Innovation is driving advanced monitoring and control technologies for environmental and safety compliance in the marine sector, says Gérard Baldellou
The marine diesel power sector continues to face significant challenges, particularly in areas where emissions resulting from combustion inside engines, along with fuel consumption levels need reducing. Escalating operating costs, tighter margins and pressures in the oil and gas sector signal challenging times for ship owners and fleet operators. Because of this, there’s more focus than ever before on achieving savings and operating efficiently wherever possible.
According to a survey1 of the international shipping industry by a firm of accountants and shipping consultants, vessel operating costs were expected to rise by 2.4 per cent in 2018. The cost of repairs and maintenance were also expected to increase by 2.0 per cent, while expenditure on spares and drydocking will grow by 1.9 per cent and 1.8 per cent respectively.
It’s clear that the marine sector must strive to cut costs and operate more efficiently and effectively – and the latest in advanced instrumentation and control systems can help here. New technology is firmly on the wish-list of shipping operators, who are looking to drive-up performance levels while cutting operating costs in tough trading conditions. Many are turning to sector specialists for added value technologies supported by advanced digital solutions and installation engineering capabilities.
Furthermore, moves by instrumentation and control manufacturers to partner ever closer with engine OEMs are also underway to meet the reliability and lifetime challenges for industrial engine sensors, in efforts to try to minimise final engine delivery cost. The approach can typically deliver savings without any compromise around the quality and standard of the final solution. How can this be achieved? As an independent operation, global specialists like CMR Group are focused on the business of providing effective and high-quality precision engineered solutions, built around meeting individual requirements and delivered through partnership strategies.
Working systems and procedures dovetail to reflect this single-minded purpose, and processes are entirely geared to ensuring that work is carried out efficiently, in line with the technical standards required and with close attention to planning and project management. This focus enables us to work closely with customers and end users to ensure that projects are completed as quickly as possible and that vessel downtimes are reduced to a minimum.
International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations for MARPOL Annex VI Tier III, which is aimed at reducing pollution emissions, have also led to upheavals for diesel engine manufacturers when it comes to control and power management systems. In turn, this has directed CMR to develop a new generation of advanced engine and IAMCS (integrated alarm, monitoring and control system).
Now being designed and built around ‘smart’ wiring, instrumentation and engineering packages for wider applications in the marine sector and featuring proprietary J-SENSE technology (analogue to digital conversion electronics are embedded within the sensor, allowing for a direct CAN connection to the engine ECU), IAMCS can be directly linked to CAN smart sensors and harnesses, as well as data transfer onshore for predictive analysis, intervention and maintenance.
Marine vessel owners and operators’ value, perhaps more than ever, the availability of their craft. This means that routine engine maintenance schedules must be optimised and planned very carefully. So, in achieving this, the need to pay close attention to the details in the project management and planning of system jobs is paramount; it cannot be underestimated – and partner suppliers can often be better placed to provide this.
Understandably, OEMs have priority interests in manufacturing and new product development, sales of new engines and warranty support. External suppliers like CMR can respond to these interests, adding value through wholly focusing on providing a fully responsive engineering service – one that is geared towards meeting the specific timing, location and technical needs of the customer. In this way, with strong pressures on operating costs and assured vessel availability, sector specialists are responding and adapting to changing market needs, demonstrating their capabilities and system solutions.
Gérard Baldellou is marine business unit manager at CMR Group. CMR Group supplies instrumentation, controls and power management for offshore platforms and vessels, marine, engine and industrial applications around the world. With core product groups including automation, control panels, displays, sensors, wiring systems, power distribution, signal processing and supervision, the company, headquartered in Marseille, France, is an engineering partner for many leading manufacturers, operators and integrators of capital equipment.