Into Man B & W and the New Millenium
On the 21st February 2000 the announcement was made that MAN B&W Diesel AG of Augsburg, Germany, had acquired the diesel engine business of ALSTOM Engines Ltd. and the transaction was completed on 12th June 2000.
At this time the diesel group comprised Ruston Diesels at Newton-le-Willows; Mirrlees Blackstone Diesels at Stockport; Paxman Diesels and Regulateurs Europa at Colchester and Stamford Foundry at Stamford.
Having traveled through almost 180 years of history it is now time to speculate on the future of the Vulcan Works with its new owner and as part of a global engine manufacturing company.
Throughout its history the factory has seen markets vanish or reduce to be replaced by new and emergent markets and many name changes. The new millennium has brought about another change, that of ownership, however Ruston together with its sister companies and a new owner, is well placed for a successful entry to the new millennium.
Ruston successes started to show during the year 2000 in both the marine and traction markets and its products.
The company supplied four 'Gold' twenty cylinder RK270 engines to Incat for installation into Hull no 057, Incat Tasmania, the first of the 98 metre 'Evolution 10b' vessels. The colour of the engines was chosen because the vessel was moored in Darling Harbour during the Sydney Olympics. During the Olympics it was chartered as a floating Conference, Exhibition, Media and Trade Centre for use by the Business Club of Australia.
During the Olympics Ruston received an order for four 20RK270 engines for Incat Hull no 059. This was an occasion for celebration as it brought the number of Ruston engines ordered by Incat for their vessels to one hundred and to commemorate the occasion Ruston presented Incat with a crystal globe.
On the traction side, the final contract was signed during September with ALSTOM Transport of France for Ruston to supply 100 traction engines type 16RK215T. The engines were to be used to power one hundred AD43C locomotives for the Iranian Islamic Republic Railways to haul passengers at 150 kph (93 mph) and freight at 110 kph (65 mph). Prior to signing the contract Ruston negotiated a Consortium, Transfer of Technology, Localisation and Distribution agreement with the Iran Heavy Engine Manufacturing Company (DESA). The agreement was for Ruston to supply the first engines fully built and the remainder to be built in Iran by DESA the company's first such agreement.
To enable Ruston to continue its success in the future and in particular to remain a market leader in the highly competitive Fast Ferry market it announced the introduction of a new engine range the RK280. The introduction of the new engine was initiated by the increasing demands for heavier payload, faster ferries and military vessels.
The engine range was introduced in 12, 16 and 20 cylinder vee form versions producing 450 kW (604 b.h.p.) per cylinder. This was an increase of over twelve times the power per cylinder of the first K engine produce just over sixty five years previously.
Although the engine was announced at a conference early in the year the first proper indications of its appearance was at the Ausmarine 2000 Conference, at the end of October, where a scale model of the twenty cylinder version was unveiled.