Widescreen ECDIS is at the centre of integrated bridge systems being developed for the e-navigation demands of the next decade
Future ships will be built with integrated bridge equipment with larger multifunctional displays that can be configured for advanced ship handling. These next-generation integrated bridge systems were demonstrated in their development phase at the Europort exhibition in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in November 2019.
Hensoldt UK presented its Kelvin Hughes’ integrated navigation system, Manta NEO, with multifunctional screens for displaying electronic navigational charts (ENCs), radar, conning, propulsion control, alarm management and other functions.
Manta NEO was built around a new digital platform with a simplified graphical user interface, says Hensoldt UK director for cruise and special projects Kevin Robertson.
“We developed a completely new human-machine interface, starting from scratch and with our Sharpeye radar and Kelvin Hughes Manta NEO ECDIS,” he says.
“Our intent was to create a common structure across all integrated products within the platform.”
This is a secure Android-based platform with touchscreens for full integration to all existing navigation equipment and sensors.
“We have made better use of the screen area to show radar and the information provided by ECDIS,” Mr Robertson explains. “Manta NEO multifunction displays provide configurable access to all tasks critical to navigation – radar, ECDIS, conning and bridge alarm management, greatly improving situational awareness.”
Hensoldt will initially focus on offering Manta NEO to passenger shipping and megayachts. But there are plans to adapt this integrated navigation system for merchant shipping, including container ships, bulk carriers and tankers, says Hensoldt commercial marine systems area sales manager Per Christensen.
“We plan to get type approval in Q2 2020 and will launch a commercial product in Q3 2020,” he says.
Mr Christensen explains how Manta NEO could be equipped with touchscreens of 24 in, 27 in, 32 in and 43 in. Or with a 55 in touchscreen dedicated for voyage planning on a digital navigation table.
Inland shipping integrated bridge concept
Radio Zeeland has developed a new integrated bridge concept incorporating ECDIS, radar and an alarm monitoring package. The target market for this integrated navigation system is river shipping and cruise ships as this set up would suit compact wheelhouses.
The main features of this bridge concept are three 47-in screens in the centre. These can be split for displaying up to six applications simultaneously such as closed-circuit TV, sensor measurements, fuel monitoring, engine controls, bridge alerts, ENCs, radar and conning.
Radio Zeeland sales engineer Marga Adriaanse says a navigator can manage the display on these screens using controls on the operator chair. There are touchscreens, joysticks, propulsion control and a VHF radio within the operator’s chair.
“We are discussing whether there is an interest for newbuildings with inland shipowners,” says Ms Adriaanse, “as this concept bridge combines functions in one compact system in the wheelhouse of river cruise ships, tankers and cement carriers.”
This bridge concept was presented by distribution partner Radio Holland during Europort. Radio Holland also presented a new digital voyage planning table using a 55-in multi touchscreen from Hatteland.
Radio Holland service engineer Timo Heskes says this displays Furuno ECDIS and weather information for navigators.
“There is more information than on ENCs for creating routes,” he says. “There is integrated weather, navigation hazard and water depth information. There are different ECDIS options and operators can overlay radar images on these ENCs.”
Operators can also import electronic documents about ports and harbours and navigation safety updates for voyage planning and execution. There is two-way communication between ECDIS on the front of the bridge used for navigation and this planning table.
“If there is a change in route on the front-bridge ECDIS, this changes automatically on the chart table,” says Mr Heskes.
Navigation and docking combined
Also during Europort, Japan Radio Co subsidiary Alphatron Marine introduced its multifunctional information navigation and docking system, Alpha-MINDS. This is being developed to improve safety during ship berthing and reduce stress on navigators.
Alpha-MINDS uses JRC’s inhouse-developed software platform Lynx to deliver advanced docking information to bridge teams.
Graphical displays deliver information as selected add-ons to ECDIS for operational modes such as berthing or dredging operations or passing through busy shipping lanes.
Information is displayed on a 26-in touchscreen on the Alpha-MINDS console. This can include ENCs, camera images and high-accuracy GPS sensors for docking. Internal ECDIS can be upgraded with more advanced features.
JRC has also included voyage planning and reporting tool NeCST, which JRC developed with NYK Lines. This enables bridge teams to:
Other JRC equipment can feed information to Alpha-MINDS, including its JMA-5300 and JMR-5400 radar series. Alphatron said Alpha-MINDS would be suitable for vessels up to 10,000 gt.
Damen Shipyards Group introduced its new human machine interface (HMI) for tugs, offshore support vessels and other workboats at Europort. Damen sales manager Joost van der Weiden told Riviera Maritime Media these redesigned graphical user interfaces are included in the latest deliveries of tugs and support vessels to improve the information display for crew.
These HMIs were developed in partnership with VanBerlo and Praxis for bridge, engine control and switchboard rooms in close consultation with captains and chief engineers.
There are separate displays for vessel navigation, towage operations, engine and thruster controls, tank levels and winch operations which can be chosen depending on which crew member needs them.
Damen has developed an HMI nautical dashboard in the wheelhouse for captains to view heading, speed, fuel consumption and other alarms. There is an HMI technical dashboard for chief engineers that displays information on main engines, generator sets and thrusters.
There is also an HMI indicating information required for deck machinery control and a dashboard displaying vessels systems’ information, such as fuel tank levels, pressures and consumption rates.
Mr van der Weiden says remotely monitoring these operational parameters is also included in its newbuildings. “We can provide reports to owners demonstrating the average fuel consumption and systems temperatures,” he says. “They can then optimise their operations, reducing fuel consumption or change their maintenance requirements.”
Anglo-Eastern adopts smart voyage planning to reduce fuel costs
Shipmanagement group Anglo-Eastern has partnered with Wärtsilä to digitalise its fleet operations, improve navigation and engine performance.
It installed Wärtsilä Fleet Operations Solution (FOS) on a managed fleet of more than 600 vessels to support voyage planning and execution, fuel efficiency and engine performance monitoring.
Wärtsilä FOS integrates with a ship’s planning station and ECDIS for voyage planning and weather routeing. It incorporates cloud computing power, machine learning, data analytics, and onboard/onshore mobile applications.
This platform also enables ship-to-shore reporting and fleet performance management to reduce fuel consumption and vessel speed. FOS enables data flow for monitoring hull, propeller and engine condition.
“We are keen to leverage the advantages of the latest digital solutions to maximise the efficiency of our voyages and the performance of our fleet,” says Anglo-Eastern chief executive Bjorn Hojgaard. “We expect Wärtsilä FOS will further increase ship navigational safety, reduce crew workload, and improve fuel efficiency.”
Anglo-Eastern managing director of QHSE and training Capt Pradeep Chawla says adopting these smart marine technologies will “raise efficiencies, improve safety, and reduce the carbon footprint of shipping”. He adds, “we are excited to be bringing these benefits to the 600-vessel Anglo-Eastern fleet over the coming 12 months.”