Newbuild workboats and tugs are being connected for remote performance and health monitoring using networks of sensors and satellite communications.
Internet of things (IoT) technology is being deployed on new vessels built by Damen Shipyards following the success of a sensor mapping challenge and through deploying smart sensors.
Damen has turned to US-based Flicq to deliver IoT technology for its newbuild connected vessels. It will use Flicq’s remote sensing platform incorporating algorithms, analytics and a sensor package for remotely monitoring vessel operations, performance and providing condition-based maintenance.
In September 2018, Damen posed their sensor mapping challenge at the Vodafone Ziggo The Next Web IoT challenge. Out of an initial list of 60 entrants, Damen narrowed this to three start-up companies. Flicq won this challenge and successfully delivered a sensor mapping solution for Damen. This mapped sensor data from many sources to provide visibility on the condition and performance of a vessel.
Following this success, Damen formed a co-operation agreement and ordered Flicq smart sensors for newbuildings to fill in data gaps. Damen is deploying its digital platform to maximise the performance and reliability of vessels it delivers.
One of the first tugs to be connected with this digital platform is E-Two, an azimuth stern drive (ASD) tugboat ordered by EMAR Offshore Services. This vessel is based on a Damen ASD 2811 tug design and is built for harbour and terminal and coastal towage.
With Flicq technology, Damen can monitor the health of machinery on board the vessels it constructs. Damen project manager for innovation Solco Reijnders said “The software tool we developed with Flicq can automatically gather and categorise data from every sensor on board a vessel.”
He said a modern tug could have as many as 2,000 information points on board with only a limited number, perhaps 250 from the engineroom alone, being sent to the bridge for display. Which is why Damen was searching for an IoT platform.
“What is unique about the Flicq system is that it knows which sensor the data comes from – this is data mapping,” said Mr Reijnders, who expects this will have repercussions for the whole maritime industry. “What this means is that we will create a standard sensor hierarchy language.”
Flicq founder and chief executive Karthik Rau said its sensors provide vessel owners with lower expenditure and a longer lifetime. “What makes them unique is that our sensors use edge intelligence,” he said. “Battery life is longer, and you cut down the costs of bandwidth between the sensor and data centre.”
Flicq’s smart sensors can process data before sending it to a hub, so are more selective about what data is sent back. For example, an engine temperature sensor sends data only if there is a change in temperature.
“We are talking about orders of magnitude,” said Mr Rau. “Instead of 2 GB per day in raw data from one sensor, it would be 200 bytes of alarms and alerts. Clients are not interested in dumb sensors sending a back a lot of irrelevant data. It is so much smarter and more efficient to do the data analysis on the sensor itself.”
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.
Engineroom monitoring and condition-based maintenance will be discussed at length at Riviera Maritime Media's upcoming Americas Sulphur Cap Conference, Houston, US, in March and Sulphur Cap 2020 Conference, Exhibition & Awards in Europe in May.