Type approved engine – a prerequisite for a classified vessel


For an engine to be granted type approval it needs to fulfill specific requirements concerning safety and sustainability. A type approved engine is a requirement for getting your vessel classified. This is part two of my article series about classification and type approval. In this blog article, I will describe type approval and how it affects the marine shipping industry.    


Type approval in the marine shipping industry

Type approval is granted to an engine that meets a minimum set of regulatory, technical and safety requirements. All type approvals are conducted in the same way across the world, however, the notations can vary. For an engine to become type approved it needs function tests, documentation and traceability, as well as documentation of its components. The engine’s design needs to live up to high safety demands concerning for example maximum surface temperatures, and it needs to be long-lasting with a high uptime. It also needs to be durable, which is verified by a durability test where the engine runs nonstop on overload and overspeed for 100 hours. After the test is conducted, the engine is dismantled and all parts are carefully examined. When the result is satisfying, the engine gets a type approval.       

Product certificate for high traceability

In some cases, a type approval needs to be complemented with a product certificate. A product certificate is connected to a specific engine and a specific vessel, to increase traceability. The classification’s regulatory framework defines, based on size and type of vessel, if an engine needs a product certificate or a type approval. A small vessel with notation “PATROL” normally only needs type approved machinery while the notation “PASSENGER” requires product certificate. 

If conducting a product certificate instead of a type approval, you need to individually verify every engine upon delivery. The same process needs to be conducted every time, which is a costly procedure. This could be relevant when manufacturing custom made components that are unique for every delivery. Type approval, however, is a more efficient solution when it comes to series production. A type approval grants a general approval for a whole engine family, and therefore the approval can be reused for every engine produced within that family.

A type approved engine is a quality assurance that brings security

When classifying a marine vessel, type approval of the engine is a requirement. For an engine to be type approved, there are high demands on the subcontractor and its components. All components in the engine need to be approved, including all material. To achieve this, there are quality controls in several stages. For the end customer, this brings security as well as quality assurance. A type approved engine fulfills all demands based on IMO’s SOLAS convention and/or HSC 2000 Code. Therefore, this is the preferred choice for many vessels not under strict IMO rules, such as domestic and inland waterway vessels, where the owners have set high safety standards.

Generally, the classification societies do not acknowledge each other’s type approvals. This is a disadvantage since there are many different type approvals that need to be delivered, which means higher costs. Type approvals are valid for a specific amount of time and the engines need to be updated with changes and adjustments to renew their approval.          

On a Volvo Penta engine, it is more than just the engine that gets type approval

The marine shipping industry has high demands on the equipment, such as low emissions, performance, reliability and safety. Therefore, when a Volvo Penta engine is type approved, it does not only apply to the engine. It also applies to the engine’s parts and components. For example the electronic governor system, fuel and lubrication oil hoses and flexible mounts. Everything from layout to safety is verified, for example, what will happen in case of fire. Volvo Penta therefore uses e.g. fire resistant hoses covered by separate type approvals, which in addition are MED certified (EU directive for Marine Equipment).

Other examples of type approved Volvo Penta equipment and systems are our EVC (Electronic Vessel Control) system, IPS units and propellers. This means the entire system, from steering wheel, engine and IPS transmission to the propeller, are covered by type approvals and delivered from one manufacturer. This is truly unique within the marine commercial sector.

Volvo Penta’s D11 engine is our latest type approved engine for the marine market. The D11 model has been updated and undergone the tests needed in order to achieve approval by several classification societies. “We’ve seen great success already with this engine in pilot boats, passenger transportation and fishing vessels, and it is a great step forward that our 11-litre engine has been type approved. With the type approval, it will be available for a much wider range of high-speed applications all over the world” says Thomas Lantz, Product Planning Manager for Volvo Penta’s Marine Sector.

This was the second part in my article series about classification and type approval. Stay tuned for the third and last part, where you will learn more about the Machine Equipment Directive. I hope you learned something new and don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. Visit our website for more information and feel welcome to chat with us on social media.  

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