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The Two Stroke Crosshead Engine has long been the favoured main propulsive power unit for most types of merchant vessels. As the price of oil rose, developments in the design of these engines allowed them to burn the poorer residual fuels. This combined with major improvements in turbocharger design and waste heat recovery, raised their efficiency and power output, so they were able to supercede the steam turbine plants which operated at much lower efficiencies.
The number of companies which design and build these engines (along with their licensees) have reduced over the years due to take overs, amalgamations, and closure. Three companies still in business are MAN B&W ( formed by the amalgamation of those two giants of the industry); The Wartsila Corporation (formally Wartsila NSD) who design and build the Sulzer engines. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Japan also design and build their own two stroke engine, the UE .
Due to the longevity of these engines and the professionalism of the engineers in charge of them, there are still ships sailing the globe powered by engines which are no longer built. Doxfords, Gotaverkens, Fiats are names which may bring back memories as well as the older designs of Burmeister and Wain, Sulzer, and MAN
Although the picture shown is of a Sulzer RTA engine, this website is intended to give a general insight into the design of the 2 stroke crosshead engine, and it is not my intention to pick out any particular engine for criticism, constructive or otherwise. I chose this particular picture because it was simple and clear. As a matter of fact, since this picture was published, further modifications have been made to this particular engine.
To have a look at some photos of one of the largest engines in the world click here However this is NOT the largest engine That achievement is claimed by MAN B&W who now have a 1070mm bore engine with up to 16 cylinders!!