Wartsilla CBM – Live Condition Based Monitoring Of Ship Systems

John Konrad
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March 21, 2010

Wartsila condition based maintenance

The days of anonymity at sea are long gone. With LRIT and satellite based AIS tracking the office has, for some time now, had access to the precise location of your ship… in real time. The next wave of innovation came with remote monitoring systems used for reasons as diverse as anti-piracy monitoring and live webcams from the bridge of cruise ships.

While remote monitoring of vessel operations may be a popular upgrade for the vessel manager of tomorrow, for those of us working aboard ships it will create more questions, and subsequent phone calls from shore, than it answers. The next wave of technology, however, might actually be helpful to the average mariner… remote system management.

To this end Wartsilla is the first major marine manufacturer to announce remote management with it’s new Condition Based Monitoring service. In a recent press release they tell us:

The CBM on-line service uses a combination of on-line monitoring of mechanical and thermal condition (with in-built sensors, for example), system efficiency data and many other indicators to assess the condition of an engine. All this information in the shipboard system in real time transmitted 24/7 to Wärtsilä service engineers at the CBM Centre in Vaasa, Finland, Wärtsilä Norway and the Seadrill office in Stavanger Norway. The service team then accurately assess the overall status and condition of the plant – and ultimately the maintenance it needs, and make regular reports to the engine users based on established guidelines and specific operating conditions.

Marine installations use satellite communication to connect to the CBM Centre. An engine installation can be connected to the CBM Centre through the Internet using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection or through the e-mail server onboard the ship. There is also a manual alternative for data collection and e-mail sending which uses Wärtsilä’s special software.

Once connected, the CBM Centre receives operation data information about the specific engines including load and ambient conditions. The received data are automatically analyzed by the special Wärtsilä developed analyzing software. The most common for marine installations is still to send a batch of operating data once a day to assess engine condition. In the future the 24/7 online connections will be more and more common because of the increasing satellite connection capacity and reduced data transfer costs.

While more than a few Captains will probably continue to experience “unexpected” communications failure when they don’t want calls from the office… they might first have to clear outages with the Chief.

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