Providing uninterrupted service and support in a disrupted world
The world is still confronted with the serious COVID-19 virus, as well as a financial crisis and an oil crisis. Severe restrictions are being put in place by Governments to curb the pandemic. We believe that the restrictions of travelling across country borders and even within same country may last for quite a while yet. It is very difficult to foresee how and when the situation will change, and the restrictions to be lifted again. In our opinion it will take a long time before the world has recovered from the pandemic and the turmoil it is creating. In many ways, it will be a different reality, as we learn and adapt to the new situation. One small benefit gained during the crisis is that the digitalization within the shipping industry have really taken off and it won’t stop here.
Like everyone else in the business PureteQ have been faced with instances of substandard components and installation quality from otherwise reputed suppliers, but thanks to the digitalization of systems these faulty components have quickly been identified and new components send to the ships for replacement. Due to travel restrictions sea trials of newly retrofitted scrubber systems have been accomplished with only crew and surveyor on-board. PureteQ marine engineers were granted remote access to analyse real-time data from the scrubber control system, advise crew and change settings as appropriate.
In PureteQ we have been very fast at embracing digitalization on our scrubber systems. When we developed the main control system for our scrubber systems, our initial thought was to exploit digitalization to maximum permissible extend. We began using industrial software but soon discovered that there was to many limitations and ended up by using standard windows software. This would enable us to develop a scrubber system that was smaller and more energy efficient than other scrubber systems on the market at that time. Using top end components and innovative software, we increased the speed on which the cleaning capacity of the scrubber system adapts to actual loads.
Some of the bigger scrubber suppliers were discussing what protocols to use, but PureteQ decided to keep it an open protocol to ease the integration towards other digital systems aboard the ships. After all, the data belongs to the shipowner and not to the maker. Furthermore, the data should be easy and safe to access from remote location in case it was not possible to attend the vessel physically. Another issue was the frequency of data collection. Most suppliers at that time took the legislation approach, but we decided to increase the logging of data, so that it could be used to analyze behavior in detail and correct any errors. Not only errors pertaining to the scrubber system and the parts that PureteQ deliver but include the entire integration of the systems. This would allow for PureteQ engineers to assist crews in trouble shooting and replacement of parts as well as predict need for maintenance activity, thus reducing the OPEX on the system.
The results of all our R&D efforts is a PureteQ scrubber control system that is on the forefront of digitalization age and it features full remote accessibility. The control system is logging hundreds of datasets every second in order to ensure energy efficiency while minimizing the carbon footprint. The control system enables real-time remote analysis and troubleshooting. It is therefore possible for PureteQ Marine Engineers to support ship crews in operational task as well as locating errors that need to be rectified to ensure MARPOL compliance and systems reliability. Today, PureteQ Service Engineers are supporting ship crews from remote across the world, with tasks such as flag state reporting, maintenance, replacement of parts, analysis and troubleshooting.
Recently our engineers had a case where the ship manager changed crew and did not have time to train or make handover to the new crew. Furthermore, the ship did not have time to take on compliant fuel. Shortly after departure the ship experienced a shutdown of the scrubber system due to an error in the ships management system rendering the ship out of compliance. The Master called our 24/7 service desk who quickly located the error and performed on-line training in maintenance and operation of the scrubber system, so that the ship could continue its journey.
By now PureteQ has proven the reliability and safety of conducting remote support to those clients that have made internet connections available.
The number of ships sailing with PureteQ scrubbers are rapidly increasing and so are the number of marine engineers in the PureteQ PureServ, which is the service department in PureteQ. As crew are often replaced, frequent training of new crew is necessary. To safeguard the MARPOL compliance as well as reliability of systems performance, we conduct remote surveillance of scrubber systems for many shipowners. The frequency varies from logging on once a month to weekly check of systems performance and real-time compliance data. In some instances, we assist in Flag State reporting and reporting to US Coast Guard. Soon, these features will be integrated in the control systems to ease the work for the crew.
Now and in the future, PureteQ as EGCS manufacturer has the responsibility to support our clients to the best of our abilities and under any given situation. These days, it is very difficult to respond with service engineers and provide on-site support. It is our duty to provide full support to every client when requested despite the actual situation. We have learned the value of making good use of digitalization for our clients, who require safe, reliable and fast support at a fair price. After all, it is much cheaper to receive remote support to ship crews than having to dispatch service engineers to the ship.