Condition-based maintenance strategies can help shipowners predict and tackle issues before they result in failures and downtime
Japanese shipping lines are driving ahead with investments in intelligent ship monitoring and analytics to predict issues with onboard machinery before they result in failures.
Two of the nation’s largest shipping groups are investing in performance monitoring technology and condition-based maintenance (CBM) strategies to prevent ship downtime.
Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K-Line) collaborated with Kawasaki Heavy Industries to implement a monitoring platform for predictive maintenance. Kawasaki’s Integrated Maritime Solution has been installed on 170 ships since it was unveiled in 2018.
According to K-Line president and chief executive Yukikazu Myochin, the K-IMS platform enables the organisation to monitor and analyse data from the majority of onboard equipment.
“It is an integrated ship operation and performance management system that can collect, monitor, and analyse up to 2,000 items of operational data every 30 minutes,” he says.
“The platform will be utilised in selecting optimal routes, preventing serious accidents, and predicting failures,” Mr Myochin adds.
K-IMS monitors engine status and analyses ship performance. It has two subsystems: Ship Performance Analysing System (SPAS – an electrical log and vessel performance analyser); and Engine Plant Monitor (EP-Monitor).
K-IMS collects data from various onboard systems, including navigation and engineroom equipment. It then integrates this to provide a full vessel performance monitoring service. It produces a real-time visualisation of engineroom system performance and condition, with data stored in a cloud system. This means data can be shared between different operation teams, ship management companies and the vessels crew.
NYK Group is another early adopter of CBM technology. It is developing and testing this with classification society ClassNK and technology suppliers MTI Co, Japan Engine Corp and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
Within this joint industry project, engine conditions will be continuously monitored using sensors installed on large main engines and steam turbines, reporting vibration and the temperature of bearings among other factors.
Data from ships will be streamed ashore and shared between partners, which will analyse this information to predict the remaining useful life (RUL) of machinery and identify potential failure points.
NYK expects to improve the accuracy of RUL predictions through CBM, while ClassNK will use the information to establish a new classification survey scheme based on CBM.
NYK plans to develop more advanced CBM by continuously monitoring system conditions and adopting AI technologies. It would then combine CBM data and analysis with operational schedules to further optimise maintenance.
NYK sees these technologies as important steps towards developing more automated vessels, to a point where it can operate manned autonomous ships.
One of the world’s largest tug owners, and part of the Maersk group, Svitzer, is also adopting CBM by collaborating with an OEM in that sector. Svitzer has signed its first preventative maintenance agreement with Rolls-Royce covering MTU Series 4000 high-speed diesel engines on tugs operating worldwide.
This agreement covers maintenance support and ensures spare parts are available in the countries these vessels operate in, reducing operating costs through optimisation.
The tugs include 2018-delivered vessels employed in Morocco at the Tanger-Med cargo port and vessels deployed in Brazil, Costa-Rica, Denmark, Germany and the UK.
This includes engines on the world’s first harbour tug remotely controlled from shore, Svitzer Hermod.
Svitzer chief technical officer Evangelos Fragkoulis says this agreement will support Svitzer’s programme for controlling the lifecycle costs of the main equipment components on tugs.
“As part of the current technical operating model within Svitzer we want to focus further on our main equipment performance and reliability,” he explains.
Svitzer head of global procurement Kasper Gottlieb expects additional cost savings from preventative maintenance and optimisation.
“The global frame agreement will enable us to further optimise our vessel running costs while maintaining a smooth and reliable operation,” Mr Gottlieb says.
Rolls-Royce will handle spare parts planning, scheduling and deliveries, allowing Svitzer to focus on mining efficiencies in the technical management and operation of its vessels.
It has developed MTU-Go!Act and MTU-Go!Manage services for capturing and processing technical data from engines.
Maersk chief executive of towage and manufacturing Henriette Thygesen will provide an owners’ perspective on industry collaborations, such as the Rolls-Royce MTU agreement at Riviera Maritime Media’s upcoming Annual Offshore Support Journal Conference, Awards & Exhibition, held in London on 5-6 February. During the conference, Ms Thygesen will explain how OEMs and technology providers should adapt to work in partnership with owners to anticipate and meet their requirements.
In her keynote presentation, Ms Thygesen will describe how owners are adapting to a changing industry to redefine their roles as service providers. She will outline how owners need holistic solutions with a focus on innovation to drive efficiency and safety.
In September 2019, P&O Maritime Logistics chief commercial officer Robert Desai outlined how the fleet operator identified and implemented technology to enhance the reliability of its onboard systems and vessels.
“We identified efficiencies in marine logistics for oil companies and found we can do it cheaper by using algorithms, AI and digitalisation,” he explained at a conference in Dubai.
“Digitalisation allowed us to elevate our service offering; by providing customer dashboards and using IoT to learn more about the condition and performance of vessels means we can be profitable in the market,” Mr Desai said.
He said processing big data volumes and IoT analytics also facilitates fuel optimisation for the group and its clients. “Noon reports become redundant with big data,” he said. “Ultimately, it becomes almost real-time reporting. Fuel efficiency then becomes about throttling down and reducing speed and route optimisation,” he concluded.
Chinese built tugs are now incorporating intelligent enginerooms, with systems for condition monitoring. The first of these tugs emerged in 2019 for early adopter Tianjin Port Tug Co. Two of the vessels were built by Zhenjiang Shipyard in Jiangsu Province and the other two by Shanghai Harbour Fuxing Shipping Service, of which one entered service in December 2019 and the other is scheduled for delivery in Q1 2020.
Each of these have China Classification Society (CCS) I (intelligent)-ship notation, developed for a new generation of vessels with remotely monitored onboard equipment and advanced automation.
CCS is working with OEM Caterpillar Marine, collecting engine data for emissions and performance monitoring. This enables vessel operators to comply with China’s latest domestic marine emissions regulations that became effective in July 2019.
Caterpillar and CCS are collecting engine data and documentation necessary for the China Marine Stage I&II requirements.