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Maritime Digitalisation & Communications

Japan develops smart ship platform

Tue 04 Oct 2016

Japan develops smart ship platform

Vessel monitoring and tracking technologies can deliver major benefits to shipowners, operators and managers

Ship monitoring technologies can deliver operational efficiencies, improved performance, longer equipment life, reduced maintenance costs, enhanced voyage planning and more efficient crew. Some of the latest technology developments were outlined during the SMM exhibition in Hamburg, Germany in September.

During SMM, Japanese research institute Monohakobi Technology Institute (MTI) highlighted how it has started developing a smart shipping platform incorporating Internet of Things technology. It is working with classification society ClassNK and the Japan Ship Machinery and Equipment Association in developing an open platform for the collation and processing of shipboard data and for implementing smart shipping applications.

There are 34 members and nine observation organisations involved in the MTI-led Smart Ship Application Platform project, which is now in its second phase (SSAP2). MTI is designing a prototype of a ship-to-shore open platform for data analysis and the application of various services for enhancing onboard operations and efficiency. ClassNK is providing a ship data centre for the analysis of ship equipment data, while Terasaki Electric, Uzushio Electric and Furuno Electric are leading a standardisation team.

According to MTI senior general manager Hideyuki Ando, the SSAP2 project will develop a platform that involves a local area network (LAN) on a ship for connecting voyage data recorders, ecdis, engine data loggers and ballast control systems to another LAN that will connect Internet of Things applications. This will feed to services such as engine monitoring, remote maintenance, performance monitoring, trim optimisation, energy efficient autopilots and weather routeing. The two LANs will be connected to a shipboard data server.

“We are extending this to a shoreside platform in our project. We will have a data centre for processing and accessing data, and access for service providers and users,” said Dr Ando. “The model has a number of benefits. It makes it easier for application providers to supply onboard and shore applications, equipment manufacturers can provide remote maintenance services, and shipyards and equipment manufacturers can collect data and have a better understanding of service performance. Shipowners’ investment costs for onboard applications will be lower and they can manage and control ship data transmissions to shore. And standard formats and protocols will enhance application development.”

MTI started trialling the ship data centre and began research into utilising Internet of Things technology this year. It expects to begin the standardisation work and start operating the ship data centre in 2017.

Parker Kittiwake launched a condition monitoring starter kit for shipping at SMM. This combines the Parker Kittiwake DigiCell kit with a Holroyd MHC-Bearing Checker and a PC tablet which is preloaded with a condition monitoring routine and log book. The company said the starter kit has essential tools that protect vulnerable equipment and prevent failure.

DigiCell is an analysis tool that provides engineers with an indication of the levels of water in oil and the lubricant’s residual base number (BN). The MHC-Bearing Checker is a hand-held instrument that analyses bearing condition using acoustic emissions monitoring technology. It monitors the high frequency acoustic emissions signals generated by deterioration in rotating machinery, identifying any developing machinery faults and degradation of pump and motor condition.

Wärtsilä introduced a tail shaft monitoring system that can be applied to stern tubes. The Wärtsilä Sea-Master collects real-time data from a vessel’s open and closed loop water-lubricated stern tubes, and closed loop oil-lubricated stern tubes. It uses digital technology, coupled with composite components, to provide valuable information about the operational health of the tail shaft equipment. Wärtsilä said it would help shipowners manage their assets, maximise uptime and lower lifecycle costs.

The Wärtsilä Sea-Master provides an early warning for the detection of developing failure problems with system alarms for critical path components, including bearing temperatures and lubrication rates. The system is approved by classification societies and is available for all vessel segments and ship types as well as for newbuild and retrofit applications.

For water-lubricated systems, the tail shaft of a vessel is typically removed in drydock and inspected by a classification society every five years. By capturing real-time data with trending, the Wärtsilä Sea-Master enables vessel operators to provide reliable information about the condition of the tail shaft for classification society surveyors without having to withdraw the tail shaft, extending the interval between inspections and thereby reducing unnecessary downtime.

Hamburg Süd subsidiary Columbus Shipmanagement has contracted Interschalt Maritime Systems to install its fleet performance management software Bluetracker on 46 container ships. The shipmanager wants to use the software to save one tonne of fuel per ship per day, within one year. It wants to improve management of the auxiliary systems, such as diesel generators and boilers, to reduce fuel consumption on its ships.

Prior to awarding the contract, Columbus Shipmanagement tested two different technologies on two 10,600 teu container ships during a six-month trial. Bluetracker collates data on the fuel consumption of engines and auxiliary systems from the ship automation and sensor network. It then analyses this data and compares it with historical operational data to provide information to the shipmanager about the ship’s current energy consumption.

Columbus Shipmanagement managing director Christoph Gessner said the software provides the company with flexible options for spotting deviations, especially machinery inefficiencies. “Our mission is to improve the environmental footprint of our ships by ensuring that the equipment on board is used as efficiently as possible,” he said. “The best way of doing this is with real-time data. So a reliable monitoring and analysis system is absolutely essential.” Bluetracker can interface with the MACS3 loading computers that are on board the container ships, and with a web-based analysis tool for evaluating the data.

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