships and while reducing the environmental pollution generated by seagoing vessels.
Worldwide marine service support
Service support for the installation is provided in a seamless transition from inception and commissioning to full-time operational duties across the world. Atlas Copco's global presence means that consultation, engineering and design can be carried out in the UK while servicing, spare parts supply, training and technical support can be supplied locally wherever it is required.
Commenting on the Cammell Laird project, Raymond Smith, Business Development Manager at Atlas Copco said: