Dredging expert secures consistent operation with regular Performance Audits for entire fleet

Jan De Nul Group has a long history of leadership in dredging and marine construction activities. Today, Performance Audits from Alfa Laval play a key role in safeguarding the availability of the company’s fleet.

ΗΜΕΡΟΜΗΝΙΑ 2023-11-28


With no less than 72 ships, Jan De Nul Group has many reasons to stay ahead of equipment problems on board. So when crankshaft damage was sustained by the Alexander von Humboldt, one of the company’s trailing suction hopper dredgers, there was every reason to take it seriously. The damage was due mainly to the poor condition of the lube oil system, where separators running at the wrong flow rates and temperatures were a contributing factor.

That incident in 2009 led to a strategic decision. All ships in the fleet would have a Performance Audit done every 2.5 years – plus annual crew training – as part of their regular maintenance programmes.

Regular check-ups overcome human error

“Status has to be checked regularly to achieve optimal condition of the equipment. When the Performance Audit is done, there are always things to correct and improve, such as lube oil separator settings or PHEs not tightened correctly.”

During a Performance Audit, Alfa Laval’s certified engineers inspect the installed Alfa Laval equipment to optimize performance and reduce operating costs wherever possible. One important focus is correct settings and usage because, often, a simple change of handling procedure will significantly improve the equipment’s effectiveness.

Typically, Performance Audit reviews cover the high-speed separators, gasketed plate heat exchangers and freshwater genera- tors. After each review, Alfa Laval sends
a detailed report of the findings and recommendations. This gives the knowledge and practical steps needed to ensure each vessel operates as planned with optimum performance from the equipment throughout its working life — and even to extend its life.

As Ruyssinck sees it, the new routine has made a difference. “Our experience with Performance Audits is good,” he says. “So far, we haven’t had any similar cases as on the Alexander von Humboldt.”

Onboard training gets crew involved

Alfa Laval also provides tailored, hands-on training in correct operations for crew and operators. Training focuses on the specific areas each Performance Audit shows need attention, as well as essential techniques and best practices.

Given Jan De Nul’s international crew and widespread locations, other training methods had been complex and expensive for the company. However, ongoing tests of combining the Performance Audit and other service work with onboard training together with Alfa Laval have shown good results so far.

“The advantage is that all crewmembers become more involved, and working with and building knowledge around their own equipment makes the training more hands-on,” Ruyssinck shares. “With Performance Audits and regular training of the crew, we have good protection of the most valuable onboard system – the main engine.”

Fast facts

Company challenge
  • Damage sustained due to poor equipment condition
  • Equipment operating outside proper parameters
  • High costs and complexity in training
About the solution
  • Performance Audits from Alfa Laval every 2.5 years
  • Check of equipment status followed by structured improvements
  • Onboard training together with Alfa Laval in conjunction with Performance Audit
  • No equipment damage since initiating Performance Audits
  • Stronger crew involvement
  • Greater crew equipment knowledge

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