The marine bridge electronics industry has a total market value of around US$3.2 billion according to one of the leading equipment manufacturers. The market value incorporates all sales in one year of marine bridge electronics on commercial shipping, workboats of various types, fishing vessels, and recreational boats.
The top 10 suppliers of vessel bridge equipment, including radar, ecdis, autopilots, voyage data recorders, safety communications, echo sounders and so on, generate around US$2.5 billion of these sales. Navico Holding’s commercial marine division managing director Jose Herrero said the total annual sales of marine electronics on vessel bridges in commercial and recreational vessels combined had risen to around US$3.2 billion.
He said this included all navigation equipment, as well as GMDSS (the global maritime distress and safety system) radios, autopilots, speed logs, and echo sounders, but not satellite communications equipment. It does not include the servicing of equipment either, which would increase this global market value significantly. He said that Navico was the second largest supplier of marine bridge electronics, behind Furuno Electric Co but ahead of Japan Radio Co (JRC). Navico’s revenue was around US$308 million in 2015 and is expected to rise to US$325 million this year, Mr Herrero added.
Garmin is considered the fourth largest in marine electronics annual sales, highlighting the fact that this market includes recreational vessels. Sam Electronics, which was acquired by Wärtsilä last year, was the fifth largest. The next five largest are Transas, Flir Systems’ Raymarine, Raytheon Anschütz, Sperry Marine and Tokyo Keiki, according to Mr Herrero. Some of the others are Kongsberg Maritime, Kelvin Hughes, and Humminbird.
Navico is a leader in supplying radar, ecdis, autopilots, compasses, echo sounders, and global positioning equipment, through the Simrad brand. Its acquisition and integration of Maris in 2015 makes it one of the leaders in electronic navigational chart distribution. Navico recently launched a new IMO-approved integrated radar system for use on Category 3 Solas vessels, workboats, tugs and coastal fishing boats. The Simrad R3016 12U/6X radar incorporates a 12kW X-band transceiver and 6ft open array scanner, as well as displays that were developed for non-IMO radar applications.
Mr Herrero said the radar package was built around a new generation of digital processing, user interfaces, with a 16in widescreen display and new large-icon menus. The 12U/6X antenna is driven by a brushless motor, a robust mechanical gearbox and a transceiver which incorporates a long-life magnetron.
Navico executive vice president for research and development Tom Edvardsen explained that it took about a year to develop and test this new radar. “Our new Cat 3 radar is between our Argus IMO radar and radar for recreational vessels,” he said. “We used the existing building blocks such as the multifunction display we developed for the Halo radar, and the Argus scanner. We have tested the radar in Egersund fjord using tuned and adjusted reflectors and demonstrated it to authorities to show it can detect targets in all weather conditions.” Navico was awaiting type approval for the R3016 12U/6X radar from class society Croatian Register of Shipping at the end of April.
Massimo Carmagnini, Navico’s commercial radar product manager, described some of the key features of the radar on the test vessel. There is an on-screen button for switching the radar on or off, and features for reducing rain clutter and for increasing or decreasing power to the radar. There is also a sea clutter suppression mode and a function for changing the direction of the radar display. Operators can change between the true mode, where the ship is moving on the display and the land is still, and the relative mode, where the ship is still and the land is moving.
Mr Herrero said that owners are looking for more from bridge systems, such as track control, advanced voyage planning, an integrated autopilot, data telematics and vessel management systems. The importance of bridge systems has changed in recent years. “Radar and ecdis are critical systems,” he said. “Over the last decade radar has been considered more important to bridge teams than ecdis for safe navigation and collision avoidance. But we are hearing that ecdis is seen as equally important, especially in open seas, away from the shore. Also, more seafarers are trusting the Automatic Identification System [AIS], but this cannot warn officers about hazards that do not transmit AIS signals.” The next developments for Navico radar will involve solid state technology, larger displays and embedded platforms.
Kelvin Hughes has gained contracts recently for its SharpEye S-band radar. The latest contract involves delivery of SharpEye and the company’s new 12kW radar for 17 patrol boats being built at Ares Shipyard in Turkey for Qatar’s Coast and Borders Security Department. Turkey’s Elektro Deniz is supplying all electronic equipment for these vessels, and contracted Kelvin Hughes to provide the radar systems. The SharpEye S-band will be used for surface searches, and the 12kW radar for navigation. Installation of this equipment began in May, and will continue over the next two years.
In March, Kelvin Hughes received an order from Spain’s Rodman Polyships to supply X-band and S-band SharpEye radar for vessels being supplied to the Royal Oman Police’s Coast Guard Operations. SharpEye is capable of identifying objects with low radar cross sections, such as semi-submerged objects or small craft, in all weather conditions. This means that Omani patrol vessels will be able to identify vessels along the full extent of the Omani coastline.
Raytheon Anschütz has gained contracts to supply integrated bridge systems for an offshore windfarm service vessel and luxury cruise ships. Norway-based Syberg received an order from support vessel operator Esvagt to install Raytheon Anschütz bridge equipment on an offshore windfarm crew change vessel (CCV). Syberg will install and commission a Synapsis integrated navigation system on a Havyard 931 CCV design vessel at the end of this year. The vessel is under construction at Astilleros Zamakona in Spain, and is scheduled to enter service in the second quarter of 2017.
Raytheon Anschütz will supply up to nine Synapsis NX multifunctional workstations for chart radar, ecdis and conning operations, and two network-based NautoScan NX radar transceivers. Syberg will also install Raytheon Anschütz’s Standard 22 gyro compass and NP 5500 autopilot on the vessel. The integrated navigation system will be customised for specific requirements for offshore windfarm service vessels and will meet IMO’s performance and test standards.
Raytheon Anschütz has also received orders for steering gear control systems for two luxury cruise ships chartered by Noble Caledonia. The ships Island Sky and Hebridean Sky will be retrofitted with the NautoSteer AS advanced control system. The technical manager of the ships, Salén Ship Management, decided to replace the manual steering gear control systems during the second quarter of this year. NautoSteer AS integrates with the existing autopilot systems on board the ships.
Radio Holland and Danelec Marine have upgraded voyage data recorders (VDRs) on three of the UK’s Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships. VDRs were fitted to Bay class landing ship dock vessels RFA Lyme Bay, RFA Mounts Bay and RFA Cardigan Bay. Danelec supplied DM100 VDRs for Radio Holland to install to replace the existing units which are no longer supported by the manufacturer. The type approved DM100s bring the ships into compliance with new IMO performance standards which came into force in 2014. Radio Holland, which is part of the RH Marine Group, will provide worldwide service and support for the VDRs, including mandatory annual performance tests. It will also provide full lifecycle management of the complete suite of bridge electronics on the vessels.