Winterthur Gas & Diesel (WinGD) originated from the Diesel engine business of Sulzer Brothers in Winterthur, effective in 1898 when the Sulzer Brothers signed an agreement with Rudolf Diesel for his new engine technology.
Diesel engine manufacture by Sulzer started in 1903 in Winterthur. Since 1909, licensing has been important for distributing the manufacture of our engines closer to the markets world-wide. In 1986 the last Diesel engine has left the Winterthur works.
Going forward to November 1990, Sulzer established its Diesel Engine & Diesel Power Plant Division as a separate company, New Sulzer Diesel Ltd. In April 1997, New Sulzer Diesel Ltd merged with Wärtsilä Diesel Oy to create Wärtsilä NSD Corporation which later became Wärtsilä Corporation. The Swiss company, Wärtsilä NSD Switzerland Ltd, was renamed Wärtsilä Switzerland Ltd. in 2000. In January 2015 the company was formed as a Joint Venture Company between China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) and Wärtsilä Corporation and renamed Winterthur Gas & Diesel Ltd. (WinGD). In May 2016 Wärtsilä has transferred its shareholding in WinGD to CSSC.
The first Sulzer Diesel engines were vertical four-stroke engines with blast-air fuel injection and were only used for applications.
In 1905 the first reversing 2-stroke marine engine was developed by Sulzer. It led the way to the first valveless 2-stroke engines at sea, two 559 kW Sulzer 4SNo.6a engines in the Italian cargo ship ‘Romagna’ in 1910.
In 1912 the first ocean-going ship with valveless crosshead type 2-stroke engines was the German cargo ship ‘Monte Penedo’, which was equipped with two Sulzer 4SNo.9a engines with a total of 1250 kW.
Developments rapidly followed thereafter with engines for rail traction, submarines, a 1000 mm-bore research engine, a broader range of engine types and sizes for ship propulsion, marine auxiliary duties and land-based power plants, increased power outputs, lowered fuel consumption, and improved reliability. By the 1920s, Sulzer was a famous name for Diesel engines in ships, power plants, and railways around the world.
Airless fuel injection became standard from 1930 in all engine types, greatly improving their efficiency and reducing their maintenance requirements. The next radical step was the development of turbocharging, greatly improving the power concentration of the engines with less weight and less space requirements. The first turbocharged 2-stroke Diesel engine in normal operation was a Sulzer 6TAD48 engine in 1946 in the power house of the Winterthur works.
In the 1950s, turbocharging became standard in marine low-speed 2-stroke engines for ship propulsion. Then began the long series of Sulzer R-type low-speed engines – the RSAD, RD, RND, RND-M and RL types.
The first low-speed marine engine in the world running on gas entered service in 1972. The Sulzer 7RNMD90 engine was running on natural gas in the Norwegian 29,000m3 LNG carrier Venator.
A radical change in scavenging from loop to uniflow was made in 1983 with the introduction of the RTA low-speed engines of 380 to 840 mm cylinder bore, increasing to 960 mm in 1994.
In 1981 tests with electronically-controlled fuel injection begun on a four-cylinder research engine. This led in 1998 to the world’s first large, electronically-controlled low-speed engine with common-rail injection running in the Diesel Technology Centre in Oberwinterthur, and the launch of the RT-flex common-rail system with the first RT-flex engine entering service in September 2001.
The world’s largest Diesel engines are now the 14-cylinder Wärtsilä RT-flex96C engines of 80,080 kW (108,920 bhp) of which the first entered service in September 2006.
In 2008 Wärtsilä introduces two new small bore engines, the X35 and the X40. They are designed to give the best powers and speeds for a wide variety of ship types, such as handysize bulk carriers and product tankers, general cargo vessels, reefers, feeder container ships, and small LPG carriers.
In February 2011, Wärtsilä announced a project to develop dual-fuel gas engine technology for low-speed engines as a solution for complying with the upcoming IMO Tier III NOX emission limits without requiring exhaust after-treatment. Only seven months later, on 19 September, the new technology was successfully demonstrated on a full-scale research engine at Wärtsilä’s factory in Trieste, Italy
In 2011 Wärtsilä introduced the new Wärtsilä Generation X-Engines which are extremely efficient in terms of fuel consumption and emissions. The first developed engines of this type were the W-X 35/40 engines. These engines will be used for smaller bulk carriers, product tankers and container feeder vessels. Originally introduced as the Wärtsilä RT-flex35 and RT-flex40 engines, it was decided to change the names in order to align the Wärtsilä product portfolio in a consistent way. The W-X62/72 engines were also announced in 2011. These were designed specifically for mid-size low-speed bulker, tanker and container feeder vessels; they have higher internal efficiencies and extended power/speed layout fields. In addition they are substantially more economical than any other engine in this market segment.
In 2012 Wärtsilä extended its offering in the low-speed Generation X-Engines to the upper end of its portfolio with the Wärtsilä X92 engine with a bore of 920 mm. This engine will serve the market for large and ultra-large container vessels. Aside from the significant fuel cost savings, the W-X92 directly reduces the emission levels of carbon dioxide, making it easier for the shipyard to achieve a better Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI).