Solutions that benefit vessels throughout their lifetime

Alf Kåre Ådnanes – To some, “profitability” may imply one party taking advantage of another for short-term benefit. However, in developing successful businesses, it is possible, and necessary, to find solutions and relations that benefit all parties; for example, by optimizing performance, reducing fuel consumption or mitigating risks to avoid costly breakdown or off-hire.

The two articles on Azipod® technologies (Azipod C geraless propulsor improves operational profitability and Azipod propulsion ideal for ice management) and the articles on Onboard DC Grid (Onboard DC Grid one year in operation and Optimizing the design and power management strategy of tugs with Onboard DC Grid) illustrate how design secures availability of ship systems, which is key in securing the revenue stream of the vessel.

Kokkila et al (Azipod C geraless propulsor improves operational profitability) show how ABB has brought the Azipod technologies to the next level of performance and reliability during recent years through using real-life operational experience to continually improve the design. Shipping and offshore activities are increasing in Arctic areas, where the environment is harsh and availability for assistance is limited. Arctic operations require vessels that can provide for highly reliable operations, being designed for the purpose and expected environmental conditions. Varis et al explain on "Azipod propulsion ideal for ice management" how the Azipod can be designed to withstand even the most stringent class and operational requirements in various Artic environments in order to secure the performance of operations, proving the efficiency of designs based on data from real operations.

The Onboard DC Grid was launched by ABB in 2011 as a new design concept for electric propulsion. The drivers for the development were better use of space and fuel efficiency. Now, real life measurements are showing that the fuel savings are as expected from the design analysis. Fazlagic, Hansen and myself present the basic concept for Onboard DC grid as well as results from a recent measurement program on the first vessel in operation with this technology (Onboard DC Grid one year in operation). As part of a collaboration program with Nanyang Technological University of Singapore, ABB advises students about research on methodologies for optimizing the design and control strategies for a compound power plant with Onboard DC Grid. The objective is to stimulate academic research and attract young talent to explore features of this new concept. Professor Dhupia and his team present parts of a study in this connection on "Optimizing the design and power management strategy of tugs with Onboard DC Grid".

IT’s integration into marine

During the last decade, information technology and communication networks have been used in the protection, monitoring and control of electric distribution systems. Recently, these technologies have been adopted in marine systems as well. Among their advantages are seamless integration horizontally and vertically into the system and less interfacing and cabling for installation. Pensar explains the characteristics and benefits in his article on Total integration reduces installation and commissioning costs. Matilainen et al elaborate on the vertical information flow from the propulsion system through the automation and advisory systems (Vertical integration offers a total propulsion solution).

IT, control, and power systems to those that have been integrated into marine systems have been applied at container ports for some years. Henriksson describes in his article on Automated container terminals how a fully integrated system helps to optimize the operation and flow of container processing at a modern container port.

In the recent years, we have seen software-based advisory programs being used to improve the performance of operations and the planning of voyages and complex operations. These advisory systems are being developed further to be integrated into the information system of a totally integrated package, allowing access to more information and operational data, for more precise analysis and forecasting. On Motion analysis offer superb support on board Adegeest presents methodologies for analyzing and forecasting ship motion, that are implemented in the Amarcon products from ABB.

Efficient operations are the way to profitability

Ships are designed and built to serve through a lifetime of at least twenty years. Even though building costs are significant, the real means to affect profitability through the vessel’s lifetime is the way the vessel is operated; in terms of efficiency, safety and securing the revenue stream.

Over the years, the costs of fueling the fleet has made up an increasingly larger portion of the total lifecycle cost of vessels. As the freight and time charter market is fluctuating, shipowners and charterers have to secure profitability under widely varying conditions. The traditional way of using one design point for which the vessel is optimized is being challenged by the desire for flexibility of operation. Pestana (Design point can hinder propulsion potential) discusses the importance of optimizing the design based on the fact that the vessel will have to operate economically over a range of conditions. 

Hansen, Nowak and Pestana discuss on the article The technology that makes floating gas pipelines so reliable how new technologies have been applied in securing high availability of the “floating pipeline” of LNG carriers that whole nations depend on to provide energy for their societies.

Technology and solutions develop for better and more reliable operations during the lifetime of ships. The modernization and lifetime extension of onboard systems are important aspects of maintaining profitability over the life cycle. Hæhre’s article Quality upgrades can meet stricter closed bus rules presents some of the upgrade solutions that are being offered to the sailing fleet to bring their onboard systems in line with today’s technology levels.

To secure profitability from design to life end of a vessel is a complex task. The products, technologies and services that we at ABB provide have a direct impact on the daily profitability of the vessels on which such systems are installed. In this issue of Generations, we have selected some of those areas where technology is changing and new solutions are or will be available for newbuilds as well as for the sailing fleet. 

The Technical Insight section of this issue of Generations focuses on solutions and technologies that enhance the availability and efficiency of operations either being by design or performance – throughout the lifetime of the vessel.

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