Remote diagnostics and real-time weather data are set to bring big performance gains to the world of stabiliser fin control
As stabiliser fins inherently increase resistance to improve comfort on board passenger ships, the term “energy efficient stabiliser system” might seem like a contradiction in terms. But according to Pinfabb CEO Matteo Fabbricotti, there is a world of difference between the company’s Poseidon system and others on the market.
Pinfabb has been making energy-efficiency stabilisers since 2011 and built its first ever stabiliser control system in 1990. Today its Pinfabb Poseidon system can reduce the drag of fins by up to 55%, cutting energy usage on a ship by up to 2%. Over the past year some key retrofits (the company does not install on newbuilds) and technological updates highlight that efficiency focus.
Last year Pinfabb installed its stabiliser fin control system on 10 vessels: three cruise ships, six ferries and a roro vessel. Mr Fabbricotti highlights three of these as particularly important.
On Tallink Silja Line’s Silja Serenade Pinfabb completely retrofitted the old stabiliser controls with its Poseidon system and carried out a mechanical overhaul of the fin. This involved demounting the stabiliser in drydock. The electronic retrofit made the stabilisers more efficient, easier to operate and more reliable, says Mr Fabbricotti, while the mechanical overhaul will ensure a long operating life. Electrical retrofit and mechanical overhaul were performed during the same drydock window, in about 10 days.
“We integrated marine weather data to match wave height and wind speed and direction to improve the stabiliser algorithm”
The DFDS ropax ferry Cote des Dunes was also served by Pinfabb. In this case, the company integrated optical fibre technology into its remote cabinet systems, again simplifying installation. On Carnival Cruises’ Carnival Pride, however, installation was more challenging. There, Pinfabb was asked to optimise the energy consumption of the stabilisers without demounting the existing controls.
“We have installed our system in parallel with the existing control system without changing the operations of the crew, but at the same time permitting the ship to optimise stabiliser use,” said Mr Fabbricotti. “The system is still in the testing phase, but the commissioning data reports a saving of 227 kW on propulsion power,” he adds.
Pinfabb has been making digital solutions since its origin nearly 30 years ago. But the company is also looking to harness the emerging power of big data with two new product updates. The first offers remote connectivity and diagnostics to users.
“Remote connectivity is a pioneering tool for stabilisers,” says Mr Fabbricotti. “Pinfabb Poseidon is the first stabiliser control to give shipowners the possibility of performing remote diagnosis and troubleshooting. Engineers from our remote service room located in our head office in Genoa can enter the system and check the plant status.”
The company has received good feedback from superintendents and crew, he reports. Meanwhile Pinfabb has also integrated real-time marine weather data into its controls, something never previously done on stabilising equipment.
“We use a state-of-the-art gyroscope, which comes from the avionic and aerospace industry,” Mr Fabbricotti says. “We integrated marine weather data to match wave height and wind speed and direction to improve the stabiliser algorithm and to forecast the weather conditions ahead in order to advise the crew on the best way to optimise the stabilisers and save energy.”