Sound of turbine 's Woooooooooooosshhhhhhh was the sound that startled me suddenly while conversing with Cmde K O Thakare, Commanding Officer INS Shivaji. The sound kept increasing till it became almost unbearably loud with pitch touching close to the highest audible ranges. I pressed my eardrums as a natural reaction. All started smiling. “Gentleman ! this is the 'cold start' to the full-fledged gas turbine which you would find on India's latest naval ships. This has been made possible by the students and staff of INS Shivaji on their initiative as a part of their curriculum and projects. It would cost many a crores to create this but sheer innovation of the INS Shivaji personnel made it cost Indian Navy less than Rs 1.1 lakh. Astounding achievement, isn't it ?” Commodore explained.
Indian Navy has embarked upon a unique method of student-staff partnership in the establishment of state-of-the-art and closest to reality offshore Naval engineering station in the country and possibly in the Asian region. This student-staff partnership has evolved out of the projects undertaken by trainees as a part of their training curriculum and has not only created actual engineering and technical conditions in a stupendous way as it is there on modern Naval ships while on high seas, but also resulted in saving of crores of rupees for the nation.
Naval trainees now have almost a complete real simulated experience at INS Shivaji before going to the ships. The training quality has taken a quantum leap as India embarks upon its role to assume the mantle of a great and powerful country in the 21st century. Global power projections and interventions in national interests and defence of the country rests great deal on the blue water capabilities of its Navy. INS Shivaji has quietly taken giant steps in preparing the finest Naval engineers to meet the present and future challenges.
Through “Student-Staff Partnership', the station has seen an establishment of a vast array of live machinery including running boilers, diesel engines and other live auxiliary machinery spread over its various training wings. These are essentially required to impart hands-on training to the officers and men. There has been a considerable thrust towards inhouse creation of high value live training aids with components sourced from decommissioned ships and from obsolete equipment available with Naval dockyards. Some of such projects undertaken by the staff and trainees of INS Shivaji are illustrated in the succeeding paragraphs. These efforts not only provided hands-on training opportunity but also found utility for a lot of obsolete spares and equipment resulting considerable saving of cost to the exchequer.
INS Shivaji is a unique Naval establishment because of the spectrum of training undertaken. It trains officers, cadets, sailors and civilians from ab-initio to advanced levels. INS Shivaji has four major training units namely Centre of Marine Engineering and Technology (CMET), Naval College of Engineering (NCE), Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Defence School (NBCD School) and Cadet Training Department (CTD). It offers technical and marine engineering training including Engineering Pre-Commissioning Training (EPCT) for all classes of Naval ships. These courses cover operation, upkeep and maintenance including important aspects of ship's construction, main propulsion and associated control systems, power generation and its distribution.
There is a sizeable population of MTU 396 diesel alternators (generators) in the Indian Navy fleet. However, there was no training aid on MTU DA at Shivaji. Therefore, the establishment had been demanding a live MTU 396 DA since 2003. In November last year, after the decommissioning of Shakti, a 300 KW 6V396 DA of the ship was re-appropriated to INS Shivaji. INS Shivaji staff transported the DA to Diesel Engine Wing (DEW) of the establishment along with on-board spares, documentation and special tools. The installation was taken up as a staff-student project wherein designing and constructing suitable foundation, erecting complete systems piping, exhaust, silencer, cabling, erection of control panels and switch board for taking it on load were undertaken by the DEW staff and MESC officers at a meagre cost of Rs 90,000 which could have otherwise cost a minimum of Rs 8 lakh.
Sequential Turbo Charging (STC) is a new technology employed in main propulsion engines of the Indian Naval ships, Shardul, Shivalik and the Bangaram class of ships. In this method, only one of the two turbo chargers operates at low-loads to overcome ill effects of low-load running. At higher loads, second turbo charger cuts in and both turbo chargers operate.
INS Shivaji wanted a working model of STC so that the personnel can be suitably trained to operate it. However, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) declined to fabricate a model. Hence, four officers of Marine Engineering Specialisation Course were tasked to convert an existing 200 KW Ruston Hornsby MWM TBD DA into STC DA. This diesel alternator was chosen since it has two turbo chargers er into operation. However, in case of a DA, the rpm remains constant. So the project had to be first of its kind to be made.
All the tasks were completed and experiments were successfully carried out on the DA. The total cost of the project was Rs 72,000. This was achievable because of an extensive market survey and procuring items from four different manufacturers. Fabricating a working model for STC mechanism through acquiring it from trade would have cost anywhere from Rs 4 to 6 lakhs.
For greater understanding and better appreciation of the exact working of stabilizer on board, the Auxilliary Machinery Wing of INS Shivaji has undertaken a project wherein an active gyro unit is fitted in a small ship model. With the rolling motion of ship corresponding actuation of the fin is generated in equal and opposite direction causing stability of the vessel. This project involves serviceability checks of gyro unit, control unit, step-down transformer, hydraulic relay unit, starter of HRU, feedback unit and fin angle indicator and integration and interfacing of all components. The complete project was undertaken at a cost of Rs 2 lakh. This training aid was being supplied by one of the companies at a cost of Rs 55 lakh. The project not only saved the money but also enriched the staff and student officers with invaluable confidence.
The Gas Turbine Generator was installed at INS Shivaji to facilitate the training of the officers and sailors on gas turbines. This is gas turbine propelled generator which can produce 900 KW of power in the Indian conditions. This project was again undertaken by the Shivaji staff. The major components like turbine, gear box and turbo compressor were received from Eastern Naval Command. The alternator weighed 7-tons and there was no facility to lift or move on the premises. To do so, a jig was designed to lift the 7-ton weight and also to position on the base frame. This is only one of its type which can be used to lift 10 tons of weight and also can be moved to desired position.
The foundation was designed and constructed to take the 18-ton load of the complete aggregate at a cost of Rs 45000. The foundation bolts, 58 in number, were manufactured inhouse by the trainees which saved Rs 25000. Thereafter, heat treatment was undertaken for all the bolts for increasing the strength.
The exhaust trunking was also manufactured on site. The material required was brought from Naval Dockyard, Mumbai. The bending of sheets and manufacturing of system pipes was undertaken at Industrial Training Wing of Shivaji. Assistance was sought only for cutting and welding of the exhaust trunking by trade.
The complete control and power cables, approximately 3500 metres, were sourced from War Ship Overseeing Team, Mumbai. The complete cable laying and connectorisation was undertaken by the staff of Shivaji.