Interview with Sales & Sales Support Engineer Mark Watson

My name is Mark Watson and I am a Sales & Sales Support Engineer in the Augsburg based High Speed Team. I joined MAN Diesel & Turbo in April 2015, relocating from the UK to Germany at the same time. My career background includes over 30 years of experience in the power generation industry with my main qualifications in the field of electrical engineering.

As a member of the MAN 175 sales team, my main focus areas are concerned with applying the MAN 175D engine into marine power generation and diesel electric propulsion and hybrid solutions and also providing technical and commercial support to our customers and MAN Diesel & Turbo’s International Group Companies (IGCs) around the world. Furthermore, I take responsibility for all aspects of remote monitoring concerning the MAN 175D. This includes, not just what equipment and capabilities we are offering on the engine today, but also considering a future view of what will be available, using the knowledge and experience gained by MAN and our group companies in other industries.


Hybrid solutions are continuously increasing in importance in the marine segment. What are the strengths that MAN can bring to customers in the high speed marine market?

These days the benefits to be had with hybrid propulsion systems are well documented. In the case of high speed engines, “hybrid” is now predominantly linked with a diesel mechanic and electric combination. There are a number of unique strengths that MAN high speed can bring into the marine industry.

First of all, the MAN 175D is a state of the art, modern, engine which, by itself, already offers exceptional fuel economy, performance and emission reduction within its compact dimensions. When you add to that the additional benefits of a hybrid system, including power from electric motors and optional support from batteries, the system can be fully optimized to run with the maximum of efficiency in all aspects and therefore, offer great operational advantages.

Secondly, our close association with a leading and well known hybrid system integrator, such as AKA, provides a tremendous capability to bring to the market place all the critical competences which enable our customers to source their propulsion package from a single supply point, thus significantly simplifying their supply chain.

Finally, having the potential to develop new systems with the very latest hybrid technology and therefore, offering our customers the most competitive advantages, in terms of minimal capital expenditure, maximum space saving materials, as well as most efficient operational profiles, through access to the latest automotive hybrid technology and the huge knowledge base within the entire Volkswagen Group, places MAN Diesel & Turbo in a quite unique position in the marine industry as a whole and particularly, in the high speed sector for MAN 175D.


According to your expertise, what are the biggest strengths of the MAN 175D high speed diesel electric genset?

Two of the most important selling arguments of the MAN 175 engine are its compactness and its modular design. These two critical points have also been carried over into the design of the MAN 175D genset. With our standard genset we have taken some of the very best marine industry knowledge and experience of high speed gensets and used these skills to develop a product which compares extremely well with likewise equipment in the market place.

Certainly, in terms of available power output from a package with absolute minimal dimensions, the MAN 175D standard genset easily offers our customers the opportunity for incorporation into the most compact of machine room spaces. For example, in one of our retro-fit projects we were able to substitute a 16V-engined genset with our 12V 175D . Also, by adopting the same modular design approach, we can carry this concept forward into future MAN 175D genset developments. Finally, the process of configuring the genset to meet our customer’s key requirements for on board power generation, by inclusion of a number of important options and features, is made extremely quick and easy through the on-line product configurator and using the product viewer to quickly obtain dimensional and interface information.


In general, what do you think is the most interesting part of your work?

For me, one of the most interesting aspects of my work and therefore, one which gives me great satisfaction, is the sales support work which we undertake with our colleagues in the IGC’s.
Informing and training the international sales teams about all aspects of the MAN 175D, whether it is through an organised training event, or through day to day discussions about specific projects also gives me a great opportunity to learn and develop my cultural and local market knowledge in many regions. Ensuring that this knowledge is competently passed to our regional teams is, without doubt, the most important factor for the success of the MAN 175D going forward in a very competitive and demanding high speed marine market place.


Being also very familiar with the development of digitalization, what do you think are the biggest challenges and opportunities for the shipping industry?

The global reach of digitalization in all aspects of our lives presents tremendous possibilities to improve the quality of many things we see all around us, every day. Of course, the shipping industry is no exception to this evolution and indeed, revolution. Here, there are also fantastic digitalization opportunities to be had, but it is also important to temper this with the “real life” challenges. For example, remote monitoring is already well established in the marine sector, with MAN and others, frequently installing plant surveillance equipment onboard their ship propulsion packages. This provides the chance of improved vessel operational efficiency, as well as equipment safety.

In recent years, following the lead of developments in the automotive industry, autonomous ships are also starting to make an appearance (if only in test cases at the moment) and these will surely develop significantly as we progress in time. Here, MAN is putting our focus on the concept of a completely crewless engine plant room.

However, in this case there are also serious challenges which need to be addressed. Not least, vessel operating safety considerations, as well as the sensitive political arguments around the social impact of ships operating without crews.


Thank you for your time and best wishes.