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Thread: Intercon ATB Connection Systems

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    highseasmechanic's Avatar
    highseasmechanic is offline gCaptain Crew
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    Default Intercon ATB Connection Systems

    I am 3rd Engineer on a brand new ATB tug with an Intercon system. It is the first time I have ever seen the system. Anyone have any experience as to what to expect in accordance with maintenance or potential problems to look out for or be prevented? At this point the barge is still under construction and while we have all gone through Intercon training, any real world tips or tricks would be greatly appreciated. Thank you to anyone who could help out.
    Last edited by highseasmechanic; September 28th, 2011 at 11:49 AM.
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    injunear is online now Top Contributer
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    Default Re: Intercon ATB Connection Systems

    I had the same reservations the first trip I made with an Intercon system. I feel comfortable enough to sail anywhere in the world with the system now. There have been several failures early on mainly due to lubrication. The lube systems have greatly improved with better lubricants and the grease cycles are controlable from the pilot house. The new Orkot bushings are supposed to be the cat's ass. I never have worked with them. Pre-voyage manually lubing and cycling the pins are paramount. Don't spare the grease, especially on newbuilds. Flushing the load cells and cycling the pressure switches should be done every trip. Also inspect grease and lock hoses when flexing the pins. I think it's Crowley's policy to change out the hoses during annual thrust bearing inspections. During the notch-ups, keep an eye on the oil levels in the intensifyers for the locks.

    As in all new-builds, a regiment of re-tightening every electrical connection is part of the daily routine.

    Good luck!
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    highseasmechanic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Intercon ATB Connection Systems

    Thanks for all the information. I'll pass it onto the rest of my engineering crew and see if we can add some of this to our 1-hour to Stand-By sheet. As for the newbuilds stuff, now would definitely be a good time to check all the fasteners as we are awaiting the completion and delivery of our very very large barge. My new ride does have the Orkot bushings and Crowley's policy is to change the hoses yearly. Hopefully by November the ATB will be up and running.
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    injunear is online now Top Contributer
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    Default Re: Intercon ATB Connection Systems

    Ronnie or Otto with Intercon usually will be the tech rep on sea trials. They will go out of their way to explain everything. In the past, they've taken my phone calls 24/7 with any tech issues. I'm sure the PLC displays have improved as Intercon kept upgrading over time, but be familiar with the ladder logic chart in the back of the Intercon manual. A quick look at the input/output modules in the PLC panel will point out most of the electrical problems. As with any other system, most solutions to problems will be so obvious that we overlook them!LOL! Have fun.....
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    Default Re: Intercon ATB Connection Systems

    The system is only as smart as the local user. I would agree that the whole system needs to be 'overloaded ' with grease to flush and lube the system.

    Companies who send out memos to 'save' on grease, and who try to cut corners will pay for it in the long run.

    You need to read and understand the manual, and ask other engineers who use the system. The systems are being upgraded and modified to use newer technology. One of the most glaring examples of problems are the intercon and industry is NOT being forthwith concerning with examples and solutions about problems within the technology.

    Oh yeah. My engineer found 75% of the wiring connections to be loose, making up for over half of the alarms you get initially. Look in the brain box, all of the screw in connections get loose. The system is only as good as the wires it uses.
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    injunear is online now Top Contributer
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    Default Re: Intercon ATB Connection Systems

    From what I've observed, the interport transits with retrofitted tugs in the NE are the most efficient use of the Intercon sys. The larger units with 3 day or longer voyages are more critical. Fuel/ballast plans come into play. Quartering seas are the hardest to compensate for. Different areas of operation produced drastic means of compensation. The west coast with the larger swells required more lubrication with longer duration of articulation. Galling was more prevelant on the pins and bushings. The east coast and gulf transits produced more quartering seas and sea water temp differentials that produced various problems to overcome.
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    Default Re: Intercon ATB Connection Systems

    Quote Originally Posted by injunear View Post
    The east coast and gulf transits produced more quartering seas and sea water temp differentials that produced various problems to overcome.
    I am wondering why there is no seawater cooling of the huge cast hub?? Been on my list to ask Intercon Ron next time I see him (or Otto)
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    injunear is online now Top Contributer
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    Default Re: Intercon ATB Connection Systems

    Quote Originally Posted by cappy208 View Post
    I am wondering why there is no seawater cooling of the huge cast hub?? Been on my list to ask Intercon Ron next time I see him (or Otto)
    Once you're pinned in, there is no movement of the helmet. The heating comes from dry spots on the pin and bushing. The hi temp alarm come from a 15 degree differential between the reference point (bulkhead) and various points on the bushing. If it hadn't been refined, if the bushing is 15 degrees cooler than the reference, you'll get a hi temp alarm.

    Inspection of the pins and burnishing any galling should be done on a regular basis. It's best to keep an infrared heat gun to log temps at various points around the bushings while underway.
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    Default

    I didn't mean cooling the helmet. I meant the outside housing of the ram itself. It is said that the lube IS the cooling for the housing, RAM and bushings. I can feel the heat buildup when pinned up. Just would make sense to keep the colder the bushings, the longer it would last.

    You mention wear and filing off burrs and such. Where do those appear? I need to share this with the chief.
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    injunear is online now Top Contributer
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    Default Re: Intercon ATB Connection Systems

    Quote Originally Posted by cappy208 View Post
    You mention wear and filing off burrs and such. Where do those appear? I need to share this with the chief.
    Most of the galling will appear on the aft side of the pins at 10&2 when facing the helmet, just inboard of the grease seal. Hot spots can appear anywhere on the pins. It's best to have a routine inspection where the pins are at the electrical extend limit. Wipe the grease off the pins for thorough inspection. If the ambient temp is low, wd 40 may be required to dilute the grease. While extended and rotating the pins, this is the best time to inspect the grease and lock hoses for wear as the hose weights will be at their zenith.
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    Default Re: Intercon ATB Connection Systems

    I see the point of looking at the pins at the 10 and 2 position, but I have the intercon c system that does not have a '10 and 2.' we can rotate the pins, at 60 degree intervals. it is a hex helmet, not the intercon A system that keeps the helmet horizontal.

    We have never seen this burring or marking on the rams. You can see the grease seal on your pins when fully extended? I have never seen them, even when all the way out.
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    injunear is online now Top Contributer
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    Default Re: Intercon ATB Connection Systems

    The lip seals are recessed in the bushing a few inches inboard. When you extend the pins past your normal battery position, you'll see a mark worn where the lip seal normally rides.

    If you're on short runs, you probably won't see much galling. Longer runs require maintaining a good fuel/ballast plan.
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