Automation on ships (278)

Automation on ships (278)

Fig. 3: Good and open cooperation between plant and automation experts is a prerequisite in the development of a new automation system (Source Prof. Ackermann)

Automation on ships

Karl-Heinz Hochhaus

Automation on German ships began in 1964 with centralized systems u. A. With the reefer ship "Polarstern. Decentralized automation systems were used from around 1985. A few examples illustrate the current state of the art. The whole article is in the Hansa Nr. 1/2012 to be found.

1. First propulsion systems of merchant ships were equipped with automation systems in Germany 45 years ago. Valuable experience was gained with these systems in the following 10 years. At that time, there were only a few shipping companies that put these innovative ships into service for watch-free engine operation. These systems were also new territory for classifications. The number of measuring points for monitoring the systems, the standards and definitions of the control-related terms, and the redundancies for important systems were jointly determined by the manufacturers, the shipyards and the shipping companies in coordination with the classifications [1, 2].

There were ships for German shipowners that were built both with diesel engines ("Polarlicht", "Polarstern" Bauwerft Blohm& Voss) as well as being powered by steam turbines (Picture 1). In addition, fast merchant ships (type Euroliner for Seatrain-Lines) with automated gas turbine drives were built in Emden for American account [2]. Although automatic systems were known in land-based systems, much more stringent requirements were imposed on ships due to the increased demands of ship operations and the rapid passage through different climate zones.

In addition, the technical crews had to help themselves even in the event of major malfunctions, and the manufacturer's experts and service personnel could not intervene until the next port at the earliest. At this time, the required electronic controls and regulations were built up from discrete components (transistors, diodes, resistors and capacitors) and combined on plug-in cards. In the late 1960s, integrated circuits were introduced, increasing space requirements and, more importantly, reliability due to reduced solder joints. The use of highly integrated circuits and memories led to small computers (microprocessors) that could be used on plug-in cards for various tasks. This meant that, depending on the programming, the same standardized modules could be used to control the ship. Plug-in cards various tasks are performed. The step from the hard-wired control system to the freely programmable control system was taken, which was used in ship technology from the end of the 1970s onwards [3, 4, 5]. Now the setpoints, limits, interrogations, sequences and decisions were stored in programs, which was called software as opposed to sensors and actuators (hardware).

Ship of the future

Experience with these systems led to improved automation systems, which, as technology advanced, led from centralized to self-sufficient decentralized automation systems, especially in the area of computers, microcomputers and microprocessors. These technologies and results were incorporated into the major research project known as the "Ship of the Future" (Figure 2) compiled by different companies with consideration of the experiences of the technical on-board personnel [5, 6]. The redundancy of important systems subsequently led to considerably increased fault tolerance, and improvements were subsequently achieved especially in the areas of speed, troubleshooting and optimizations in energy consumption and safety. Despite the enormous growth in ship sizes, the ship's crew could. Increased drive power halved from 1965 to 2000 due to these advances. Engine operation was now carried out largely without watch, and suitably trained ship's mechanics could be employed instead of sailors and greasers both in the engine room and on deck for maintenance and overhaul and preservation work. Guard service was limited to the bridge, and in the machine area guard service was only carried out in precinct mode. Systems for diagnosis and trend monitoring in ship propulsion systems and auxiliary systems have been developed and tested [7]. They became established in the following years and, with today's systems for worldwide data transmission and communication, the engine manufacturers and other supplier companies are also directly or indirectly involved in this.

2. Automation

Ship automation is understood to be the application of a higher-level technical facility for monitoring, controlling, regulating, alarming, and documenting various ship-related processes. Today's ships are equipped with them in various areas, on the bridge (bridge automation), in the engine room (main engine automation, e-generation automation), and also for demanding cargoes such as z. B. Refrigerated cargo in reefer ships (cargo refrigeration automation) as well as in reefer container ships (power cable transmission PCT) understood. Today, an automation system consists of software and hardware, in which sensors, controls and regulators are integrated. In addition, suitable input and output options, displays, alarms and protocols are required for documentation purposes. An important aspect of the development is good and open cooperation between the plant and automation experts (Image 3).

2.1 sensors [8]

2.2 Controls [8]

2.3 regulations [8]

3. Bridge – adaptive regulation

4. Engine room – energetically optimized cooling water regulation

5. Charge-controlled atmosphere

6. Refrigerated container hold

7. Passengers – optimized ventilation on cruise ships

8. Summary

After a brief review, this short overview goes into the definitions and shows how quickly automation has conquered the shipping industry. The examples given document the current status in a number of ship-related areas. Since the number of crew members on automated ships was almost halved due to the watch-free operation and the integrated crew, the shipowners were quickly convinced of the benefits. The current advancement of smart automation is primarily with the goals of increasing vessel safety and the well-being of "cargo and passengers" as well as reducing energy consumption.

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