The latest developments in digitalisation for support vessels, tugs and smaller ships include upgrading tank management with smart sensors and centralised processing
Manufacturers such as Scanjet PSM have worked with designers, operators and engineers to resolve operational issues through digitalisation, while providing economical upgrade solutions.
Scanjet PSM technical sales director Mark Jones said integrated digital systems improve the safety and operational capabilities of vessels. “For smaller ships including tugs and OSVs, access to new smart technology is vital in delivering efficiency and flexibility to meet the increasing complexity and interchangeability of the roles they play,” he told Riviera Maritime Media.
“Tank level measurement plays a vital role in maintaining safety and efficiency,” Mr Jones continued. “Support vessels are frequently exposed to harsh conditions, with weather extremes becoming the norm and posing an additional threat to ship safety.”
In response, digital tank gauging systems are being adapted for emerging industry needs and higher safety requirements.
“As operating conditions continue to challenge vessel operators and owners, manufacturers and suppliers continue to support the digitalisation process through further development to ensure vital safety standards are met, while improving efficiency,” Mr Jones said.
Modern digital tank gauging systems are designed to be versatile, capable of handling process control across the full range of shipboard fluid types, from fuel oil and lubricants, to ballast water.
“Intelligent sensors collect real-time data from all onboard storage tanks including anti-rolling tanks, and measure vessel draught and trim, as well cargo tanks and water ingress detection,” said Mr Jones. “Sensors and transmitters, designed for temperature, pressure and level measurement, are typically networked via an onboard system.”
These use distributed termination modules to acquire the data collected and relay it to a centralised graphic display unit, which provides content indication and alarm status for all tanks.
“The future of digitalisation lies in continual progression, as critical operational processes are broken down and rebuilt, redefining the human-technology interface and requiring a different approach to systems design,” continued Mr Jones.
“The ongoing challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic have also accelerated the need for change.”
This is propelling owners and operators to invest in remote monitoring of onboard systems for safety and security, and in data analytics for trending, performance monitoring and benchmarking.
Scanjet PSM’s latest digital tank gauging system (DTGS) is one of a new breed of tank level measurement solutions designed to provide an integrated and fully featured system for smaller and application-specific vessels.
“Ease of installation without the need for specialist knowledge and high visibility were key considerations when developing the DTGS system,” said Mr Jones.
“Single wire, multi-drop connection via purpose-designed termination modules offers rapid installation, with all transmitters being interrogated and controlled by a simple-to-read centralised display,” he explained.
“A further defining characteristic of this latest solution is the built-in flexibility which enables customisation and upscaling within the standard design for maximum cost-effectiveness.”
The next-generation intelligent hydrostatic transmitters included with this latest system can be pre-configured prior to delivery with all parameters specific to the intended application. “This means installers can connect the system and set to work immediately, while retaining the ability to fine-tune settings on the spot using a computer,” said Mr Jones.
“Equally important, should component replacement at sea be required, the smart technology behind the hydrostatic sensors allows a new transmitter to be dropped into place and instructed what to do in minutes.”
Scanjet PSM’s latest DTGS allows repeater displays to be installed to provide function-critical information at additional locations to enable a vessel’s crew to access information directly. “A key objective has been to maximise ‘view on deck’ opportunities for ease of use,” said Mr Jones.
“Easy access to cabinets located in safe areas means routine checks and tests can be carried out easily and quickly,” he added.
Digitalisation for vessel optimisation will be discussed in depth during Riviera’s series of Webinar Weeks and virtual conferences in 2021 - use this link for more details and to register for these events