Wärtsilä 32 Marine Diesel Engine – ‘Jewel in the Crown’ Says CEO

By George Backwell at January 07, 2012 22:24
Filed Under: Company News, General

‘Jewel in the crown’ is how Wärtsilä Corporation CEO Björn Rosengren described his company’s Wärtsilä 32 medium speed marine diesel engine in the course of a recent wide-ranging interview for Maritime Reporter. He made this remark in the context that Wärtsilä is currently building up a new joint-venture factory in Nantong for assembly of the Wärtsilä 32 and Wärtsilä 26 engines for the Chinese market.  That he should accord pride of place to the 320-mm cylinder bore four-stroke engine amongst Wärtsilä’s treasury of propulsion power assets is not surprising, bearing in mind the vital part this engine has played in Wärtsilä's international success story, as will be seen.

'Jewel in the Crown' – Wärtsilä 32 Marine Diesel Engine: Photo credit: Wärtsilä Corporation

Development of the Wärtsilä 32 Engine

About 40 years ago Wärtsilä Diesel decided to develop a medium-speed diesel engine designed to run on low-price heavy fuel-oil and in 1978 the first production model of the Vasa 32 engine was installed. This engine pioneered the development of the berth-to-berth four-stroke heavy oil fuel engine and its success positioned Wärtsilä as a major international engine manufacturer.

Underwriting the Vasa 32 design were innovations which have since become standard features of medium speed engines; foundations that underpinned an upgrade in 1997 with a longer 400 mm piston stroke, which with other new design features added up to a higher output (460kW/cylinder at 750rev/min on a mean effective pressure of 22.9bar) to give a power range up to 8280 kW in various in-line and V-type configurations.

Latest Generation Wärtsilä 32

Towards the end of 2010 a further upgraded version of the Wärtsilä 32-type engine was launched with an increased power output of 580 kW per cylinder at 750 RPM (50 Hz version) which gave a 15 percent increase in power output over the earlier 32 engine, yet with the same external dimensions; upping the maximum power range to 9300 kW.

Wärtsilä say that this latest generation 32-type engine is suited for vessels operating in ECA’s as it can also operate on low sulphur fuels (<0.1% S) and in addition the engine  becomes IMO Tier lll compliant immediately if equipped with a SCR catalyst such as the Wärtsilä nitrogen oxide reducer (which can reduce NOx emissions by as much as 95 percent) although the standard version fulfils Tier ll regulations.

The Wärtsilä 32 has turned out to be the most versatile of engines (many in shore-based plant) as a main or an auxiliary engine to power tankers, container vessels, and offshore support and drilling vessels; Wärtsilä  claim it to be the most favoured engine of its size for diesel-electric powered cruise and ferry ships. At the time of its last upgrade the manufacturers stated that more than 4000 units had been sold to the marine industry alone; reason enough for the Wärtsilä CEO’s accolade.


Wärtsilä 32 Engines – Passenger Ferry Finnmarken: Photo credit: Lukas Riebling







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