Wärtsilä and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd have signed a ten-year renewal of the existing cooperation agreement for the sale, manufacturing and servicing of Wärtsilä low-speed marine diesel engines. Mitsubishi is the longest-standing member of the Wärtsilä family of low-speed engine licensees. The renewal was signed on the 84th anniversary of the signing of the first license by Mitsubishi for Sulzer low-speed marine engines. Sulzer diesel engines were incorporated in the Wärtsilä engine program in 1997.
The license cooperation agreement is a basis for the exchange of diesel engine technology between Wärtsilä and Mitsubishi, defining and regulating intellectual property rights, and the delivery and feedback of technical information and support. Such license agreements allow synergies to the participating companies of aggregating research, development and design with the licensor while distributing and localizing manufacture to licensees in separate countries.
Wärtsilä and Mitsubishi look back on a most successful, fruitful relationship. Besides building many engines of Sulzer and most recently Wärtsilä designs, Mitsubishi has over the years also contributed to the development of Sulzer and Wärtsilä low-speed engines and often built the first examples of new engine types. This long cooperation led more recently to successful joint development by the two companies of the Wärtsilä RT-flex50 and Mitsubishi UEC50LSE two-stroke engine types. The project was initiated in 2002 and the first engines entered service at the beginning of 2006.
The relationship between the two companies was taken a stage further in 2005 with the formation of a strategic alliance in the field of two-stroke diesel engines. Under this alliance, the two companies agreed to share resources and experience for improved business. In 2006, Wärtsilä and Mitsubishi joined with China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation to establish a new, major factory for low-speed marine engines at Qingdao, China, through the joint venture Qingdao Qiyao Wärtsilä MHI Linshan Marine Diesel Co Ltd (QMD). A further joint project was agreed in 2008 between Wärtsilä and Mitsubishi for the design and development of new small, low-speed marine diesel engines of cylinder bores of 350 and 400 mm and a power range of 3500-9000 kW. Mitsubishi is taking an important role in this project based on their successful experience in this small bore sized engine range. Each is available as Wärtsilä RT-flex electronically-controlled common-rail and Wärtsilä RTA mechanically-controlled engine types. Based on the RTA engine designs with these two bore sizes, Mitsubishi is developing its own UEC-LSE series engines.