Digitalisation, power management and AI will improve vessel monitoring, energy efficiency and condition-based maintenance
Internet-of-things (IoT) technology is being deployed on new vessels to remotely monitor performance and the condition of machinery. An example of this innovative approach to efficiency can be found in Damen Shipyards’ work with US-based Flicq, where it is deploying IoT on its newbuild connected vessels.
Damen is using Flicq’s remote sensing platform, which incorporates algorithms, analytics and a sensor package to remotely monitor vessel operations and performance and provide condition-based maintenance.
This is being incorporated into Damen’s digital platform, which aims to maximise the performance and reliability of the vessels it delivers. One of the first vessels to be connected with this digital solution is E-Two, an azimuth stern drive (ASD) anchor-handling and towage tug ordered by EMAR Offshore Services. It was delivered in March and mobilised to China to tow a new barge to the Middle East, where both will be stationed for offshore and marine construction support.
Damen project manager for innovation Solco Reijnders says: “The software tool we developed with Flicq can automatically gather and categorise data from every sensor on board a vessel.” This may include more than 2,000 points sending data to the bridge for display. Flicq’s smart sensors are selective about what is transmitted, as they can process data before sending it to a hub. For example, an engine temperature sensor sends data only if there is a change in temperature.
Flicq systems have been installed on 45 vessels since Q3 2018 and both companies expect sensors will be installed on 165 Damen-built vessels this year.
“The software can automatically gather and categorise data from every sensor on board a vessel”
Elsewhere, Orca AI has developed artificial intelligence (AI) that helps vessels avoid navigation hazards in low visibility. It supplements existing onboard sensors, such as AIS, radar and GPS, with thermal and low-light cameras.
Information from these devices is combined with an AI-powered navigation and vessel tracking system, which helps masters detect ships and navigation hazards at both long and short distances. It delivers information on the future passage and track of other vessels to enable navigators to remedy their course and avoid a collision. Orca AI will even recommend course corrections and actions to avoid potentially dangerous situations. The company says it is easy to retrofit vessels with this technology, which is fully compatible with international shipping and safety regulations.
In a bid to optimise energy consumption on vessels, Siemens has developed a decision support system called EcoMain. The system gathers data from technical equipment via a range of interfaces on board and processes them into a standardised form. It then makes this data available on a common platform for analysis. Owners can use this information to control energy consumption, reduce emissions and manage maintenance cycles.
Some of the processes typically evaluated and analysed for optimisation include onboard energy consumption, bunkering fluids, service schedules, documentation and information management.
Siemens says EcoMain can improve the environmental management of a fleet of OSVs, and lists its main benefits as being cost-effective, supporting informed decision-making, improving onboard processes and offering remote access, such as shore-based evaluation of fleet data.
EcoMain takes data from a vessel’s automation, propulsion, power management, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems, and integrates it with the navigation and auxiliary systems. This information is transferred from the vessel to a cloud-based server that is accessed through portals.