Machinery maintenance: 5 things you need to know

Machinery maintenance: 5 things you need to know

Nov. 8 2022 - 4 min


Maintaining onboard machinery is an important part of any ship owner’s or operator’s work. Modern vessels are equipped with increasingly complex machinery, and maintenance solutions must be adapted accordingly. Pooling our expert knowledge, we answer five key questions to understand all there is to know about machinery maintenance.

1. What are today’s challenges in terms of machinery maintenance?

New ships feature an increasingly large amount of machinery equipment on board. In fact, some modern ships may have over 300 pieces of machinery equipment and components. This means that the maintenance plans shipowners must prepare are very complex indeed.

All maintenance systems and operations must comply with rules set by the classification society. This is required by the International Safety Management (ISM) Code. This set of regulations requires ship owners to have a system in place that defines how and when equipment and systems will undergo survey.

2. How are surveys being optimized?

The International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) recognizes three different survey systems. Firstly, the traditional Normal Survey System means all machinery is surveyed once every five years as part of the vessel’s renewal survey.

Today however, a large percentage of the world’s fleets rely on optimized programs such as Continuous Survey Machinery (CSM) or Planned Maintenance System (PMS). CSM sees all machinery items inspected at least once in a five-year class certificate validity cycle. The survey is carried out by the chief engineer before the classification surveyor performs a confirmatory survey. PMS, on the other hand, means each machinery item has a personalized maintenance system and the intervals between surveys may be based on criteria other than time elapsed.

Condition Based Maintenance and Predictive Maintenance also enable optimized maintenance based on the equipment’s condition monitoring and by using algorithms, respectively.

3. What is Bureau Veritas’ new Machinery Maintenance tool?

Bureau Veritas has recently launched a new tool, Machinery Maintenance. The platform connects ship operators’ maintenance system with the Bureau Veritas system. By digitalizing processes, PMS programs can be implemented with online guided booking. The tool gives ship managers and surveyors a comprehensive overview of onboard maintenance needs to optimize survey preparations and assess machinery maintenance conditions. The platform is also being developed to support Condition Based Maintenance.

4. Does digitalizing machinery maintenance mean more remote surveys?

Even before the outbreak of COVID-19, the shipping industry had begun to incorporate advanced technologies and automate processes. This digitalization was accelerated in 2020 with ship owners relying on remote surveys for machinery maintenance.

Remote surveys present multiple advantages for ship owners: flexibility and convenience, mitigated risk for surveyors, and a reduced environmental footprint. Challenges, however, remain, such as technological limitations and the length of time needed to prepare for a remote survey.

In any case, remote surveys are just one way that a survey may be carried out, should circumstances call for it. The new tool does not mean that all confirmatory surveys will be performed remotely.

5. In what other ways is Bureau Veritas supporting ship owners and operators’ machinery maintenance efforts?

Leveraging its extensive experience and digital expertise, Bureau Veritas is committed to working with clients to best meet their machinery maintenance needs. Our team of experts provides support and advice to select the most suitable machinery maintenance system, whether normal, planned or predictive. With our new cost-efficient, time-saving digital tool, our clients can optimize onboard maintenance planning. As digitalization plays an increasingly key role in the shipping industry, Bureau Veritas is at the forefront of innovative solutions.